The NWO Domain Science Round Table Chemistry creates five Working Groups for Chemistry

20 June 2018

In close consultation with the current study groups, the NWO Domain Science Round Table Chemistry has created five ‘Working Groups’ for chemistry: Fundamentals of Chemistry, Methods of Chemistry, Chemistry of Materials, Chemical Conversion, and Chemistry of Life. From this autumn, these Working Groups will replace the fifteen current Study Groups. The Working Groups will be represented by five Working Group Committees. The division into five Working Groups will allow the chemistry research domain to contribute more effectively towards research recommendations and monitoring for NWO. “The Working Groups for Chemistry will ensure that the round table Chemistry acts in close interaction with the research field and on the basis of broad support amongst researchers,” explains round table chairman Bert Weckhuysen.

The Round Table Chemistry wants to bring the organization of the chemistry research field closer into line with other such fields, including that of physics research. The establishment of Working Groups will simplify working methods and stimulate collaboration with adjoining disciplines – within themes, for instance. It also allows the NWO office to provide stronger support to the field.

During a joint work session with the Study Groups, the Round Table Chemistry discussed the structure and role of the Working Groups with regard to recommendation and monitoring and more intensive support from the NWO. The Physics domain has embarked on a parallel course, examining the issue of whether the current division into six Working Groups is still adequate or needs modification.

On 28 March 2018, representatives of the fifteen Study Group boards met with the round table Chemistry to discuss the division of the chemistry domain into a smaller number of Working Groups.

The round table has elaborated the working area for each Working Group (Chemistry Working Groups – work area per Working Group). The Working Groups will be represented by Working Group Committees whose tasks, composition and working methods are set out here. Members of the Working Groups are regularly given NWO information relevant to that Group. The Working Group Committee also consults and informs members of the Working Group.

Study Group members have now been invited to nominate experts to the round table Chemistry for inclusion in the first Working Group Committees. Study Group members have also been invited to put their own names forward for membership of a Working Group. The entry criteria are the same as those for the current Study Groups (see below).

Working Group Committee tasks

The Working Group Committees (WGCs) are responsible for the following tasks:

  • identifying new developments in the area of the Working Group Committee (focus memoranda);
  • maintaining contact with the research field;
  • maintaining a network with links to the NWA, top sectors, the KNCV, etc.;
  • keeping an eye on the progress of ongoing research programmes within the relevant Working Group research area, including recommendations to the NWO Domain Science Round Table Chemistry at the culmination of these programmes;
  • monitoring ongoing research, existing facilities, and new initiatives;
  • co-creating and implementing the NWO’s networking and forum function in consultation with the field (as during CHAINS);
  • giving solicited and unsolicited advice to the NWO Domain Science Round Table Chemistry and the ENW board;
  • WGCs work with members to gain a clear view of the relevant research area and to maintain a distribution list that allows the field to be consulted or informed. Members include: professors at a Dutch university or institute, scientists at a Dutch university or institute holding a permanent contract (e.g. university lecturers and head lecturers), senior researchers in the industry, research staff in a temporary post at a Dutch university or institute (Vidi level equivalent or higher), and senior researchers working outside the Netherlands with an affinity for the field in the Netherlands.

Working Group Committee composition

The round table Chemistry hopes to appoint the Working Group Committees as soon as possible and to announce these appointments in the summer so that the first meetings can be held in autumn 2018. The round table has decided that the following principles will underlie the composition of the WGCs:

  • they will be bottom-up committees: members will be nominated by the community;
  • the composition of a Working Group Committee is a good reflection of the research area concerned;
  • account will be taken of diversity;
  • the members are leading researchers at knowledge institutes. The representation of the business community in the committees is encouraged;
  • a Working Group Committee will generally comprise 7 to 9 members (including the chairperson), supported by an ENW office secretary;
  • membership is for a three-year period, and members are eligible for one three-year extension.

The Round Table Chemistry will consult with the KNCV to determine how the Working Groups and the KNCV sections can best support one another on the basis of close cooperation and a clear differentiation of tasks and responsibilities.

Background information

Working Group Committees (WGCs): tasks, composition, and working methods

Chemistry Working Groups – work area per Group

For questions about, or comments on the NWO round table Chemistry or the forthcoming Working Groups, please contact:
Marcel Hoek, tel +31-(0)30-6001382, mobile +31-(0)6-25438153 |
Mark Schmets, tel. +31 (0)70-3440537, mobile +31-(0)6-30369239 |


Source: NWO