Research priorities established in sector outlooks

20 December 2018

Today the sector outlooks for Science, Engineering and Social Sciences & Humanities (SSH) were presented to the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW). The financial resources made available by the Ministry of OCW through the coalition agreement could strengthen the research base in the Netherlands.

Photo: left to right Mark Bovens, Pieter Duisenberg, Nora van der Wenden (OCW) and Mark Boneschanscher on behalf of Bert Meijer

Through the sector plans, the cabinet is investing in the expansion of research capacity and the ability to attract and retain new research talent. The sector plans contribute to the overarching aims, such as strategic cooperation between universities in the areas of research, education and social objectives.

Strengthening the research base

The sector outlooks provide the basis for the design of the sector plans. NWO was closely involved in the development of the sector outlooks. The sector plans help to reinforce the basis and further profiling of the research conducted at Dutch knowledge institutes, whereby education and research and the contribution to social objectives are closely interwoven. The total available budget is €70 million a year, 80% of which is earmarked for the universities and 20% of which will be distributed by NWO. To that end, faculties from these sectors will develop profile plans in early 2019. This dovetails with the Nexus ambition in the NWO strategy: to facilitate self-organisation in Dutch science.

Focus in the sectors

Hard decisions had to be made for this cooperation between direct government funding and indirect public funding because of the limited availability of resources. The sector outlooks for science and engineering reflect the considerable pressure that these disciplines have been under in recent years. Society and industry are eagerly looking for talented scientists and engineers and following their research findings. The SSH sector outlook focuses on a discipline plan for Law and a domain-wide plan. NWO’s financial resources are meant to strengthen the chosen profile areas, by investing in infrastructure and by appointing temporary researchers.

Structural embeddedness

If there is a positive evaluation at the end of the six-year period, the funds will be embedded in the knowledge institutes and NWO. The sector plans are thus an integrated approach that aim to strengthen the quality of the research base and promote collaboration in the scientific field to improve the connection between education and research, diversity, teacher training and student-staff ratios.

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Source: NWO


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