National Roadmap: 93 million euros for seven top research facilities

29 April 2020

NWO’s Executive Board has awarded funding to seven proposals in the National Roadmap for Large-Scale Scientific Infrastructure for a total amount of 93 million euros. The funds made available to NWO by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science for the National Roadmap for Large-scale Research Infrastructure will enable the construction or renewal of essential research infrastructures.

Nationale Roadmap

The scientific infrastructure awarded funding is vitally important for conducting innovative scientific research and as a driver for social and economic innovation in all scientific disciplines. The awards make infrastructure possible in the life sciences, natural and technical sciences, and the social sciences and humanities.

These infrastructures facilitate research on a variety of subjects such as biodiversity or the use of big data in the social sciences. One of the research facilities awarded funding is examining how to use a powerful magnet to shed light on the causes of disease and develop new medicines, but also to improve food production and food security. Another facility is studying microbial ecosystems that contribute to human health and the sustainable production of chemicals.

A Permanent Committee for strategic advice

In 2015, at the request of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, NWO appointed a Permanent Committee for Large-Scale Scientific Infrastructure to define the strategic frameworks for long-term investment in large-scale scientific infrastructure. In 2016, under the chairmanship of Professor Hans van Duijn, the Permanent Committee first made a landscape analysis of the large research facilities in the Netherlands. The outcome was presented on an interactive website: www.onderzoeksfaciliteiten.nl. A new landscape analysis is currently being conducted and the website is being updated.

Selection procedure

After the 2016 analysis, the Permanent Committee selected 33 research facilities that were considered to have the highest priority in 2016-2020. Together, these facilities formed the 2016 National Roadmap. Funding rounds were subsequently launched for the infrastructure on this Roadmap. Ten research facilities were already funded in 2018.

NWO appointed an independent international selection committee to assess the proposals in this second round. This committee consisted of 10 men and 5 women with a broad knowledge of scientific developments and experience with large-scale scientific structure. In the autumn of 2019, the proposals were assessed by peer review. The selection committee then selected 9 proposals for interviews, which were held in early 2020. Based on the interviews, the selection committee established a ranking, which was submitted to NWO’s Executive Board for the final granting decision.

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Source: NWO