Laboratories had to close and projects were put on hold. Researchers on temporary contracts experienced problems in completing their research on time. On the other hand, scientists have rarely played such a crucial role in a global crisis. The entire world is eagerly awaiting a vaccine. Even if there are still people who think that the virus is a figment of the imagination and scientists are part of the conspiracy, nobody can deny that: science is firmly back in the limelight.
Scientists have rarely played such a crucial role in a global crisis.
Therefore coronavirus research cannot be omitted from our new annual magazine Results. We reveal how quickly and flexibly various scientists managed to respond to the urgent need and which initial results have already been achieved. But fantastic progress was made in other areas too. For example, you can read how researchers have managed to culture a mini-heart in the lab that contains adult beating heart cells. And there is an article about researchers who developed an online tool to help teachers provide individual solutions to counteract bullying at school. When I read all of these articles, I am encouraged by their incredible diversity: not just of disciplines, but also among the people who are responsible for all those superb results. These are all splendid examples, which demonstrate how important it is for science to continue unabated and unimpeded. If Dutch research is to remain among the best in Europe, then considerable extra investments are needed as well as continuity in the funding that the government provides. Only then can Dutch researchers enjoy a level playing field within Europe. 2020, the year of the coronavirus, has brought home to us all just how important this is. Knowledge is the key to our wellbeing. And now society desperately needs science, even more than ever before.
President NWO Executive Board