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NWO in transition

From 1 January 2017 Technology Foundation STW’s activities are gradually incorporated in the new NWO Domain Applied and Engineering Sciences (AES). The change is part of an NWO-wide transition.

NWO will become more effective, respond more flexibly to developments in science and will strengthen collaboration within science and with society. The organisation will have a more efficient structure: the current science divisions and foundations will be clustered into four domains. In the new structure decision taking will concentrated in an Executive Board. Four active scientists will be part of this board and they will also be the chairs of the four domain boards.

In the Vision for Science, the Dutch cabinet states that the basic position of Dutch science is good and that the Netherlands can be proud of its science sector and scientists. However, more collaboration and connections are needed to remain at the scientific top and to further increase the contribution of science to society. This principle has guided the realisation of the NWO strategy 2015-2018 and in turn the new governance and organisation of NWO.

Grand Départ
The new NWO organisation with the Executive Board (EB), the domain structure and the associated funding instruments was launched on 1 January 2017. In addition a new and separate organisation for the institutes was set up directly under the Executive Board, to encourage the connection between institutes and between institutes and the Executive Board, and to realise better support in the operational management.

In this regard, the supporting institutes organisation has a connecting and serving role towards both the institutes and the EB, but not a budget distributing function towards the institutes. The design of the institutes organisation is partly linked to this and should be completed by 2019.

Funding instruments
Until the so-called ‘Grand Départ’, the continuity of the existing funding instruments of all NWO units will be guaranteed. Any modifications from 2017 onwards will be announced so that researchers can prepare in due time for changes in the procedures.

In this manner, NWO wants to work towards the implementation of the model of Breimer, as announced in April 2015 and confirmed by the State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science, Sander Dekker, in a letter to the Dutch Parliament.

Action plan
In May 2015, NWO formed a Steering Group Transition and appointed a programme director. Roelof de Wijkerslooth is chair of the Steering Group and Wim van Saarloos has been appointed as programme director Transition, with the task of realising the preparations for and implementation of the changes to the organisation.

The first step towards realising this was the drawing up of an action plan. This plan serves as a timetable for how NWO will realise a further elaboration of the contours that were announced in April. Discussions were held with many people both inside and outside of NWO to realise this plan so that a thorough analysis could be made of all aspects and consequences associated with the transition. The action plan and the action plan summary were completed in October 2015.

An important part of the action plan is the formation of 15 workgroups that will elaborate aspects of the main design for the new NWO. During the appointment of people to the workgroups due attention was paid to a good representation and involvement of the scientific field as well as NWO employees.

More information on NWO's transition (in Dutch):

FAQ: van STW naar TTW (14 november 2016)

Bestuursoverdracht NWO (1 september 2016)

Leden nieuwe Raad van Bestuur bekendgemaakt (8 juli 2016)

Transitie NWO gaat nieuwe fase in (1 april 2016)