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A word of thanks to departing directors Henk Brinkhuis and Peter van der Laan

In November, two institute directors left NWO-I: Peter van der Laan said farewell to NWO Institute NSCR and Henk Brinkhuis completed his second and last period as director of the NWO-NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research.

Prof. Peter van der Laan was appointed as interim director of NSCR in 2019. ‘In this role, he guided the institute through a genuine transformation in which ten clusters were merged to become four research groups’, says Marcel Levi, chair of the NWO-I board. ‘In 2020, a fifth group was added thanks to a long-term partnership between the institute, the Ministry of Justice and Security and the Dutch National Police Force.’ According to employees, Van der Laan’s period as director was characterised by his considerable involvement and visibility on the work floor, even during the corona period. ‘His achievements are even more striking when you realise that the number of employees at NSCR has almost doubled in the past two years’, says Levi. ‘We will certainly miss Peter’s quiet and yet also energetic and convincing style of leadership at NSCR. At the same time, we are also extremely pleased to have found a fantastic successor in Prof. Beate Völker.’

During his decade as director, Prof. Henk Brinkhuis faced the challenge of a reorganisation. ‘Brinkhuis has fully adapted NIOZ to suit new times and has further expanded the institute’s reputation in recent years. Meanwhile, together with many others, he also managed to work for several years on plans to renew the national research fleet. With the multidisciplinary NICO expedition in 2018, the institute received international media attention. The expedition highlighted the importance of oceanographic research for solving major international challenges. Thanks, in part, to the efforts of Brinkhuis, three brand-new research vessels have now been designed’, emphasises Levi. In recent years, the institute has entered into new partnerships, such as that with Utrecht University, and it has launched a revised strategic plan under the telling title Our ocean, our coast, our future. ‘We have also managed to find a superb successor for Henk in the person of Prof. Han Dolman, who splendidly fits the current NIOZ programme.’

‘I wish both former directors every success in their respective futures and thank them for their considerable efforts in the service of Dutch science’, concludes Levi.


Newsletter Inside NWO-I, November 2021

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