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The future of NWO-I

Description of the project "Further development NWO-I"

The further development of NWO-I is a current theme for the managers and directors of the nine NWO Institutes and the NWO-I office. It concerns improving the collaboration within NWO-I. Why is that important? You can find the answers in the Q&A.

What does the further development entail?
On 1 January 2018, the legal merger of NWO-I became a fact. The reason for the further development was the question that arose from the NWO-I Foundation Board at the end of 2018: how can the institutes and the office collaborate better? The NWO-I board and the directors of the institutes worked together with an adviser from consultancy Berenschot to provide answers to this question. Because a formal union does not necessarily mean that you work as a single organisation with a shared responsibility and commitment. This can be realised in various ways: for example by jointly developing policy or formulating a vision that you need to grow towards as an organisation and by realising advantages of scale in purchases. And in the personnel sphere: how do you deal with talent and mobility? Considering what you organise centrally and decentrally is another aspect. Over the past year, in response to a request from the NWO Executive Board, the NWO-I Directors Consultative Meeting put on paper what its strategy and identity are.

Why is further development needed?
The abovementioned document entitled Strategy and Identity states amongst other things: 'We see much added value in the joint organisation of institutes (bringing together in an umbrella organisation). We share interests and can strengthen each other and to a certain extent, collaborate in specific areas.' Examples are: organising national and international lobbying, conveying results better and realising benefits of effectiveness in the operational management. An overarching profile for NWO-I can also be drawn up. This facilitates the mutual connections and joint ambition and makes the position of institutes within and outside NWO strong and recognisable.

What is NWO-I's current position within the project?
Several project groups have worked on an inventory in recent months. For example, the workgroup Structure and systems has posed questions: How can we optimise the service provided by the NWO-I office? Which tasks does the NWO-I office carry out and which tasks are decentralised? The answers to these questions have been included in a so-called "service model". The associated recommendations were discussed in mid-June with the NWO-I board. Subsequently, the board requested Christa Hooijer, director NWO-I office, to make these recommendations, together with the wishes of the board, part of the next step.
We are therefore still in the "research phase" of the project: how can we improve the service of the NWO-I office? This question must first of all be carefully answered by the parties involved before the workgroups can start with a more concrete realisation of the plans. Nevertheless, there are already good ideas to improve the collaboration, and recently, a workgroup started preparations for a joint financial system.

What does this mean for me?
In the short term, probably nothing. Ultimately, it will lead to advantages of scale and a more joint personnel and financial policy as well as a stronger profile for the NWO Institutes. That must lead to a more efficient deployment of resources and the recruitment of skilled employees.

The following workgroups have been set up within the project "Further Development":

  • Rules of the game: collaboration NWO-D, NWO-I and other science institutes.
  • Design of processes: strategic discussion within NWO-I.
  • Advice: strategic positioning institutes.
  • Structure and systems: development of a new service model.
  • Staff and skills: development of employees within NWO-I.
  • Solidarity, style and shared values: implementation of the key values of NWO-I and improving mutual collaboration.
    These workgroups have been set up according to the 8S model of McKinsey. This is a frequently used model to analyse organisations.

Would you like to know more about the project "Further Development"?
Then talk with your line manager, HRM adviser, director or institute manager. As soon as more is known about the (approved) plans and how these will be realised in practice, more information will be shared with you in this newsletter.

Text: Drea van Ark
Photo: Wouter Jansen

Newsletter Inside NWO-I, June 2019

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