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New structure for NWO-I directorate

The NWO executive board has decided to change the governance of NWO-I to make the organisation more effective and incisive. A director will be appointed for the entire NWO-I who will provide leadership to the directors of the institutes.

The director of NWO-I will be responsible for the scientific positioning and strategy of the portfolio of NWO-I institutes. The new director will be the external figurehead of the NWO-I organisation. He or she will chair the consultations of the institute directors and will attend the consultations of the NWO executive board when there are agenda points of relevance to the institutes. He or she will be accountable to the NWO executive board.

The second change is the appointment of a director of operations who will fall under the general director NWO-I. The director of operations will chair the consultations of institute managers and will be responsible for managing the NWO-I office in Utrecht, with the exception of the current strategic support department that will then fall under the director NWO-I.

The current position of director NWO-I office will cease to exist. This position was filled by Christa Hooijer until she became the director of Science at TNO Industry on 1 September 2019. Ed van den Berg is currently the interim director NWO-I office.

An evaluation of the current governance model has led to these changes. A workgroup whose members were Stan Gielen (president executive board), Caroline Visser (vice-president executive board), Huib Bakker (director AMOLF), Stan Bentvelsen (director Nikhef) and Joost Frenken (director ARCNL) established that the current model is inadequate with respect to four points: the input of the institutes’ perspective in deliberations at NWO level; the relationship between portfolio holders in the executive board and the institutes that they represent; the relationship between the NWO-I foundation board and various bodies of NWO-I; and the functioning of the directors consultation.

The new model must resolve these bottlenecks. For example, the director NWO-I as a joint representative of the institutes can represent the institutes more effectively and decisively in both internal and external matters. Also the director NWO-I can devote full-time attention to the organisation, employees and interests (unlike the current portfolio holders, who must divide that attention over the domains and institutes within their part-time appointment). Furthermore, under the chairing of the director NWO-I, the directors consultations will be able to reach decisions faster and more easily.

Finally, with the appointment of both a director NWO-I and a director of operations, the various roles within the institutes organisation are more clearly filled. Strategic subjects will be discussed under the leadership of the director NWO-I in the directors consultations, and the operational aspects will be discussed under the leadership of the director operations in the institute managers consultations.

The NWO supervisory board has approved the intended course and the NWO Central Works Council is also positive about it. In the coming period, new statutes and internal rules and regulations will be worked towards in good consultation with all parties involved. The job profiles for these positions will also be developed; these will be established in January 2020.  An external agency will see to the recruitment of the two new directors.

Further information can be obtained from Ed van den Berg, interim director NWO-I office.

Newsletter Inside NWO-I, December 2019

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