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New system for ‘Recognition & Rewards’ at the NWO Institutes

NWO-I is currently changing the system of ‘Recognition & Rewards’ within the nine NWO Institutes. The move was prompted by the national Recognition & Rewards programme, which aims to devise a more up-to-date, balanced academic system. The programme evolved in 2019 when VSNU, NFU, NWO, KNAW and ZonMw published a position paper entitled 'Room for everyone’s talent’. The aim is to change the culture within academia, in the Netherlands and the rest of the world, so that all tasks carried out by our employees are recognised and rewarded. The focus of interest must shift from research results and must change to also include tasks relating to education, impact, leadership and patient care. In the specific case of the NWO Institutes, the new focus should also include recognition of the national role that the institutes play.

Steps at the NWO Institutes

At present, all of the Dutch knowledge institutes have set up committees to work out the details of their visions and ambitions regarding the culture change required by the ‘Recognition & Rewards’ system, and have started to implement the changes. The NWO Institutes decided to set up one broad-based committee for all of its institutes. The committee comprises representatives of every academic career level, including the engineering/technical departments, all institutes, all tiers of management, and colleagues from specific departments such as HR and communication. The committee is currently working on the vision and focus for Recognition & Rewards within the institutes. The vision addresses the ambition of NWO-I, namely: why does NWO-I think that the Recognition & Rewards system needs to change, and what is the aim? In addition, a more detailed vision and strategy will be worked out per key domain (research, education, leadership, impact, national role).

Discussion sessions

Throughout this process, NWO-I is keen to have an open dialogue with all its employees to explain the ambition, listen to their views and concerns, and to collect input for our vision. Therefore, all institute employees will soon receive a questionnaire by email and the committee is organising discussion sessions. These sessions are planned for October and will revolve around one or two specific key domains, namely around Research, Impact & the National role, and around Leadership & Education. All institute employees will be sent an email inviting them to take part in the discussion sessions. If, in the meantime, you have any ideas or concerns that you would like to share with the committee, please contact them via You can also contact the following people directly: the chair Michael Wise (, the project leader Laura Jussen (, or the person representing your career level or institute.

More information

Background information about the Recognition  &Rewards programme, the position paper, visions and other knowledge institutes, and discussions, can be found on the dedicated website You can also visit the special page on the NWO-I website.

Newsletter Inside NWO-I, September 2021

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