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News from the NWO Central Works Council (October 2018)

This month the NWO Central Works Council (COR NWO) considered how PhDs at NWO-I (NWO-I employees) are treated differently from the PhDs employed at universities. It also presented its vision for the central training of NWO-I PhDs and postdocs to the NWO executive board. We also introduce you to COR NWO member Miriëlla Paula.

Attention for equal treatment of NWO-I PhDs
Did you know that COR NWO is also the works council for NWO-I employees at Dutch universities? Universities sometimes treat NWO-I PhDs differently from the PhDs they employ. Examples include NWO-I PhDs not receiving a Christmas package, paid instead of free parking or not having access to sports facilities. COR NWO is itemising the differences. At the end of September, COR NWO therefore sent an email to all NWO-I PhDs at universities requesting them to inform COR NWO about any problems and unequal treatment they experienced. If you did not receive this email, please let us know via

Vision COR NWO on training courses for NWO-I PhDs and postdocs
COR NWO has submitted its vision about central training courses for NWO-I PhDs and postdocs to the NWO executive board. COR NWO believes that changes in the current provision of courses should emerge from a clearer vision about the training of young scientists and should not be implemented in an ad hoc manner. COR NWO would like to see that PhDs from the various NWO-I Institutes and those who work at universities (BUW) have the same opportunities and possibilities for training courses, at least in the areas of soft skills and career orientation. After all, NWO-I is the sole employer of all these PhDs and so all centrally offered training courses must therefore be equally accessible for all NWO-I PhDs and postdocs.

Interview with Miriëlla Paula:

'Being alert and listening carefully to what is happening within the organisation'
Introducing COR NWO member Miriëlla Paula

Miriëlla Paula speaks passionately about COR NWO, and it is clear she is very committed to the organisation. 'You can only function well as a COR NWO member if you are properly informed about current themes in the organisation. For example, we recently discussed diversity policy and the personnel policy. As the COR NWO, we work well with the contact person from the executive board, Caroline Visser. She gives us plenty of room for our contribution and really wants the best for the organisation.'

Listening to the organisation
Membership of COR NWO requires a lot of time, energy, and proper preparation, says Miriëlla. 'We meet twice each month and with the NWO executive board once every six weeks. We need to prepare documents for each meeting. And every member is required to carefully note what is happening in the organisation by talking to colleagues and posing questions about various themes. COR NWO pays careful attention to personnel policy and issues across the entire organisation. It must also be aware of which issues we need to focus on as COR NWO and which issues should be handled by the local works councils. COR NWO works with theme-based committees and the committees prepare advisory reports for COR NWO. Once COR NWO has discussed this advice, it is sent to the NWO executive board.’

Two-way traffic
NWO executive board member Caroline Visser is the primary point of contact for COR NWO and deals with both the advice and approval matters from COR NWO. President of the executive board Stan Gielen is Caroline Visser's backstop. 'It really is two-way traffic', says Miriëlla. 'Caroline has a positive attitude and she gives COR NWO the opportunity to provide its own ideas and input.'

Miriëlla is clearly enthusiastic about her COR NWO membership: 'COR NWO members are highly committed, and it is a positive group of people. I knew little about it when I joined, but as a COR NWO member you gain knowledge over the course of time. The work is very diverse, you meet colleagues from all NWO units, but is also interesting to see how everybody has a different view on matters.’ When asked if she has further ambitions within COR NWO, she is clear. 'The secretary position held by Robbert Bloem will soon become vacant. I am really interested in the position, but I'm not yet ready such a demanding responsibility. I feel that I have only just started and I would like to grow towards such a position and acquire more knowledge. I am learning so much from what I'm doing now, and I've no regrets whatsoever that I became a member of COR NWO.’

More about Miriëlla
Miriëlla began her career at NWO in 2010 within the Financial Affairs department where she works on project administration for the Domain Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH). Miriëlla became a member of the NWO Works Council in 2013 and is therefore well acquainted with the works council world. In 2017, she subsequently became a temporary member of COR NWO on behalf of the NWO office. 'After a colleague stopped with his COR NWO/local works council membership, I was formally asked to become a member of COR NWO. I accepted the invitation gladly. Fortunately, my colleague Roel Ketelaar was already a member of COR NWO and I could ask him about all the ins and outs of the work', says Miriëlla, who knows how to combine her work and membership of COR NWO well with her private life as a wife and mother of three children.

Newsletter Inside NWO-I, October 2018

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