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January 18th 2018

In the annual report of 1947, the Governing Board, under the leadership of Hans Kramers, was mainly concerned with 'issues of a business nature that still require further arrangements'. Especially the salaries, pensions and insurances required attention – the last item was urgent, because 'nuclear physics research in some cases involves a certain risk for the researcher'. The relationship with the Organisation of ZWO, the later NWO, was also on the agenda. The FOM Foundation had to be built up and that cost time. "Once these matters have been arranged then this will definitely benefit the everyday operations and then more time will become available in the meetings to consider scientific problems," states the annual report.

In 2016, the 'relationship with the Organisation of NWO' was also high on the agenda. Within FOM the preparations started for the transition, the conversion of FOM into the institute organisation of NWO. Meanwhile FOM continued to operate. "It's business as usual during the transition", said FOM director Christa Hooijer. Besides the awards in the standard programmes, such as the FOM Projectruimte and the Vrije FOM-programma's, new collaborations with industry and new strategic research programmes started.

The scientific highlight of 2016 occurred early in the year. In February, the detection of the first gravitational waves was announced and the gravitational physics group at Nikhef made an important contribution to this.

Another highlight was the celebration of FOM's 70th anniversary with a symposium and festive evening. This also marked the farewell to FOM. Chair Niek Lopes Cardozo said in his speech: 'FOM is not about FOM. FOM is about fundamental research and researchers. About the quest for the boundaries of knowledge, of the imagination, of what is known. The exploration of the unexpected. The recognition of the unknown.' He called for those present to commit themselves to realising the new NWO: 'The transition of FOM, the splitting up, the integration in NWO, but especially: the reinvention of NWO with physics integrated in this, is our dream.'

The annual report has a new design and gives a brief overview of FOM's activities in 2016. A Financial Annual Report has also been published. Both reports are available online (in Dutch). Hard copies can be requested from Béatrice Bullinga.