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Henk Tamsma is the new Head of P&O at NWO-I

Achieving more with and for each other.

The management team of NWO-I has appointed Henk Tamsma as head of P&O at NWO-I. In this role, he will work closely together with the P&O managers of the NWO Institutes and lead the team of P&O colleagues at the NWO-I office. Henk will start in his new position on 15 November 2022.

From DIFFER to the NWO-I office

Henk Tamsma knows the NWO-I organisation well because he has been Head P&O at NWO-I institute DIFFER in Eindhoven since 2014, where he immediately faced the challenge of guiding employees through the institute’s relocation from Nieuwegein to Eindhoven in 2015. Over the past six months, together with his colleague René Schoonen, he also acted as interim manager of the institute. Prior to his period at DIFFER, Henk worked for SNS Reaal, holding various positions in human resource management. Why did he decide to leave DIFFER? Henk: ‘As an HRM person, I’m convinced that it is good for both yourself and the organisation to choose a different position occasionally. I was already strongly involved in the preparations for a shared back office for P&O services across NWO-I as the project leader of Youforce, and when this vacancy came up, I felt I had the right expertise for this position.’

A lot in common

From his position at DIFFER, Henk knows what it means to be part of the NWO-I organisation as an institute: ‘To create policy, an institute needs autonomy to be able to connect with its unique scientific field. Realising its own branding in labour market communication is one example of this. That is logical, of course, but there’s also a lot we have in common. This comes together in the joint NWO-I strategy. Examples are implementing the policy for Recognition & Rewards, scientific integrity, and Diversity & Inclusion. We are currently preparing an employee satisfaction survey for NWO-I in its entirety. Conducting that survey at all nine institutes in the same manner is far more efficient, because then we can purchase the service we need at a more favourable rate.’


Jan van der Boon, director of operations and interim general director of NWO-I, is pleased with the appointment: ‘Henk has a proven track record within NWO-I as P&O manager at DIFFER, but also in various functions across the entire breadth of the organisation, such as Youforce project leader and as chair of the consultation of the Heads of P&O. It’s fantastic that Henk is prepared to take on this role and to give leadership to the further development of our personnel policy and the HR services that the NWO-I office provides to our institutes.’ The NWO-I office works council also had a positive initial meeting with Henk.

Sin en wille kin folle tille

On the sixth floor of the NWO-I office in Utrecht, Henk, who grew up in Friesland, has already hung a sign with the Frisian text “Sin en wille kin folle tille”. Freely translated, this means that “with a positive attitude and will, you can move mountains”. It’s his life’s motto, and he aims to share it with his colleagues at both the institutes and the NWO-I office. Henk: ‘I’m convinced that we can achieve more with and for each other. I’m bringing DIFFER’s extremely positive solution-oriented approach with me: “if one thing doesn’t work, then what will?”. NWO-I is a service provider that serves science. And I’m really pleased that I can make a contribution to that.’

Who is Henk Tamsma?

Henk (1970) studied social sciences at the University of Groningen (specialisation Employment & Policy) and worked in many P&O and HRM business-related roles at Randstad, SNS Bank, SNS Reaal and, since 2014, DIFFER. He lives in Rosmalen with his family. Henk enjoys jogging and winter sports and is also a member of a cooking and reading club.

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