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Roll out Implementation Plan 2022-2027 ‘Inclusive and diverse personnel policy at NWO-I’

In October 2022, NWO-I set down an Implementation Plan for an inclusive and diverse personnel policy at NWO-I. The plan targets NWO-I in its entirety and will be rolled out within the organisation in the coming years. That is because NWO/NWO-I strive for excellent science, which flourishes and has maximum impact on our society. One aspect of that is encouraging an inclusive science culture with an eye to diversity in the broadest sense of the word. That means people with different areas of expertise and diverse backgrounds and perspectives. An inclusive organisation makes maximum use of its employees’ various talents and capabilities and actively seeks to increase its diversity when taking on new people. The overarching aim of this plan is to realise an organisation in which everybody feels welcome and safe to be themselves, and knows they are respected for who they are. For, in an inclusive work environment, all current and future employees will be able to deploy their talents to the full, regardless of their age, life phase, experience, gender, cultural, ethnic and/or religious background, gender identity, sexual orientation or work capacity/health. All employees are respected. Differences are appreciated and even sought after so that these can benefit our work.­­

Content Implementation Plan

In the coming years, the focus of the NWO-I personnel policy will be on diversity in the area of:

  1. Gender;

Drawing up an organisation-wide Gender Equality Plan (GEP) and developing a leadership programme for women.

  1. LGBTI+;

E.g. the further development of the focus group and making it possible for people who undergo a transition to take leave.

  1. Cultural and/or religious background;

E.g. opportunities and possibilities for talented people with a migration background.

  1. Health/work capacity.

In doing so, due consideration will also be given to the fact that some people may be part of more than one target group and will therefore experience an accumulated burden due to background characteristics. Age and life phase will not be treated as a specific theme, but will be incorporated in the other themes.

Other themes that recur in the Implementation Plan are:

  • Activities concerning awareness and behaviour: awareness of one’s own prejudices and judgements is the first step towards making the organisation more inclusive and diverse. Examples of this are inclusive leadership training for managers.
  • Language and communication: the words but also the images that we choose and use have a more (unconscious) impact on the people that hear them than we usually think they do. Examples are word choice, vocabulary, jargon, but also the exclusion of people with a visual or auditory impairment. As an employer, NWO-I wants to be vigilant about the use of inclusive communication. The organisation wants to draw up guidelines for the use of inclusive language and images (including writing courses) and the NWO-I websites will be made digitally accessible.
  • Inclusive culture: a culturally inclusive work climate ensures that every employee feels welcome and valued irrespective of gender, age, sexual orientation, ethnic background, culture or religion. An inclusive organisation is something that you have to work on together. Activities to realise this are, for example, the production of a P&O toolkit for inclusive recruitment, conducting an employee satisfaction survey, putting together focus groups and setting up initiatives so that employees may get to know each other better, for instance in the form of the column ‘NWO celebrates…’.
  • The general diversity and inclusion policy focuses on language and communication, and attitude and behaviour. In addition to this, we also present (the continuation of) activities for specific groups as well as actions specifically aimed at providing a positive and stimulating work environment and a safe, inclusive culture for these target groups. This includes gender, LGBTI+, people with a distance to the labour market, working according to ability (e.g. somebody with an occupational disability), and cultural and religious diversity.

First step: appointing a diversity and inclusion (D&I) project leader

The first step in rolling out the Implementation Plan is the appointment of a D&I project leader at the NWO-I office for two days per week. In the autumn of 2022 the project leader will take over the tasks of the current NWO-I D&I coordinator for personnel policy, Angeniet Gillissen (NSCR). An important task will be the drawing up of a Diversity Year Plan, which will state the issues the organisation comes up against and the points of action that will need to be tackled that year. Based on the Year Plan, more detailed plans for activities per organisation unit can be drawn up. For this, a distinction will be made between activities organised by specific organisational units on the one hand, and overarching activities on the other. A budget can be produced based on the plans.

Previous NWO initiatives in the area of diversity and inclusion

On behalf of the NWO Executive Board, an Implementation Plan Diversity Policy was written for diversity and inclusion in relation to both scientific funding and internal personnel policy. The signing of the Diversity Charter (2017) offered a starting point for this. Subsequently, in September 2020, the National action plan for greater diversity and inclusion in higher education and research was launched in close collaboration with various organisations, including NWO. The plan describes the ambitions and activities that help create an inclusive, diverse and safe learning and working environment.

Back then, NWO established two NWO-wide workgroups to realise the Implementation Plan Diversity Policy:

(1) A workgroup focussed on NWO funding policy;

(2) a workgroup focused on the personnel policy of NWO and NWO-I.

That plan covered a period of five years. Many activities from that implementation plan have been realised in the meantime or are well underway. In recent years, the personnel policy specifically focussed on improving the gender balance, for instance by means of the WISE programme (Women In Science Excel, which offers talented female researchers the possibility to set up their own research group or to expand their group at one of the NWO Institutes) and by making websites and vacancy texts more inclusive. This is still important, but it is time to broaden the focus. Diversity is about more than gender. The current action plan, the focus of which is limited to the NWO-I personnel policy, contains the proposed objectives and actions for the coming years.­

Collaboration with NWO-D

The NWO domain organisation is producing its own plan for a diverse and inclusive NWO-D personnel policy. NWO-I and NWO-D will, of course, seek to cooperate in the area of this theme.

More information

Would you like to know more about the Implementation Plan 2022-2027, or would you like to receive the plan by email? Please contact Melissa Vianen via On the NWO-I website you will find more information about diversity and inclusion at NWO-I. In the newsletter Inside NWO-I edition November/December 2022 an article was published on the Implementation Plan 2022-2027. 

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