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NWO celebrates ... Diversity Day!

Diversity Day is a day of solidarity when we show that a good mix of people in terms of cultural origin, sexual orientation, age, gender, and occupational ability is nothing but positive. Only by making room for difference, we can make the most of the power of diversity. This year's Diversity Day is on Tuesday 5 October and, like many other organizations, NWO/NWO-I is planning to use the occasion to highlight diversity and inclusivity. In this article, we outline current developments in this field within our organization, in both grants and personnel policy.

LGBTIQ+ inclusion: NWO to host WPP conference at DIFFER on 18 November

On 1 January 2019 NWO joined Workplace Pride, a group dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in their workplaces. Each year, Tech@Workplacepride organizes an event in a different Dutch city. This year the LGBTIQ+ conference Differ(ent) Kinds of Energy takes place on Thursday 18 November at NWO Institute DIFFER, on the campus of Eindhoven University of Technology. Its core theme is sustainability and energy transition, and the importance of diversity for this mission. Leading scientists and businesspeople will be giving talks for a lay audience on developments in sustainability and energy, alternating with stories and reflections on diversity. The speakers come from both inside and outside the LGBTIQ+ community. Everyone is welcome! Click here for more information.

Coming Out Day on 11 October and rainbow flags

Coming Out Day takes place annually on 11 October and commemorates the moment when LGBTI+ people openly declare their sexual orientation or gender identity: “coming out of the closet”, as it is sometimes known. NWO/NWO-I celebrates Coming Out Day by hanging out the rainbow flag at our offices in Utrecht and The Hague, and at all NWO Institutes. Léon Ouwerkerk, P&O adviser at NWO Institute CWI and LGBTI+ coordinator for NWO and NWO-I, will be publishing a personal column on that day about Coming Out Day, which is going to be shared on the Joost intranet and the intranets of the institutes. Are you curious? The column is already available on the NWO-I website.

'Open minds drink' at CWI on 11 October

As NWO Institute CWI celebrates its 75th anniversary they organize all kinds of events. For Coming Out Day they organize an 'open mind drink' on Monday 11 October at 4.30 PM. The drink is for straight, cis, and LGBTI+ personnel, of course for those of CWI, but you are cordially invited too. As most of you probably know, on Coming Out Day, on 11 October, we pay attention to the coming out of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersexual people (LGBTI+) for their sexual orientation or gender identity. Coming out could of course be a serious matter for LGBTI+ people, but by celebrating open minds we hope to make coming out a tiny step easier. What to expect: drinks, some snacks, music, and nice people to chat with.

With this drink and hosting the rainbow flag (at all NWO locations) on that day, we would like to emphasize that from a social and academic point of view, it is highly important that everybody feels free and at home at CWI and elsewhere at NWO. This will raise everyone to their full potential. People with different backgrounds add different aspects to life and academic work and thus enriches it. If you want to join, please register through this link.

New section 'NWO celebrates … '

NWO/NWO-I has a new section 'NWO celebrates … ‘. This section is published on both the NWO intranet Joost and in the newsletter Inside NWO-I. This is an initiative from the NWO-D and NWO-I-wide Diversity team. We aim to realise working in an inclusive organisation with inclusive procedures. We believe that we can achieve our strategic ambitions as NWO if we also seek to be a diverse organisation with an inclusive culture. Diversity brings us creativity, innovation, and renewal. In addition to this, we are convinced that we will have more societal impact as NWO if our organisation reflects the society we are part of. This means that as an employer, NWO needs to ensure that everybody is welcome, can be themselves, and can perform at their best. This Diversity and Inclusion calendar contributes to that.
We base the section 'NWO celebrates …' on an annual calendar that we have produced ourselves. We hope this calendar will help us to get to know each other better, increase our knowledge about other festive days, and give us opportunities to open up the conversation and discover which (festive) days are special for us and why. Would you like to read the articles from 'NWO celebrates …' that have already been published or would you like to see the calendar? Then please visit the NWO-I website. And would you like to say something in the section 'NWO celebrates …' or do have a new idea? Then please send an email to Nicole Verhoeven 

Making room for participation

Everyone who can work but has difficulty finding a job without support is covered by the Participation Act. This law is intended to ensure that more people find work, including those with an occupational disability. As of the end of 2020, a large number of such positions had been provided at NWO. Due to the coronavirus, the focus more recently has been on retaining these jobs. Earlier this year, the personnel newsletter Inside NWO-I published an interview in which Diana Verweij of NWO Institute ASTRON talks about how it handles the Participation Act.

Inclusive Recruitment & Selection toolkit for P&O

NWO’s Personnel & Organization Department (P&O) is developing an Inclusive Recruitment & Selection toolkit with advice and tips for decision-makers. In particular, this shows how P&O staff can optimize diversity and inclusivity during the recruitment process. The kit ties in with new training courses for P&O advisers which are going to be offered soon. They, too, will focus on inclusive recruitment and selection: for example, how to write an inclusive job ad and how to deal with unconscious bias.

Room for talented female scientists: Women In Science Excel (WISE)

The WISE programme gives talented female scientists the opportunity to start or expand their own research group within one of the NWO institutes. In this way, we hope to improve the gender balance within those groups. Click here for more information.

Want to know more?

To find out more about diversity and inclusivity in our organization, visit the NWO website. If you have any questions or suggestions, please e-mail


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