Newsletter for NWO-I employees April 2022
Inside NWO-I
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Sjoerd Wouda, health and safety coordinator NWO-I, about the need for and benefits of good working conditions

Healthy and happy colleagues due to good working conditions

In 2020, Sjoerd Wouda became the health and safety coordinator for NWO-I. He considers health and safety to be a highly diverse subject. It covers COVID-19 measures, working with a computer and safe laser setups but also (un)desirable behaviour and hybrid working. ‘Employee absenteeism causes a lot of distress and considerable costs for the organisation. That is why preventing the occurrence of incidents is so important. It is crucial to be aware of the risks and to know which safety measures apply.’

Sjoerd Wouda
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NWO celebrates… the independence of the Republic of South Maluku

Michael Aponno and his father Bert about their Moluccan family history
In the circle: Bert Aponno (left) and Michael Aponno (right). In the background is a photo of the Aponno delegation. (Grand)father sergeant-major F.A. Aponno is in the back row, third from left.

In the section “NWO celebrates…”, we tell the stories of different (feast) days that are important for NWO colleagues. One of those days is 25 April 1950, the independence of the Republic of South Maluku. Michael (Mike) Aponno, Senior Service Desk Employee at NWO-D in The Hague, has a Moluccan background. Together with his father Bert Aponno, he tells the editors of “NWO celebrates…” about 25 April and their Moluccan family history. Their story is so compelling that it led to a longer article than normal. A group of 12,500 Moluccans from the Dutch East Indies came to the Netherlands in 1951. This included the family Aponno that made the journey with the ship Kota Inten. They disembarked in the Netherlands, their temporary place of residence, with certain hopes and expectations. The Dutch government had pledged that they would be able to return to their own country in the not too distant future. Now, more than 70 years later, these Moluccan families are still in the Netherlands. They could not return; their stay became involuntarily permanent.

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How NWO helps colleagues and researchers from Ukraine and Russia

In February, all scientific institutions in the Netherlands denounced the acts of war against Ukraine. At that moment, and in the subsequent weeks, several sanctions and relief measures were announced as well. It has taken a while for all of the activities to take shape. Although the situation with respect to the war in Ukraine remains dynamic, we can now provide more insight into how NWO can help affected colleagues from Ukraine and Russia. Measures are also being prepared for researchers who have fled. We are working with many organisations from the scientific world for that project.

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Joost Frenken leaves ARCNL

Joost Frenken Credits: Ivar Pel

ARCNL director Joost Frenken has announced his departure from ARCNL. He has accepted the position of dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) at the University of Groningen, where he will start on July 1st, 2022. Frenken: “All parties involved recognize that ARCNL is performing really well and they praise the ARCNL team and the way the institute is organized. This has made me realize that my task to build up ARCNL has now been completed. I say goodbye with much confidence, pride and also a fair share of melancholy to this fantastic institute and the wonderful ARCNL family that together we have constructed.”

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NIOZ celebrates 10th anniversary in Yerseke (Zeeland)

On Friday, 25 March, the building of NWO Institute NIOZ in Yerseke was festively reopened after a major renovation. The 10th anniversary of NIOZ in the Dutch province of Zeeland was celebrated on this day as well. Besides its presence in Yerseke, NIOZ also has its main location on Texel. ‘During the past ten years, the NIOZ department in Yerseke has become closely connected with the region, for example through innovative projects with local partners for a flood-proof and sustainable region’, says Han Dolman, director of NIOZ. During the opening ceremony, several speakers provided insights into the societal importance of research carried out by NIOZ in Yerseke. NWO president Marcel Levi talked about the importance of coastal and climate research for Zeeland and the Netherlands.

Han Dolman (director NIOZ), Marcel Levi (president NWO) and Klaas Timmermans (head NIOZ Estuarine & Delta Systems Department in Yerseke). Credits: NIOZ
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Help for family carers: the OHRA Care Assistant


NWO-I has made collective agreements with health insurer OHRA. This means that as an NWO-I employee, you receive a discount on the premium for their collective health insurance. But in addition to this, OHRA also provides support for family carers: people who care for a family member or another person close to them. As a family carer, you might have to deal with various laws, rules and official bodies. It can be quite difficult to find your way through this maze. And that is where the OHRA Care Assistant can help. This digital tool answers questions about resources and transport (from crutches to ambulance transport), continuing to live independently at home (from assisted living to district nursing) and when living at home is no longer possible (for example, information about care homes). With this tool (only available in Dutch), it is immediately clear which care and support possibilities are available, and where and how you can gain access to these. The tool is available for everybody whether or not you are insured with OHRA.

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Highlight SRON: black hole more than 40 degrees off balance

An international team of astronomers, including Peter Jonker from NWO Institute SRON/Radboud University, has discovered a black hole where the axis of rotation is misaligned by more than 40 degrees compared to its orbit around a star. The observation is the first reliable measurement that reveals a large contrast with the normal situation, in which the rotational axis of a black hole is perpendicular to the plane in which the star and the black hole rotate. Peter Jonker: ‘We were able to measure the orientation of the rotation axis because black holes emit radio waves along that same direction. These jets collide with gas and dust as they pass through space, making them visible for telescopes.’ The discovery means that theoreticians now face the challenge of revising their models about the formation of black holes.

SRON Credits: SRON
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News from the works councils

Are meetings the only thing that NWO works councils do? Works council members are regularly asked this question, and the answer is “no”. For example, we carefully study the governance of NWO and the management of NWO-I, and provide feedback on the strategy of NWO. In the second half of April, the COR NWO (the NWO Central Works Council) will furthermore attend a two-day training about its own mission and vision: which subjects do we find important and how can we represent all NWO-I employees as well as possible?

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Expeditie NEXT: the national science festival for children

Date 06-05-2022

On Friday 6 May from 11:00 – 18:00 hours the Dutch Research Agenda (NWA) organises the science festival “Expedition NEXT” in the town centre of Franeker (Friesland). There, more than one hundred science activities for children aged 6 to 12 will be organised to rediscover lost knowledge. On this day the story of Professor Nova comes to life (written by NWO colleague Ilona de Lange and drawn by Micky Dirkzwager). For example, you can listen to the stories of Anna Gimbrère and Diederik Gommers under the gigantic light-emitting and revolving globe GAIA. Or you can test your sporting talent with the scientific team from Thialf. All children will receive an Expedition Book containing six expedition routes that take you past cool tasks, puzzles and experiments.

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About NWO-I

NWO-I, the Institutes Organisation of NWO, is an independent foundation belonging to NWO. The following nine institutes are part of NWO-I: AMOLF, ARCNL, ASTRON, CWI, DIFFER, Nikhef, NIOZ, NSCR and SRON. The 200-plus workgroups in which physics research takes place at Dutch universities and knowledge institutes are also part of NWO-I.


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