Newsletter for NWO-I employees March 2022
Inside NWO-I
Click here to read the newsletter online Nederlandse versie

NWO condemns acts of war in Ukraine and prepares measures

The Dutch Research Council is shocked by the invasion of Russian troops in Ukraine. The news and images have made it clear that a peace-loving and free country is being ruthlessly occupied by an aggressive foreign power. NWO empathises with the Ukrainian people in general and its Ukrainian employees and employees with Ukrainian family and friends in particular, and wishes to declare its solidarity with them.

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Diversity should include all distinctive characteristics

Said Rahimzadeh-Kalaleh Rodriguez (AMOLF) advocates more attention for ethnic diversity and inclusion

Said Rahimzadeh-Kalaleh Rodriguez became a group leader at AMOLF in 2017. Since his first publications, he has used the name Rodriguez, the name of his mother. ‘Unfortunately, that was a pragmatic choice back then.’ He is sensitive about exclusion due to ethnic reasons and emphasises that organisations like NWO must adopt a broader approach to diversity: ‘The focus should not just be on gender, but also on ethnic diversity.’

Credits: Mark Knight
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NWO celebrates… Chinese New Year

Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig: this is the ‘Chinese zodiac’. In contrast to Western traditions, it is based on year of birth instead of month. This zodiac follows a 12-year cycle in which each year is assigned to an animal. The Chinese New Year started on 1 February, and the animal assigned to 2022 is the Tiger. Chinese New Year is a feast that is celebrated for fifteen days during which the family and rich traditions of the past are honoured. The editorial team spoke to five Chinese colleagues from the NWO Institutes about how they celebrate Chinese New Year: Chenglu Jin and Jie Li (CWI), Mingxuan Wu and Qi Liu – Ricky (NIOZ) and Shih-Chi Wang (DIFFER).

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Remuneration commuting and working from home expenses remains unchanged

NWO-I has a remuneration scheme for commuting and working from home expenses. This will remain unchanged for the timing being until 1 July 2022. Even if the government decides to cancel the advice to work from home, the remuneration scheme will remain unchanged for the time being. On the NWO-I website, you can find all of the information you need about declaring such costs and the tool you should use to do so. As soon as there will be a change in this policy, we will inform you about this.

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New-style institutes for climate and data infrastructure

Permanent Committee on National Institutes (PCNI) advises NWO and KNAW

There is an urgent need for partnerships and coordination when it comes to climate research and data infrastructure, storage and management. These new alliances should take the form of new-style institutes that connect existing strengths in the Netherlands, bring together researchers from across disciplines, and drive national coordination. That can be read in the advisory report “National institutes: opportunities for the future” that was published early February by the Permanent Committee on National Institutes (PCNI) at the request of NWO and the KNAW executive boards.

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NWO strategy reaches phase 3

Hauling in the information and design

The second phase (consultation) of the NWO strategy process was completed at the end of February. The outcomes of the survey (NWO-D and NWO-I) have been processed, and in-depth focus sessions were held. On 10 March, two consecutive webinars were organised, one in Dutch and one in English. During these webinars, feedback was provided about the main outcomes from phase 2. Meanwhile, phase 3 has started: hauling in the information and design, during which we will write draft texts for the new strategy.

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Highlight NIOZ: ‘Missing’ plastics uncovered deep in the ocean

Credits: Pelagia, NIOZ/Erik Zettler

About 51 billion microplastic particles are floating on the surface of oceans across the world. Far more particles fall outside of this estimate because they are located in the water column, the part of the ocean between the surface and the seafloor. New research has revealed that minuscule fragments of various types of plastic pollute the ecosystem down to the deepest depths of the water column, and influence interactions in the food chain. This research took place in the southern Atlantic Ocean and was performed from the Dutch research vessel Pelagia by an international team, including researchers from NWO Institute NIOZ (the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research). Follow-up studies into the ingestion of microplastics are urgently needed, state the researchers, to assess the risk of the pollutants in biomass, such as fish for human consumption.

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NWO celebrates… the International Day of Education

In 2019, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 24 January as the International Day of Education. In this way, the UN seeks to realise inclusive and equitable education to create opportunities and possibilities for all, encourage gender equality and combat global poverty. Education is also an important topic within NWO. The Netherlands Initiative for Education Research (NRO) is the NWO unit that focuses on this the most. Bart ten Bosch is a policy officer at NRO in the practice-oriented educational research team and talks about the importance of proper education during an interview.

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News from the works councils

In the almost post-corona society, the works councils have not been idle: the COR NWO (NWO Central Works Council) is negotiating with the Executive Board representative about remunerations for working from home because hybrid working is the new norm. One of the other subjects is the NWO strategy: the COR NWO has provided feedback about the content and will play a role again in spring, once the draft version is published. The GOR NWO-I (NWO-I Group Works Council) is considering the intended decisions in the context of the development of operations at NWO-I.

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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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