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January 23rd 2017

Please visit the NWO website for more information
For more information about the transition, please visit the NWO website as well.


* News - 21 December 2016 *
Transformation FOM a fact: FOM --> NWO with effect from 1 January 2017
From 1 January 2017 onwards the current Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM) will form a new organisation together with other NWO units. The FOM Governing Board took the final decision for this transformation on 21 December 2016. FOM will continue to exist as a legal entity, with new articles of association and a new name, the Netherlands Foundation of Scientific Research Institutes. Nine institutes will eventually reside under this. The awarding of grants to Dutch physics will continue within the new NWO Science Domain. The name FOM will therefore disappear after 70 years. The aim of these changes is to realise a more effective and less pluriform NWO organisation that has a greater multidisciplinary focus. Read more.


How will this affect funding instruments?
The general rule for all funding instruments of all NWO divisions will be: all funding instruments will be continued unchanged until a decision about adapting or ending it is made. Therefore 2017 will be a transition year. The organisation will be developed and the Domains in their turn will take care of the funding instruments. NWO and FOM will take care that changes will be announced at least six months in advance. This gives researchers a chance to prepare for change adequately. The ambition is that new funding instruments become effective no later than 1 January 2018. New calls will be announced by the new domains and domain boards will decide on grants.

What will happen to current FOM personnel?
For all employees the name of their employer will change: FOM will become NWO Institute Organisation. For most employees this will be the only change, the exception being the employees at the FOM office. They will all relocate to the new NWO. This procedure will take place in January 2017. Employees will 'follow their work' for the most part, just like their colleagues at STW and NWO. This implies that most contacts will stay, and that the transition will have minimal effect on the work in progress. Email addresses and telephone numbers remain unchanged, although mail addresses will be added. Because of the incorporation of the NWO Institutes in NWO-I (January 2018) and the transferral of ZonMW (in January 2019) there will be three rounds of placement procedures.

What will change however, is that researchers no longer will become FOM employees, but that funding will enable employment at universities or research facilities. All other FOM employees (with the exception of the FOM office employees) will remain employed by FOM, under the name NWO-I. The new NWO will be located both in The Hague and Utrecht. Current employees of the FOM office will only change locations at their own volition.

What will the new organisational structure look like?
The organisation will have a more efficient and transparent structure. The current science divisions and foundations will be clustered into four domains: Science (ENW), Applied and Technical Sciences (TTW), Social Sciences and Humanities (SGW) and Health Research and Medical Sciences (ZonMW).

Moreover all institutes will be clustered in the new NWO Institutes Organisation (NWO-I). This implies dividing the current FOM organisation into a granting part (with Chemical Sciences, Astronomy, Physical Sciences, Earth and Life Sciences) and a support organisation that will incorporate eventually all NWO institutes.

In the new structure decision-making will take place at the top in an Executive Board. This collegial management will be closely linked with the domains and institutes via four active researchers who will be members of the Executive Board, in addition to a president and a member for financial and operational matters. In addition, these four active researchers will each chair one of the four Domain Boards. The Executive Board as a whole will be responsible for the institutes, which will be supported by the institute organisation.  The integral planning and strategy of the organisation as well as the budgets of domains and insitutes will be the responsibility of the Executive Board. This will enable NWO's strategic positioning, to become more effective and to respond more flexibly to developments in science and develop a more coherent funding strategy.

What is the current state of affairs?
The FOM governing Board has definitely decided on 21 December to the transformation of FOM. On 1 October 2016 the General Board of NWO transferred the management responsibility to the Executive Board, the new chair Prof.dr. Stan Gielen and drs. Caroline Visser. They form the governing board until the new Executive Board will be in office in January 2017. The board change is also a step in the NWO transition.
The new NWO Act has been passed by the First and Second Chamber. From 1 January 2017 onward NWO will function within the new organisational structure with the members of the new Executive Board. Braakman, Schouten and Van den Doel will be domain board chairs of Science, Technical and Applied Sciences and Social Sciences and Humanities respectively. Geurts will start on 1 January as chair of the independent ZonMW, which will be integrated as the forth domain within NWO from January 2019 onward.
The names of the members of the Supervisory Board as well as the names of of the other domain board members have not been made public yet. 

What is the reason for this transition?
On 25 November 2014, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science published the Vision on Science 2025: choices for the future. The parliamentary paper had an advisory report as an annex, in which recommendations were made for changes to the organisational structure of NWO. The aim of these changes is to realise a more effective and less pluriform NWO organisation that has a greater multidisciplinary focus. On Monday 13 April 2015, NWO presented the new strategy memorandum to the State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science, Sander Dekker. The Vision on Science and the NWO strategy were guiding documents for the transition of NWO.

What happened up till now?
A steering group is supervising the implementation process of the organisational changes at NWO. During the first meeting on Monday 18 May 2015, the steering group decided to appoint Wim van Saarloos as programme director transition NWO with effect from 1 June 2015. In this position he leads the transition to the new NWO organisation until 1 January 2017. The Steering group presented their Action Plan for the transition to a renewed NWO, and a summary of this plan, in October 2015.

The first phase of the Action Plan, the planning phase, covered the elaboration of the integral main design for the new NWO. This was realised through workgroups of NWO employees, who offered NWO stakeholders the opportunity to think with them.

On 23 March, the steering group approved the Integral Plan for the new NWO. The steering group also took a number of decisions needed to begin the Design Phase. This phases started the changes for the new governance and organisation of the new NWO. 

Read more

NWO Transition updates
With the 'NWO Transition updates' Wim van Saarloos keeps the scientific field informed about the latest developments and state of affairs with respect to the NWO Transition. Some of these updates contains a foreword from Niek Lopes Cardozo, chair of the Executive Board and Governing Board of FOM, and chair of the Divisional Board for Physics at NWO.

Please find the Transition updates in the upper right corner of this page.