Column Mieke Zaanen

Dear colleagues,

In the previous KNAW e-mail, I wrote that the obligatory five-year evaluation of the KNAW and the portfolio evaluation provide us with an excellent podium for what we stand or wish to stand for. At the time, I was unable to go into detail, but since 4 p.m. today we can finally share the splendid conclusions of the portfolio evaluation report. According to the committee, the current portfolio of national research institutes provides genuine added value to the system of knowledge institutions in the Netherlands as it strengthens the impact of Dutch science and academia as a whole.

Moreover, the committee concludes that the portfolio of institutes contributes value to the Dutch knowledge landscape as it offers an optimal environment for high-quality research, access to heritage, collections and infrastructure, developing talent and interdisciplinary collaboration.

In addition, the individual institutes fulfil an important role in the Dutch knowledge landscape on the basis of their discipline. The committee also refers to the importance to society and concludes that the institutes are succeeding in disseminating their scientific knowledge for the benefit of society.

These are therefore very pleasing conclusions. Needless to say, a whole series of recommendations follow as to how we can reinforce and future-proof our position in the knowledge landscape, so we will still have plenty to do for the time being. However, I wish to compliment all KNAW colleagues on the conclusions of the portfolio committee. I know better than anybody else just how hard everybody's working and this confirmation of the importance of the institutes is down to you and that deserves a huge compliment.

Further in this newsletter to KNAW staff, the Career Centre KNAW highlights several online training aids in the context of Compliments Day. I have to confess that I’d never heard of it, but 1 March will be National Compliments Day! I must admit that I've never really been inclined to have to do something on a certain day, but putting one another in the limelight is, of course, to be welcomed. And bearing in mind the splendid conclusions of the report of the portfolio evaluation committee, we should really designate 22 February as Compliments Day for Institutes!