Evaluation of Portfolio of NWO and Academy Research Institutes

20 July 2018

Are the NWO and Academy institutes properly equipped for new scientific and societal challenges? That is the main question posed in this evaluation. 

In its policy document Vision for Science 2025, Choices for the Future, the previous Government acknowledged the complementary nature of these institutes and their outstanding quality. At the same time, it stated its intention of analysing and assessing the system with a view to the future. A baseline assessment was produced for that purpose in 2016. This year will see an evaluation of the entire portfolio of NWO and Academy institutes. 

In that evaluation, an independent committee will consider the role of the two organisations’ institutes within the Dutch knowledge system. The eight members of the committee will, for example, consider what added value the institutes have for the Dutch research system, to what extent they are responsive and dynamic enough to anticipate new scientific and societal challenges, and what policy is needed within that context. The evaluation report is expected to appear in February 2019. 


  • Spring 2018: preparation of documents for committee
  • 5 July: committee teleconference
  • 4-5 October 2018: first committee meeting
  • 5-9 November 2018: second committee meeting and writing of draft report
  • Mid-February 2019: submission of final report 


The committee has two documents at its disposal. The Terms of Reference Portfolio-evaluatie NWO- en KNAW-instituten 2018 describes the committee’s mission as envisaged by the Academy Board and NWO’s Executive Board. 

Nulmeting 2016 is the result of the first phase of the portfolio evaluation, the baseline measure. It consists of a factual sketch of the institutes and a description of the policy environment in which they operate, drawn up by the NWO and the Academy. Both documents are available in Dutch only.

The Academy and NWO are of the opinion that their system of institutes represents added value for the Dutch knowledge landscape because the institutes fulfil roles that other knowledge institutions cannot undertake. NWO and the Academy explain their views in the following documents (available in Dutch only):

The documents listed below describe the NWO and Academy institute governance models (both documents are available in Dutch only):

The committee also has information on each of the individual institutes, i.e. a description of its mission, its history, its role in the Netherlands and internationally, its added value, its position in the Dutch knowledge system and Dutch society, its future, its strategy, and a summary of its most recent evaluation by an independent expert panel in accordance with the Standard Evaluation Protocol (SEP). (Documents below are available in Dutch only)