The Academy promotes, supports and recognises excellence in science and interprets the results of research for society. The Academy articulates the importance of scientific research, knowledge and understanding for the economic, physical, social and cultural good and the well-being of mankind. It wants to make a visible contribution to a scientific community with equal rights and opportunities for all and room for the open exchange of views based on equity.
Equality and equity are about equal opportunities and possibilities for all, and also about fighting discrimination. Diversity refers to all visible and invisible characteristics, experiences and/or backgrounds in which people and groups of people may differ from each other. Inclusion is the creation of a working environment in which everyone, regardless of social or cultural background, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability, can be themselves, feel safe and have the space to develop.
The Academy does this in two capacities. On the one hand, as a society of excellent scientists and prominent artists who are members of the Academy, the Young Academy or the Academy of Arts respectively but are not employed by the Academy. And on the other hand, as the employer of more than 1,300 employees working at ten national research institutes, three institutes that provide infrastructure for research and the Academy Bureau. Because of this difference in position, purpose and tasks, the translation of our vision into measures and actions will differ between the academies and institutes. In view of their own history and culture, the details may also vary from academy to academy and from institute to institute. The principles and assumptions have general appeal and will be applied across the board. Of course, there is scope for tailor-made solutions when it comes to actual implementation, provided that well-argued reasons are given.
Following on from its Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025, the European Commission wants to actively promote gender equality1 in research and innovation. Organisations that want to be eligible for funding from Horizon Europe, the framework programme for research and innovation, should therefore have a gender equality plan (GEP) in place from 2022.
At national level, the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science adopted the National Action Plan for Greater Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education and Research in 2020, which underlines the positive relationship between quality of education and research and the pursuit of inclusion and diversity. As a guardian and interpreter of science, the Academy has contributed to the National Action Plan and is also a co-signatory of this National Action Plan.
Naturally, the Academy supports the European Commission in its efforts to promote gender equality within the organisation because it helps to promote underrepresented groups in the research sector. For us, this is an integral part of our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.