Director NWO-I

Ref: 4532


Utrecht, the Netherlands

Role Managed by:

Mario Adamo

Research Associate

t: +31 2 02 40 43 78


Primary Practice Group: Higher Education and Research

Salary & Benefits: competitive

Closing Date: 05/02/2020

Formal Interview Date: March

This vacancy has now expired, and is not accepting any new applications.

Please search for live opportunities or use the Register Interest facility to sign up for job alerts and/or leave your CV speculatively.

The mission of the Dutch Research Council (NWO) is to advance world-class scientific research that has scientific and societal impact. NWO achieves this by funding scientific research at public research institutions in the Netherlands, especially universities, and by consolidating strengths around a scientific question at national research institutes. 

NWO has nine national research institutes who each have a clear mission and who perform internationally excellent research in areas identified as being important to the Netherlands: AMOLF, ARCNL, ASTRON, CWI, DIFFER, Nikhef, NIOZ, NSCR, and SRON. The portfolio and missions of the institutes are periodically assessed based on new scientific and/or societal developments.

In 2017 and 2018, the nine institutes were incorporated into the NWO-I Foundation, as laid down in the revised NWO organisational model. Within the new organisation, a clear distinction is made between the organisation’s role as funding organisation (NWO-D) and its role carrying out research through the nine NWO institutes (NWO-I). The aim of the transition was to improve the effectiveness as well as the accessibility and transparency of the entire organisation in order to better contribute to the scientific and societal challenges ahead. The restructured organisation makes it easier to work across disciplinary boundaries and strengthens the organisational capacity. In this way, NWO will be able to position itself more strategically, allocate resources in a more flexible manner and work from a single coherent programming (one NWO).

Context and responsibilities

The NWO Executive Board is the central leadership body comprising a President, a Chief Financial Officer and four academic members who are each Chair of one of the Domain Boards (Science, Social Sciences and Humanities, Applied and Engineering Sciences and The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development). The leadership of the foundation NWO-I is delegated by the board of the foundation to the Director NWO-I.

The Director of NWO-I, the Director of Operations NWO-I and the nine institute Directors collectively make up the Management Team of the NWO-I Foundation. The Director of NWO-I reports to the Board of the Foundation.

As the supervisor of the nine Directors, the Director of NWO-I oversees the positioning and the strategy of the portfolio of the NWO institutes. In doing so, he or she will be driving cohesion, quality, dynamism, and responsiveness to relevant scientific, societal and policy developments. The Director will chair the periodic meetings with the Directors of the institutes.

The Director has full responsibility for the operations of the NWO-I Office, this provides support for strategic activities and operational management aspects of the Foundation and the Institutes.

Profile and job requirements

The Director NWO-I:

  • should be a leading scientist with extensive administrative experience and he or she should possess the qualities to represent the NWO institutes on an inspiring and authoritative way;
  • should possess broad scientific knowledge and should have a well-founded vision on strategic and in-depth developments in the sciences, based on excellent - and preferably international - research experience, which he or she should be able to translate into scientific and social impact in the Dutch knowledge landscape;
  • should be familiar with and/or have experience with ‘big science’ facilities and mechanisms for developing such scientific infrastructure;
  • an excellent communicator, able to convey the vision and strategy shared by the institutes’ portfolio to sustain and grow support, based on the scientific and societal challenges and the strength of the institutes;
  • should have a transparent management style; must have a track record of successful leadership and proven retention of support of diverse teams and stakeholders.
  • must have a wide and relevant strategic network (academic and societal);
  • should have experience with conducting negotiations with a broad mandate and successfully delivering on binding agreements;
  • should act with a high level of personal integrity and ethics.

Terms of employment

NWO-I offers a challenging and meaningful full-time position.

  • The appointment will be for a period of five years with the possibility of reappointment for a second term of (up to) five years.
  • Part-time contract negotiable with a minimum of 32 hours;
  • Classification will be in Salary Band 18 in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Research Institutes;
  • Excellent benefits, including 42 days of annual leave for full-time employees, flexible working hours, a versatile package of employment benefits and good pension contributions (ABP);
  • Located in Utrecht.



Appointment Process and Procedure

An executive search exercise is being undertaken by Perrett Laver to assist the Appointment Advisory Committee. Applications should consist of a covering letter addressing motivation and suitability against the person specifications and a full curriculum vitae.

NWO is committed to diversity in the workplace and strives for a balanced composition of its staff. NWO therefore particularly welcomes applications from people who are currently underrepresented in its institution.

Perrett Laver may be contacted for informal enquiries and questions about the post on +31 (0)20 240 4378 or, applications can be uploaded at, quoting reference number 4532. The closing date for applications is 9am CET on 5th February 2020.

Applications will be considered by the Appointment Advisory Committee in February. Perrett Laver will conduct preliminary discussions with longlisted candidates, and the committee will then meet to decide on the shortlist of candidates in March. These individuals will subsequently be invited for formal interviews in March. Selection of and negotiations with the preferred candidate will take place thereafter.

The selection of and negotiation with the preferred candidate will take place in March or April. The submission of a Certificate of Good Conduct (VoG) and a development or selection assessment are part of the procedure.


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This vacancy has now expired, and is not accepting any new applications.

Please search for live opportunities or use the Register Interest facility to sign up for job alerts and/or leave your CV speculatively.