Director of Operations, NWO-I

Ref: 4533


Utrecht, the Netherlands

Role Managed by:

Thomas Modder

Research Associate

t: + (31) 2 0240 4379

f: +44 (0) 207 340 6201


Primary Practice Group: Higher Education and Research

Salary & Benefits: competitive

Closing Date: 06/03/2020

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 societal and scientific 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.

Since 2017 and 2018, these nine institutes were incorporated into the NWO-I Foundation, as laid down in the revised NWO organisational model. NWO-I employs around 2,000 people.

Within the new organisation, a clear distinction is made between the organisation’s role as a funding organisation (NWO-D) and its role carrying out research in 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 role of Director of Operations is a new position within the revised governance structure of the NWO-I Foundation. The Director of Operations will report to the NWO-I Director and is a member of the Management Team of NWO-I.

The Management Team of NWO-I is made up of the Director of NWO-I, the Director of Operations of NWO-I and the nine Directors of the institutes. From the field of operations, the Director of Operations will make a structural contribution to the strategic vision and strategy of NWO-I. He/she will also monitor the link between the operational management at Foundation level and the connection with the NWO organisation.

The Director of Operations will play an important and central role in designing and ensuring professional and efficient operational processes and infrastructure, shaping a learning organisation in the process.

In practice, the Director of Operations will manage the business units currently housed in the NWO-I Office (HRM, Finance & Control, Real Estate Policy, Legal Affairs and the GDPR organisation). Approximately 45 employees work in this office. NWO-I is seeking a Director of Operations for this Office with immediate effect.


Profile and job requirements

The new Director of Operations will be an experienced and unifying leader with a practice-oriented mentality, focusing on the further development of the new organisation.

The ideal candidate will be accessible and driven, possessing the natural authority and reputation necessary to give substance to the position. He/she will be flexible and innovative, but also able to bring consistency and structure to the organisation and the decision-making processes. He/she will have an open, transparent and coaching leadership style.

The successful candidate will have:

  • knowledge and experience of the broad field of operational management;
  • extensive management experience in a complex organisation, with the ability to function flexibly while simultaneously providing structure;
  • the ability to develop policies that are relevant to and support the NWO-I strategy;
  • a high level of professional and intellectual ability;
  • the ability to function independently and creatively with a focus on synergy and connection;
  • excellent communication skills with the ability to communicate decisively and with conviction in both Dutch and English.

Terms of employment

NWO-I is offering a challenging and meaningful full-time position:

  • commencement of employment with a view to permanent employment after a probationary period of two months;
  • part-time contract negotiable with a minimum of 32 hours;
  • classification into Salary Band 17 in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Research Centres;
  • excellent fringe benefits, including 42 days of annual leave for full-time employment, flexible working hours, a versatile package of employment benefits and good pension arrangements (ABP);
  • based 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 4379 or, applications can be uploaded at, quoting reference number 4533. The closing date for applications is 9am CET on 6 March 2020.

Applications will be considered by the Appointment Advisory Committee at the end of March Perrett Laver will conduct preliminary discussions with longlisted candidates early April, and the committee will then meet to decide on the shortlist of candidates mid-April. These individuals will subsequently be invited for formal interviews end of April. 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.