Ref: 5799

NL Space Campus

Noordwijk, the Netherlands

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Role Managed by:

Norbert Lieftink

Research Associate

t: +31(0)20 24 04 378


Primary Practice Group: Higher Education and Research

Salary & Benefits: Competitive

Closing Date: 02/06/2022

Formal Interview Date: June

NL Space Campus 
Connecting the curious

Since its inception in 2019, NL Space Campus has become the beating heart of a network of international companies, world-class universities, and innovative start-ups and scale-ups. The campus is the place and breeding ground where students, scientists, and professionals come together and collaborate. Together they share knowledge, experiences, and an infinite passion for space. NL Space Campus aims to accelerate innovation, both online and offline, explore new markets, valorise research and ideas, and spark curiosity for space and the infinite possibilities it has to offer. The Province of Zuid Holland and the municipality of Noordwijk work closely together and subsidize NL Space Campus and its Foundation through the Regional Deal resources (Regiodeal 'ESTEC and Space Campus').

NL Space Campus is the meeting place for the international space sector, with European Space Agency (ESA) ESTEC (ESA's largest technological heart with more than 2,600 high-tech professionals), the Space Business Innovation Centre (SBIC), the Galileo Reference Centre (GRC) and Space Expo as inseparable anchor points. In addition, the development of NL Space Campus is supported through a collaboration between industry, the municipality of Noordwijk, the Province of Zuid Holland, the Netherlands Space Office (NSO), Innovation Quarter (IQ), SpaceNed, the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus (LDE) universities, Groundstation Dotspace, their GNSS CoE and VR/AR lab AVATAR. An ever-growing ecosystem and community where new encounters lead to new ideas and collaboration: the source of new innovations!

NL Space Campus has secured the commitment of important stakeholders and is in full development. In the coming years, NL Space Campus seeks to consolidate its position further by expanding the network in a high-tech environment, as well as by continuation and consolidation of the campus development through investment in both hardware (adding shared facilities, buildings, catering, activating, and connecting the space) and orgware (substantive programming, community building, business development, knowledge, and talent development). In addition, NL Space Campus aims to intensify the collaboration with a network of other campuses and ecosystems (such as Leiden Bio Science Park, Unmanned Valley and TU Delft), and draw a new multi-year plan for the next phase and period 2024-2028, including a reflection on appropriate financing and commitment from the stakeholders.


Appointment of Director NL Space Campus

The current Director, Esther Peters, will be involved unit October 2022 to ensure the smooth continuation of the Director role. NL Space Campus is looking to appoint a new Director to lead the campus into the next stage of its ambitions. Equipped with political sensitivity and diplomacy, the Director will lead an innovative organisation working in one of the most cutting-edge sectors in the Netherlands. The successful candidate will demonstrate a compelling vision and ambition for NL Space Campus, building upon its current success and extending its reach and impact by establishing links to, and building synergies between, a diverse array of national and international stakeholders. In addition, the Director will be responsible for the sustainable development of the campus through strategic community management and proactive business development, as well as appropriate leadership and oversight of other business critical activities including knowledge transfer, capital project development, and marketing and acquisition.


Overview of the role

The role of Director of NL Space Campus combines internal and external elements. In the first place, the Director holds ultimate responsibility for the management of the campus organisation, by leading the NL Space Campus team and the network organisation ensuring the organisation’s further development. The Director works closely with the Board to further develop and implement the strategy and vision of NL Space Campus, and reports to Board members on relevant developments and activities at the campus organisation. Secondly, the Director is responsible for creating synergies with the network organisations, partners, and other stakeholders. The Director will build and maintain meaningful partnerships, whether with high tech organisations or other organisations interested in the ideas and innovations coming from NL Space Campus. The perspective of stakeholders is valued, and the Director creates a platform for open discussions where their opinions are invited and incorporated as appropriate.

As the person with ultimate responsibility for the leadership and management of NL Space Campus, the Director has a high degree of autonomy and is supported by the other Board members in an advisory/supervisory capacity. Moreover, the Director is the contact person for the Advisory Board (with stakeholders such as TNO, SRON, SpaceNed, TU Delft and Leiden University) and participates in an administrative consultation together with the Director of ESA ESTEC, the Provincial Executive, the Municipal Councillor, and the Director of the NSO.

Managing NL Space Campus: The Director is responsible for the overall management of the organisation and stimulates a culture that is inclusive and innovative. In terms of financial management responsibilities, the Director oversees the budget of NL Space Campus and is accountable to the Board for the financial management and sustainability of the organisation. The Director will work closely with staff and the Board to articulate and deliver a multi-year strategic plan for NL Space Campus starting from 2024, which should reflect on the future business plan (financing model) for the organisation. NL Space Campus has opted for a small team to support the development of the campus, working closely with a network organisation of expert stakeholders (such as ESA, LDE universities, SBIC, NSO, SpaceNed, IQ etc.). The Director can demonstrate participatory leadership and can lead a diverse team of professionals, and to connect and inspire both at the level of content and vision. The Director will be expected to demonstrate a track record of building, managing, and mentoring high-performing teams.  

Networking and stakeholder management: The activities underlying the campus development occur at different levels of activities and are coordinated under the umbrella of the NL Space Campus consultations. The consultations are chaired by the Director of NL Space Campus, with the participation of representatives from the province, municipality, government (through NSO), ESA ESTEC, and IQ. The Director encourages broad representation within NL Space Campus and brings considerable experience, skills, and a high degree of sensitivity in stakeholder management. The Director will be capable of engaging with diverse groups and in inspiring inclusive and mutually beneficial relationships. The candidate will bring an established relevant professional network and proven ability to lobby and leverage their network strategically to deliver for an organisation. In this respect, the Director will develop and maintain a sizeable network consisting of contacts in the Dutch space cluster (organisations in the private and the higher education sector), as well as outside of the space sector (technology and innovation campus networks and organisations in sectors where space tech and high tech can be applied). Working with the team, the Director will nurture the relationship with organisations located on the campus, such as ESA ESTEC, GRC, SBIC, Space Expo and companies like, ATG, Decos, Celestia, Lens, Metasensing, and Stellar Space.

Business Development and Marketing Communication: Another important responsibility for the Director will be the business development and acquisition policy underlying the development of NL Space Campus. To achieve this, the Director collaborates closely with the commercial Programme Manager and with the municipality Noordwijk and organisations active in the local area and region such as IQ. The Director develops contacts with national and international organisations to stimulate their interest to start new business and initiatives and or in relocating to the campus.  The successful candidate monitors relevant trends and identifies new developments and opportunities for marketing communication. In addition, the Director is responsible for the development of the marketing and communication policy, and for safeguarding the quality of external communication. In this respect, the Director acts as spokesperson for the campus organisation.


Person Specifications

The new Director is characterized by the following skills:

  • is a visible and highly communicative leader with a proven ability to act as an external ambassador and develop, manage and sustain relationships with key strategic partners, including industry, government, educational and knowledge institutes, and other organisations;
  • has the ability to see the “bigger picture” and plan for the future of NL Space Campus, while dealing with the detailed, complex challenges and decisions that arise day-to-day;
  • combines relevant business acumen, skills and competencies with a good understanding of the high-tech and/or space landscape and the dynamics that drive the success of network-driven campus organisation;
  • is entrepreneurial, energetic, flexible, and is equipped with political and cultural sensitivity and can work in an environment where balancing opposing views is part of the dynamic.

Expected competencies:

  • has academic thinking and working level;
  • has significant experience in strategic, operational, commercial, and financial management, particularly in subsidized organisations and in an international context;
  • experience with high-tech/innovative ecosystems;
  •  no conflict of interest.


Terms and Conditions

The Director will be initially offered a one-year contract with the opportunity to become a permanent contract. Gross yearly salary extends to a maximum of €100.106 on the basis of full-time work. The ideal starting date for this role is October 2022.


Appointment Process and How to Apply

An executive search exercise is being undertaken by Perrett Laver to assist the Appointment Advisory Committee in the discharge of its duties, both to assist in the assessment of candidates against the requirements of the role and to identify the widest possible field of candidates. Applications should consist of a covering letter addressing suitability against the person specification and a full curriculum vitae.

Perrett Laver may be contacted for informal enquiries and questions via +31 (0) 2 02 40 43 78 or by emailing Applications can be uploaded at, quoting reference 5799. The closing date for applications is 9 am CEST on Thursday 2nd June 2022.

Applications will be considered by the selection committee at the beginning of June and shortlisted candidates will be invited for interviews with the appointment committee mid to end June. A certificate of conduct (Verklaring Omtrent Gedrag – VOG) must be available for submission.

The desired start date is September 2022 or the latest October 2022 so that a warm transfer by the current director can be ensured.

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