The Latest Developments & Updates

Find more news on communication-related issues important for the Dutch LSH sector. Ranging from expansion of the Top Sector LSH and important publications.

Introducing new Top Team member Professor Pancras Hogendoorn

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Health~Holland expands

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Knowledge agendas on health presented to the ministries

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New NWO-strategy 2019-2022

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Knowledge agendas on health presented to Minister Engelshoven and State Secretary Blokhuis

On 22 March, the Minister of Education, Culture & Science (Ingrid van Engelshoven) and the State Secretary for Health, Welfare & Sport (Paul Blokhuis) received three knowledge agendas from NFU chairman Ernst Kuipers. These knowledge agendas are an elaboration of some of the public questions for the Dutch National Research Agenda in the field of health. They describe how innovative research can find solutions and scientific breakthroughs for the big societal challenges of our time: how do we keep society healthy and how can scientific research lead to innovations in healthcare?

Introducing new Top Team member Professor Pancras Hogendoorn

With effect from 1 January 2018, the Top Sector LSH welcomes Pancras Hogendoorn, Professor of Pathology, member of the Leiden University Executive Board, and dean of the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) as a new member of the Top Team Life Sciences & Health. Within the Top Team Pancras Hogendoorn represents academia. So who is Pancras Hogendoorn and what is his vision for the sector?

f.l.t.r. Alain van Gool, Thom Frielink, Darcey Helstone

Health~Holland expands

The executive office of the Top Sector LSH has welcomed two new colleagues in their team. And the Evaluation Committee also has a new member to help them assess new project applications. Read a brief introduction to each of the new Health~Holland colleagues.

Alain van Gool - Evaluation Committee member

Trained as a molecular and cellular biologist, I have had the pleasure to experience different working environments in academia (ErasmusMC, CancerUK, Radboud University), pharmaceutical industry (Organon, Schering-Plough, MSD), applied research institutes (TNO) and university medical centers (Radboudumc). There I have been leading technology-based biomarker laboratories, cross-functional expert teams, therapeutic project teams and public-private collaborations, many of which were focused on the discovery, development and implementation of translational biomarkers in a variety of therapeutic areas. My technical expertise resides most strongly in molecular profiling (various Omics approaches), analytical biomarker development and applications in translational medicine research. Currently, I am professor Personalised Healthcare at the Radboud university medical center and head the Translational Metabolic Laboratory with a strong passion to translate omics-based biomarkers from research to personalised diagnostics. I combine this with a role as strategic advisor of the Executive Board at Radboudumc, coordinator Radboudumc Technology Centers, scientific lead Technologies of DTL (the Dutch Techcenter for Life Sciences), chair Biomarker Platform of EATRIS (the European infrastructure for Translational Medicine) and co-initiator of Health-RI (the Netherlands Personalised Medicine and Health Research Infrastructure), thus contributing to the organisation and coordination of local, national and European technology infrastructures.

I am a strong believer of open innovation networks and public-private partnerships, and thrive to work with specialists to translate basic research to applied science.

Thom Frielink – Innovation Advisor

I graduated in Innovation Sciences, with a specialisation in the Life Sciences, at Utrecht University. After graduating I became a subsidy (non-dilutive funding) consultant at Catalyze, which I did for two years. My motivation for choosing a job in the life sciences is to try to make a difference in patients' lives. In addition, I enjoy the challenge of understanding the complexities of healthcare and life science product development and implementation. My ambition within my current role is to enable organisations to help start-ups in understanding this field and to reduce the time needed for innovations to be effectively implemented.

Darcey Helstone – Programme Assistant

I have a bachelor's degree in Chemistry with a specialisation in separation methods and drug development, and a research master's degree in management and policy in the health and life sciences. I joined the LSH sector because I was attracted to its broad scope and the complexity of its challenges. During my time at Health~Holland my ambition is to contribute to an increase in support for mental health and healthcare projects and to improve awareness in the scientific community and society as a whole.

Get in contact with Thom ( or Darcey ( or meet them at the Health~Holland office. 

New NWO-strategy 2019-2022

Connecting Science and Society

The transition that NWO has gone through over the past few years is an initial step in this direction. With this strategic plan, NWO is making a second step that will allow it to flexibly and resolutely anticipate developments in science and society.

"In the coming years, NWO will facilitate the scientific and societal impact of Dutch research whilst retaining the focus on fundamental research", says NWO executive president Stan Gielen. "If Dutch research is to retain its leading position then, besides a strong disciplinary basis, more collaboration is vital. Collaboration between disciplines, between sectors and throughout the knowledge chain is a superb way of contributing to surprising new insights."

NWO's plans translate into five ambitions:

Nexus role: connecting agendas, science and society

NWO will ensure increased coordination in Dutch science so that a national research strategy can be developed, including a regularly updated Dutch National Research Agenda. In this, thematic and curiosity-driven research will be kept in balance. NWO will facilitate self-organisation in the scientific field and will also clearly involve societal parties and citizens in the programming and realisation of research. NWO will continue to proactively seek the connection with international, and especially European, science policy. NWO will make an active contribution to Science Diplomacy.

People: perspective for researchers

Good research requires good researchers. NWO will ensure that researchers in the Netherlands can continue to develop in all phases of their career. The renowned Talent Scheme (Rubicon, Veni, Vidi, Vici) will be supplemented with instruments that will enable talented researchers to continue working on existing research with a longer duration, whether alone or with a team. Furthermore, the NWO Open Competition for curiosity-driven research will be given a modular structure.

NWO will expand the 'Money Follows Researcher' scheme and it will establish the Huygens Professorship to attract excellent senior scientists to the Netherlands. NWO will also tackle important bottlenecks such as the Matthew effect and the high application pressure.

Research: collaboration for excellence and innovation

Fundamental research forms the basis for excellence and innovation. Consequently, curiosity-driven and fundamental research will remain an important focus for NWO with programmes for high-risk pioneering research. NWO will place an even greater emphasis than in the past on team science and collaboration across the breadth of science with opportunities for a broad knowledge chain approach in which fundamental, strategic, practice-oriented and applied research will be connected with each other. Non-scientific parties will also have the opportunity to be involved in realising research in these programmes.

The NWO institutes fulfil a national role as centres for collaboration for strategically important subjects. Open Science will remain the norm in all of these initiatives.

Infrastructure: accessible and sustainable scientific infrastructure

Research infrastructure plays an important role in all areas of science. In this regard, not just the 'hard' equipment and ICT facilities are important but also the technical support and a professional environment where brainpower is concentrated and people meet NWO believes it has an important task in funding large-scale research facilities and making these available to Dutch researchers. The NWO institutes continue to play a major role as the host or point of entry to large national and international research infrastructure. Furthermore, NWO wants to draw up a national investment agenda together with universities and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Knowledge sharing: effective use of knowledge through co-design and co-creation

NWO wants to facilitate knowledge sharing by increasing the collaboration with users. In doing so, NWO will further build upon the experience of various NWO units. Applicants will be requested in advance to reflect on the possible societal impact of their research. NWO will extend the programme Industrial Doctorates that is aimed at collaboration between knowledge institutions and companies. Analogous to this, the programme Societal Doctorates will be established for collaboration with public partners. A proof-of-concept grant will be established that will allow researchers to explore the societal potential of research previously funded by NWO.

Source: NWO