Research & development

Netherlands' top oncology scientists work together in new Oncology Institute

A Top Sector LSH initiative: Bringing together the best ideas of the best researchers provides the best solutions for fighting cancer.

Dutch scientific research into cancer is some of the best in the world. However, the results from current research need to be translated into improved diagnosis and treatment for cancer patients. Therefore efforts are being made to realise a new virtual top institute. The Ministry of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and the Top Sector Life Sciences & Health support the ambition to realise this institute. Five top researchers from different research institutes have now written a scientific strategy for this. Over a period of 10 years, a 1000 researchers will work for this institute. A budget of 25 million euros per year is needed to realise this ambition. This amount will be supplemented from the existing infrastructure (researchers and funding) to realise a total amount of 50 million euros per year.

“When we bring together the best scientists in a world-class institute at which the very best groundbreaking research is done, we will be able to deliver treatments faster and more effectively to the patient,” says Michel Rudolphie, director Dutch Cancer Society.

Top institute: excellence combined, impact ensured.
The top institute is a unique, autonomous institute with its own vision, mission, ambition and strategy. Each year more than 100,000 Dutch people develop cancer. More than 60% of them survive the disease five years after diagnosis. The institute intends to extend the boundaries of scientific research into cancer with the ultimate goal of treating cancer better by making more effective treatments and diagnoses possible. The vision is that this top institute can maximise the benefits from scientific research better than has been the case up until now.

How the top institute will work
The institute is built up from teams that will be physically located in existing research institutes. The various research teams will jointly enter the commitment to understand and combat cancer. They will do that by making use of the complete toolbox of technologies and by tackling urgent research questions from several perspectives at once. This will make the institute a unique initiative in the Netherlands.

To tackle cancer in a multidisciplinary manner and to belong to the absolute world top in cancer research, the institute aims to employ a 1000 researchers who will be able to fully focus on their research. This will be possible because this institute will have enough basic funding, for a longer period of time, and access to a satisfactory infrastructure and the best technologies.

A unique aspect of this top institute is the collaboration between researchers and a team of valorisation experts. These professionals are specialised in oncology and can make the necessary link between researchers, entrepreneurs, policymakers and venture capitalists. They will ensure that scientific breakthroughs from research are not only read in journals, such as Nature and Science, but are also translated as quickly as possible into new diagnostic tests and innovative therapies. This will ensure that innovative products, services and treatment methods reach the patient faster.

The five top scientists
The scientific strategy of the new top institute is vitally important. This strategy is currently being developed by the best fundamental oncology researchers in the Netherlands, all of whom belong to the world's top. These so-called founding scientists are: 

  1. René Bernards (NKI/AVL, Amsterdam)
  2. Anton Berns (NKI/AVL, Amsterdam)
  3. Hans Bos (UMC Utrecht)
  4. Hans Clevers (KNAW-Hubrecht Institute, Utrecht)
  5. Jan Hoeijmakers (Erasmus MC, Rotterdam)

Watch the video below to see all the contributing organisations (Dutch).

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