Terms of Reference Permanent Committee

Terms of Reference for the Permanent Committee for Large-Scale Scientific Infrastructure.


The Dutch cabinets ‘Vision for Science’ describes the task of the committee as follows:

'The committee will examine all of the facilities of universities, scientific institutes, applied knowledge institutions (TO2), and government institutions (e.g. KNMI) and will ensure harmonisation to prevent suboptimal investments and to advance optimal utilisation. Parties from the knowledge coalition will be involved in this. Unlike in the current situation, in which ad hoc committees take decisions about investment in infrastructure, this committee will have a continuous eye for investment opportunities in scientific infrastructure. The resources from direct and indirect government funding will be deployed in a smart and transparent manner, whereby coherency will be sought with the investments in the facilities for applied knowledge institutions. In this regard, we follow the recommendations from the advisory report of the Advisory Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (AWT) entitled Maatwerk in onderzoeksinfrastructuur [Tailor-made solutions in research infrastructure].

We ask universities, institutes and applied knowledge institutions to clearly set out the use of infrastructural resources, and we ask the universities and institutes to respond to the roadmap with the investments made and to report regularly on this. With this approach, the exceptional costs that universities, institutes and applied knowledge institutions incur for maintaining (technical) research infrastructure, …., will become more transparent. This will help the permanent committee to make an integral consideration about investments in infrastructure.

The resources in indirect government funding are for innovation in the scientific infrastructure. These will be allocated by NWO in agreement with the permanent national committee. The Dutch government will further investigate how the resources from the Future Funds can be used to contribute to outstanding research facilities for both applied and fundamental research. We will connect the available resources for infrastructure with the resources from the regions, research institutes, private parties and the institutions for applied research (pooling). By doing this, we will achieve maximum synergy in terms of both investments and the utilisation of infrastructure. The permanent committee will therefore also have to remain in contact with these parties by informing them and keeping up to date on the developments.'


The committee's commission contains the following elements:

  • (Commissioning) the drawing up of a Landscape analysis that details both the availability of and the need for large-scale research facilities. The Landscape analysis contains all of the facilities of universities, scientific institutes, applied knowledge institutions (TO2) and government institutes (e.g. KNMI). For this analysis, the availability of facilities outside of the Netherlands that are available for Dutch researchers must also be identified. The identification of 'white spots' is also part of the analysis.

  • The drawing up of a Dutch roadmap for large-scale scientific research facilities with broadly supported strategic frameworks. The roadmap will focus on scientific research facilities. The roadmap will contain existing facilities as well as the need for new facilities that are vitally important for the development of science in the Netherlands.

    During the drawing up of the Dutch roadmap the committee will, among other things, take the following into consideration:

    1. the importance of a facility for the development of the science disciplines concerned in the light of the expected developments in these science disciplines
    2. the size and international position of the science disciplines concerned in the Netherlands
    3. the importance of a facility for the answering of societal questions and the economic impact, with a view to increasing the valorisation of knowledge
    4. the policy frameworks and the scientific priorities that have been or will be drawn up in the Netherlands and Europe (Dutch National Science Agenda, ESFRI)
    5. the progress in the construction, the added value and the continuity of the facilities on the previous roadmap
    6. the possibilities for the use of facilities abroad
  • Advising about and/or formulating conditions for the organisation of a science discipline in terms of collaboration and the formation of networks, which will make optimal use of a future facility by that discipline possible and with that justify an investment.

  • Advising about issues that are important for enabling the infrastructure to become a success, such as management, business plans, funding modalities, the possibilities for public-private partnership, and accessibility. For this, the committee will follow internationally available best practices wherever possible.

  • Advising about the balance in infrastructure needs of the different science domains: social sciences/humanities, life sciences/medical, and physical sciences/engineering.

  • Exploring possible financers at a regional, national and European level, encouraging the use of different national and European possibilities for funding, and encouraging the use of new ideas to acquire funding.

  • Advising about how a Dutch national ICT research infrastructure can best be realised considering the national roadmap.

  • Advising about the long-term use of the resources for the Dutch roadmap for large-scale scientific research facilities, so that undesirable loss of capital is prevented and room remains for new developments.

  • Advising about the entering into or ending of international commitments by the Netherlands.

  • The committee may also choose to independently signal wishes and gaps in facilities in science disciplines and may inform researchers or institutes about these.


The permanent committee will submit the roadmap to the Governing Board of NWO. The permanent committee will advise the Governing Board of NWO. The Governing Board will not finalise the roadmap until consultation has taken place with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Based on the recommendations from these two ministries, the Governing Board will finalise the frameworks for assessing the specific proposals for facilities of the Dutch roadmap for large-scale scientific research facilities.

This assessment will take place in a committee that NWO will appoint separately. The frameworks established by the Governing Board will guide the activities of the evaluation committee. The evaluation committee will advise the Governing Board of NWO about the distribution of the resources for large-scale research facilities.