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National Dutch Biology Council

22 June 2022
Prof. Jacintha Ellers (A-LIFE) is the VU-representative in the new Dutch Biology Council. The eight Dutch universities with a broad biology educational programme and the biology-focused national research institutes have organised themselves in this Council with the aim to promote the interests of biology research and education in an organised manner. The Biology Council strives to be the voice for biology towards the government, other scientific disciplines and external parties.

A well organised biology discipline contributes to a strong research field and sound academic education. To people and institutions outside its own field, a single voice is important to powerfully communicate the interests of biology. For this reason, in 2018 NWO made a start with a national organisation of the life sciences sector within the Netherlands by setting up a Table of Life Sciences and its associated Research Communities. In 2019, this was followed by the start of an annual life sciences conference, NWO LIFE. Subsequently, as a result of the STEM Sector portrait (Sectorbeeld Bèta&Techniek), preparatory work was started for a Sector portrait of Biology. 

A Task force Biology Sector Portrait was set up which, together with three other disciplines, produced in the autumn of 2020 a Sector portrait for the Earth and Environmental Sciences, Astronomy, Biology and Pharmacy, entitled "Voor een sterker fundament” (only available in Dutch). The work of this temporary Task force and the results it delivered, prompted consideration of setting up a national, disciplinary council for biology, following the example of the physics, chemistry, mathematics and ICT disciplines. Because the Task force was already functioning well, it was decided, in consultation with the deans involved, to ask the same group of people to become members of this Dutch Biology Council. The members of the Council were given a management mandate from their home organisations.

This Dutch Biology Council has set itself the goal of standing up for the interests of biology in the Netherlands in the areas of scientific research and academic education. The Council wants to be the point of contact for biology towards the government, other scientific disciplines and external parties, so that the entire field can speak with one voice. The Council has an advisory and signalling function and defends the interests of biology in the Netherlands. Internal interaction and coherence within biology in the Netherlands are important and therefore the activities of the Dutch Biology Council are based on broad support from within the field of biology in the Netherlands.

For more information: Contact person: Liesbeth Noor, secretary of the Council.