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New National Action Plan for Diversity and Inclusion

Today, on 1 September, Ingrid van Engelshoven, Minister of Education, Culture and Science, will present the National Action Plan for Diversity and Inclusion in Education and Research.

In the National Action Plan for more diversity and inclusion in university education and research, Minister of Education, Culture and Science Ingrid Van Engelshoven is announcing ambitions and actions designed to create an inclusive, diverse and safe learning and working environment. With this action plan, Dutch research universities, together with the government, are taking the next step in the field of diversity and inclusion. In all, nine partners will sign the plan on Tuesday.

This year, new targets are being set for the number of female professors at research universities by 2025. The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) provides advice on preventing undesirable behaviour and harassment in education and research. From 2021 onwards, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) will make €12.5 million available for an incentive programme aimed at Dutch researchers with a non-Western background and refugees.

Minister Van Engelshoven:

In an inclusive organisation, everyone can participate fully and on an equal footing in the organisation and in decision-making. I believe that it is crucial to create a safe learning and working environment in which everyone feels at home and can thrive. The national action plan will contribute to this. Moreover, it is becoming increasingly clear that diversity is a prerequisite for quality.

Action plan not only for research universities
At the 2019 European Gender Summit in Amsterdam, Minister Van Engelshoven announced that an action plan would be introduced to promote diversity in research universities. In the next phase, there are also plans to broaden the scope to include the senior secondary vocational education sector (MBO) and universities of applied sciences (HBO).

The five ambitions for 2025:

  • embedding diversity and inclusion more effectively, in the assessment of research proposals and accreditations, for example;
  • better and broader monitoring of diversity in education and research, including social safety and inclusion;
  • establishing an award system to make policy and funding diverse and inclusive;
  • combining and supporting institutional diversity plans, so that more cooperation can take place;
  • establishing a national knowledge centre for diversity and inclusion. This knowledge centre will develop, combine and share knowledge and expertise.

Advisory Committee
A national advisory committee chaired by Professor Vinod Subramaniam, rector of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, will advise the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and education and research institutions on monitoring and achievement of the objectives.

This action plan was drawn up in close collaboration with the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU), the Dutch Network of Women Professors (LNVH), the Expertise Centre for Diversity policy (ECHO) and the National Diversity Officers Consultative Committee (LanDO). The action plan is also endorsed by the PhD candidates Network of the Netherlands (PNN) and PostdocNL.

Read the National Action Plan for Diversity and Inclusion.

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Ruben Puylaert

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