On 1 September 2020, the Minister of Education, Culture and Science presented the National Action Plan for Greater Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education and Research. This action plan is aimed at achieving a diverse and safe learning and working environment, to which people from differing backgrounds and with diverse perspectives are willing and able to contribute. Diversity in the content of research and education enhances the quality of these activities.
Five goals for 2025
The National Action Plan for Greater Diversity and Inclusion sets five goals for 2025:
- Embed diversity more effectively in existing instruments (e.g. in the assessment of research proposals and accreditations).
- Monitor diversity more widely in education and research, including social safety and inclusion.
- Establish an award system to provide frameworks and set the direction for policy and funding, ensuring that they are diverse and inclusive.
- Bring together and support institutional diversity plans, making more cooperation possible.
- Establish a national centre of excellence on diversity and inclusion. This centre of excellence will develop, bring together and share knowledge and expertise.
The Advisory Committee Diverse and Inclusive Higher Education and Research will further explore these five goals. Based on the results of this exploration, the advisory committee will advise both the government and the education and research sector, so that further steps can be taken.
The field of Dutch education and research is working with the government to take the next step towards diversity and inclusion, in order to assure the future of the sector. This will enable the Netherlands to contribute ongoing and meaningful solutions to the major societal and scientific challenges facing the world today.
Actions in the near future
Three activities have been or will be carried out in the near future.
New targets for women professors
The Dutch Network of Women Professors (LNVH) has asked the universities to set targets for women professors for the period 2020–2025. If all universities achieve these targets, the percentage of women professors will not be below 25% at any university by 2025. Moreover, the target of 31.2% will ensure that, for the first time, one of every three full professors is female (on average). In 2019, this average was 24.2%. More information is provided in the LNVH Monitor.
Advice concerning undesirable behaviour in academia
The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) advises on the breeding ground and prevention of undesirable behaviour in academia. The advice is expected to be published in late 2021 by the Advisory Committee on the breeding ground and prevention of undesirable behaviour, chaired by Naomi Ellemers.
Impulse programme for Dutch researchers with a migration background and refugee researchers
In 2021, the Dutch Research Council (NWO) will allocate €12.5 million to an impulse programme aimed at Dutch researchers with a migration background and refugee researchers.
Cooperation with other organizations
The National Action Plan for Greater Diversity and Inclusion was compiled in close collaboration with:
- The Dutch Research Council (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)
- The National Network of Diversity Officers (LanDO)
The National Action Plan has also been endorsed by the PhD Network Netherlands (PNN) and PostdocNL.