SEP committee refers to ‘the magic of AMOLF’
Every six years the NWO institutes are evaluated by a panel of independent experts according to the so-called Standard Evaluation Protocol (SEP). An international committee chaired by Søren Keiding (Aarhus University, Denmark) came to Amsterdam in October and gave AMOLF the highest score of ‘excellent/world leading’ for all three assessment criteria (scientific quality, societal relevance and viability).
AMOLF director Huib Bakker: “The visit was very inspiring and we are proud of getting the highest score for all three criteria. The committee was especially interested in our research model and described AMOLF as “a jewel for fundamental research in the Netherlands.”
The committee complimented AMOLF in particular for the creation of a unique culture of intense collaboration, which in their view underlies the success of AMOLF: “The structure and size are key to the outstanding research, training, and impact of AMOLF…. Cooperation and interaction between all members of the staff is a key feature of the institute. This might be called the ‘magic of AMOLF’.”
Bakker: “The committee emphasizes that AMOLF plays an important role in the Netherlands as initiator of new fields of research. It praises us for being able to rapidly and efficiently start new research themes in the field of functional, complex matter. Another important accomplishment they mention is AMOLF’s success in attracting internationally renowned researchers. These values define the unique added value of the institute within the Dutch scientific landscape.”
The committee also gave some recommendations. The most important one is to cherish and further strenghten the strong connections between the research themes, as at the interface between existing themes new ones are likely to arise. Also, the committee advocates keeping the flat and flexible organizational structure with relatively small research groups. This is crucial for the collaborative spirit both internally and externally and consequently for AMOLF’s role as a breeding ground for new science. The committee also advises AMOLF to continue its efforts to collaborate with smaller companies and to investigate opportunities for start-ups. Finally, the committee encourages AMOLF to maintain the high priority on its diversity policy.
Read the NWO news release: NWO institutes praised for quality, innovation and national role