SEP Committee report

Published on May 30, 2024

Every six years the NWO institutes are evaluated by an external international committee according to the so-called Strategy Evaluation Protocol (SEP). In December 2023, an international committee chaired by Professor Hans Hilgenkamp (University of Twente) visited AMOLF. The final evaluation report has recently been shared with NWO and AMOLF. The committee is very impressed by the excellent research at AMOLF and the collaborative and inclusive work environment.

The committee was especially pleased with the added value of the three new research themes. In 2021, AMOLF rearranged its research organization, structuring the scientific groups in three highly interdisciplinary research themes. The committee praises AMOLF with this approach: “to the knowledge of the committee there is nowhere else in the world where researchers from nanophotonics, mechanical metamaterials and living systems are talking in such a deep way about the fundamental ideas that connect their very different systems, and the panel expects that this will lead to very interesting fundamental discoveries.”
The committee is also enthusiastic about the role that AMOLF plays in the national and international scientific field: “AMOLF shows strong commitment to fulfil its national role as an initiator and incubator of research directions that are new to the Netherlands, that usually develop into larger national research programs.” The committee also mentions the large amount of international collaborations leading to many joint publications and topical research networks.

The committee also makes recommendations to further strengthen the institute: “AMOLF must continuously invest in a diverse, collaborative, and supportive research environment. This includes, among other things, optimal support systems for its PhD students, reducing workload for (technical) support staff, and creating optimal career paths for tenure track group leaders.”. AMOLF is grateful for these recommendations, and will follow these closely in the coming years.
AMOLF director Huib Bakker is pleased with the report and the recommendations. “AMOLF excels in fundamental science in the strategic themes we identified, and in being a highly collaborative and inclusive work place. Moreover, the committee applauds the strong national role we take in starting new research directions and in organizing large research initiatives. I am very proud of all the people at AMOLF who together make our institute to such a success.”