Director Nikhef (m/f/x)

Director Nikhef (m/f/x)

Published Deadline Location
13 Mar 11 Apr Amsterdam

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Job description

The position

The Nikhef director has the overall responsibility for the institute Nikhef and the partnership. The director operates on a daily basis with a leadership team that includes a scientific strategy manager, an institute manager and a head of human resources. The director reports directly to both the NWO-I Board and Nikhef Board. The Program leaders of the scientific groups of Nikhef, as well as the managers of the technical departments, directly report to the director.

Sailing on a strong scientific compass and building on the expertise of colleagues, the Nikhef director leads the development of the scientific mission and strategic objectives of the Institute. The director is responsible for shaping and leading the collaboration of parties involved in the partnership and gives direction to the joint agenda, resulting in a coherent, impactful and focused scientific research portfolio of the institute. At the same time, the director maintains relations with the international scientific collaborations in which Nikhef participates. These relations include organizations such as CERN and EGO and advisory bodies such as rECFA and ApPEC. Furthermore, the director is ultimately responsible for the operational management of the institute with its (approximately) 220 physicists, 80 engineers and technicians and 40 support staff. Additionally, the director is member of the team of fellow NWO-institute directors, with the goal of maintaining a fruitful connection between institutes and developing a common agenda for NWO-I.

Nikhef is a complex organization in which everything revolves around connection and cooperation between people. The director plays a defining role in this forcefield. The suitable candidate actively embraces and promotes a respectful, safe and inclusive work culture and sets an example in this regard.

Main task / Chief objective

The Director is integrally responsible for the Institute and the Partnership. The Director develops the scientific mission and strategic objectives of the Institute and Partnership, advises the Board about the mission and the strategy, represents the Institute externally. The direction team consists besides the director of the institute manager (responsible for operations), head of personnel and the scientific strategy manager. The Program leaders of the scientific groups of Nikhef, as well as the managers of the technical departments, are direct reports to the director. The Director is member of the Collegial Team of Directors of the NWO-I foundation.

Main components of the job:

General tasks

  1. Is integrally responsible for the Institute and the Partnership.
  2. Advises the Board about the scientific mission and strategy.
  3. Represents the Institute and Partnership both at home and abroad, and effectively promotes the interests of the Partnership and Dutch science in the area Subatomic Physics.

Scientific tasks 

  1. Develops the scientific mission and strategic objectives of the Partnership.
  2. Consolidates the national research agenda in the field of Subatomic Physics.
  3. Translates the scientific mission and strategy into relevant research lines and programmes with scientific and societal impact.
  4. Has final responsibility for the research programmes that are carried out at the Partnership, and stimulates and promotes the scientific climate of the Institute.
  5. Ensures participation in national and international collaborations in the field of Subatomic Physics research, and initiates and stimulates collaboration between the scientific community, technological institutes, and industry.
  6. Stimulates, initiates and assesses research proposals by Institute employees, and prioritizes and generates own research themes where applicable also.
  7. Grants approval for the scientific and technical publications of the Institute.
  8. Ensures and stimulates knowledge development and knowledge utilization. 

Management of the Institute

  1. Manages the organization.
  2. Raises external funds to finance the Institute’s scientific research.
  3. Ensures the effective and efficient operational management of the Institute.
  4. Ensures an inspiring and stimulating (scientific) work environment.
  5. Is responsible for the Institute’s staff and talent policies, as well as for the (scientific) education and guidance of trainee research assistants within the Institute.
  6. Pursues an active and modern diversity and inclusion policy.
  7. Maintains the relationship with the Scientific Advisory Council and actively requests advice from the Council.
  8. Acts as administrator towards the works council of the Institute.
  9. Provides substance to the policy of the Institutes Organization as a whole by participating in the Collegial Team of Directors.




Job requirements

  1. Is an internationally recognized scientist in the field of Subatomic Physics and has an exceptional track record.
  2. Has knowledge of national and international developments in the field of scientific Subatomic Physics. 
  3. Identifies important developments in good time and is capable of translating this knowledge into a (national) vision for the Institute.
  4. Has an overview of Dutch and international scientific practice systems, and is familiar with the workings of political consultation structures.
  5. Has experience with the integral leadership of a scientific/science-oriented organization.
  6. Has experience and a proven track record within scientific collaborations.
  7. Is groundbreaking, committed, reliable and connecting.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 5 years, with the possibility of extension.

Procedure and Offer

NWO-I strives for a diverse workforce: we want to develop talent and creativity by bringing together people from different backgrounds and cultures. We recruit and select based on competences and talents. Therefore, we encourage anyone who identifies with the vacancy, regardless of age, gender, origin, orientation or disability, to apply. Candidates considered for this position will be invited for a series of interviews with a selection committee. After these interviews, the selected candidate will be proposed to the NWO Board and the Nikhef Board. Advice on the appointment will also be sought from the Nikhef Works Council. Once the approval of these bodies has been obtained, the appointment will be effectuated.

The selected candidate will receive a five-year appointment at NWO-I. This appointment may be renewed once for an additional five years. The remuneration and secondary benefits are in accordance with the weight and responsibility associated with this position.



Nikhef is the Dutch National Institute for Subatomic Physics. The institute performs research into the elementary building blocks of our Universe, their mutual forces and the structure of space and time. Nikhef is a partnership between the Institutes Organization of the Dutch national funding agency (NWO-I) and six universities: Maastricht University, Radboud University, University of Amsterdam, University of Groningen, Utrecht University, and VU Amsterdam.

External contacts

Nikhef collaborates in many different ways, both nationally and internationally: Nikhef coordinates the Dutch activities in the area of subatomic physics, for which purpose it has created the Nikhef partnership. Internationally, Nikhef is a partner in a number of large-scale experiments in the area of particle and astroparticle physics. Besides pure science, Nikhef has a range of ways to work with Dutch industry and start-ups. The mission of Nikhef underlines the importance of knowledge and technology transfer of the innovative technologies that have been developed, to other parties such as industry, civil society and the general public. This results in Nikhef having a number of partners in the area of innovation in instrumentation, technology and computing.

The Nikhef partnership is strongly involved in the ALICE, ATLAS and LHCb experiments at CERN, the KM3NeT neutrino telescope in the Mediterranean, the Virgo gravitational waves interferometer in Pisa, the Xenon-nT dark matter experiment in Gran Sasso, the Pierre Auger cosmic ray observatory in Argentina, and the eEDM research programme in Groningen. There are also scientific groups on Theory, Physics Data Processing and Detector R&D. Anticipating the future, Nikhef is involved in the possible realization of the Einstein Telescope research facility in the border region of the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Nikhef has excellently equipped technical departments in mechanics, electronics and computing.

Internal contacts

Director NWO-I, Executive Board of NWO, Nikhef Board, Scientific Advisory Council, Management Team, NWO-I Directors, Institute manager, scientific and support staff and works council.


  • Research, development, innovation; Management; Policy and staff
  • Engineering; Natural sciences
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €8123—€11850 per month
  • Doctorate
  • AT NIKHEF 20240313


Science Park 105, 1098 XG, Amsterdam

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