The Academy is responsible for fifteen research institutes. The institutes are active in the humanities, the social sciences and the life sciences; two institutes work at the interface of science and government policy. The Academy institutes are meant to play a leading role in Dutch and international research. They serve as national centres of expertise, manage unique infrastructures, and provide access to their collections, many of which are world-famous.
The institutes are meant to play a leading role in the Netherlands as agenda-setting organisations. They should also serve as international points of contact. In order to become (or remain) an Academy institute, they must strive to achieve excellence in their work. For more information about the Academy’s policy regarding its institutes.
The institutes are evaluated regularly by means of independent, international evaluation committees. The evaluations take place based on the Standard Evaluation Protocol 2015-2021 and the associated Academy manual for research assessments of the Academy Institutes.
Three of the Academy’s institutes conduct animal experiments in their research: the Hubrecht Institute for Developmental Biology and Stem Cell Research, the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) and the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience (NIN-KNAW). The animals concerned are birds, rodents and fish. A small group of primates are kept for behavioural research purposes. Starting in 2011, the Academy will issue a biennial report accounting for its animal experiments. See also: KNAW Opinion on animal experiments.