Breeding ground prevention of undesirable behaviour in academia

At the request of the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science, the Academy will advise on the breeding ground and prevention of undesirable behaviour in academia.

Last year, the Dutch National Network of Female Professors (LNVH) published a study into misconduct and intimidation that shows that undesirable behaviour is also a regular occurrence in Dutch academia. It takes many forms and affects all groups working in academia, from PhD students to professors. The Academy will build on the findings of that report in its advice.

The advisory report is one of the actions of the National Action Plan on Diversity and Inclusion, launched in September 2020, which aims to create a safe learning and working environment.

Purpose and effect

The purpose of the advisory report is to make specific recommendations based on scientific insights that can make the university a socially safer working environment. It must provide an understanding of the underlying mechanisms that lead to undesirable behaviour and identify specific measures to counteract it.


The Academy will map out how to break away from factors that encourage undesirable behaviour in academia. Undesirable behaviour in this context includes not only behaviour with respect to female researchers, but also with respect to all groups and persons working in academia.

The Academy is being particularly asked to advise on:

  • preventative and other measures that can break away from negative incentives in the breeding ground
  • the adequacy of current reporting structures for dealing with undesirable behaviour
  •  whether good behaviour in the workplace should be seen as part of academic integrity
  •  tools to encourage proper and conscious behaviour in science

Activities and schedule

The advisory committee was set up in November 2020 and will complete its report by December 2021.


The Academy has set up a committee chaired by Naomi Ellemers, Professor of Organisational Psychology at Utrecht University.

During the advisory process, the Committee will maintain close contact with relevant parties such as the National Network of Female Professors.