New Dutch national action plan for diversity and inclusion

17 September 2020

The Netherlands’ Education and Science Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven has unveiled a national action plan that is meant to create an inclusive, diverse and safe learning and working environment in Dutch higher education and research. The plan calls on the higher education and research sector to work with the government to take the next step towards full diversity and inclusion.

New target numbers will be agreed this year for the number of female university professors by 2025. The Academy will issue an advisory report on preventing inappropriate behaviour and harassment in education and research. The Dutch Research Council (NWO) will make €12.5 million available from 2021 onwards for an incentive programme supporting Dutch researchers with a non-Western migration background and refugees. 

Education and Science Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven:

‘In an inclusive organisation, everyone has the chance to participate fully and on an equal footing in decision-making and how the organisation is run. I consider it enormously important to create a safe learning and working environment in which everyone feels at home and is able to flourish. The purpose of the national action plan is to encourage this. It is also becoming increasingly clear that diversity is a prerequisite for quality.’

Action plan beyond academia

Minister Van Engelshoven announced her commitment to presenting an action plan for diversity in higher education and research at the 2019 European Gender Summit in Amsterdam. In the next phase, the plan will be extended to include vocational education and training (MBO) and higher professional education (HBO).

The five goals for 2025 are as follows:

  • Embed diversity and inclusion more effectively in existing instruments, for example in assessments of research proposals and accreditation.
  • Monitor diversity in higher education and research better and more widely, including perceived social safety and inclusion. 
  • Establish an award system to promote diversity and inclusion in policy and funding.
  • Encourage cooperation by consolidating and supporting institutional diversity plans.
  • Establish a national centre of excellence on diversity and inclusion to develop, consolidate and share knowledge and expertise.

Download the English version of the action plan.

Academy endorses action plan

Academy President Ineke Sluiter: ‘We want this to succeed and we are motivated to make it succeed.’


Advisory committee

A national advisory committee chaired by Prof. Vinod Subramaniam, Rector Magnificus of VU Amsterdam, will advise the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Dutch field of higher education and research on how to monitor and attain the goals identified in the plan.

Cooperating partners

The Ministry has drawn up the action plan in close cooperation with the Dutch Research Council, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Association of Universities in the Netherlands, the Dutch Network of Women Professors, the Expertise Centre for Diversity Policy, and the National Network of Diversity Officers. The action plan has also been endorsed by the PhD Network Netherlands (PNN) and PostdocNL.