El año pasado uno de los más prestigiosos centros europeos de investigación en demografía, el Nederlands Interdisciplinair Demografisch Instituut (NIDI), atravesó momentos difíciles, ante la decisión de su país de eliminar la financiación con la que funcionaba. En aquel momento fuimos muchos quienes dimos muestras públicas de apoyo mediante cartas institucionales, en un esfuerzo por que se encontrasen soluciones que, finalmente, han llegado (ver aquí cómo se ha conseguido dar continuidad al NIDI). Lo que reproduzco a continuación es la carta que Leo van Wisen, su director, nos ha hecho llegar para comunicarlo y para agradecer aquellos apoyos. Saludo y felicito a Leo y a nuestros colegas del NIDI. A veces es verdad que la unión consigue cosas.
Dear colleague and friend of NIDI,
I am very happy to be able to tell you that NIDI will not close down. As you are aware, we went through a difficult period in 2013 following the decision of the Minister of Education and Science to stop the financing of the institute.
Thanks to the support of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) as well as the University of Groningen we are able to continue our research without budget cuts.
I would like to thank you for your strong support last year for the continued existence of NIDI. We received dozens of letters and statements of support from our national and international friends, who expressed serious concern and disbelief towards this unblessed decision of the Minister. These letters have played an important role for the external commission, who, on the request of the Academy, evaluated the institute both from a scientific and societal point of view.
The commission, chaired by Emeritus Professor Anneke van Doorne-Huiskes, concluded in its report that the scientific quality of NIDI is very good to excellent. In the committee’s opinion, the institute holds a central, agenda-setting position in both national and international demographic research. Based on this report, the Academy decided to continue to finance the institute.
At the same time, the possibilities for a structural relationship of NIDI with the University of Groningen were being explored. The conclusion of the investigation by the Board of the University of Groningen was that there are numerous areas of overlap between the activities of NIDI and research programmes of the university, particularly in relation to the themes healthy ageing and sustainable society. As a result, tomorrow (March 19) an agreement will be signed at NIDI between the Academy and the University for a long term affiliation with NIDI. We are therefore able to continue our interdisciplinary research into population issues within the Netherlands and internationally.
The KNAW and the University of Groningen will each contribute about € 1 million a year to the basic funding of NIDI. Naturally NIDI will continue to cover a substantial part of its budget by competing for grants, particularly at European level.
The institute will remain at its current premises in The Hague.
I hope that we will be able to continue and strengthen our mutual linkages in the future. NIDI is more than ever committed and dedicated to make a difference in research of population issues, and to collaborate with partners both nationally and internationally.
Leo van Wissen