Diversity and inclusion at Nikhef

Nikhef’s working environment is of a great diversity, representing more than 40 nationalities, people of several religions and cultures as well as genders and gender identities. Every day, all members of the Nikhef community contribute to the exciting scientific challenges to which we are committed. Nikhef’s success largely depends on being a safe and attractive working place for all these talented people, regardless background, beliefs (gender)identity or physical ability.


The commitment to being a diverse and inclusive institute leads to a broad agenda. Over the past years, Nikhef focussed specifically on improving its Gender balance. A Gender Equality Plan has been implemented, which over time resulted in a shift in the male/female balance among scientific staff members from 12% female in 2017 to 27% in 2022. This development can be seen and felt in more and more parts of the organization and is not yet finished.


The focus of Nikhef’s ambitions regarding diversity and inclusion is currently shifting from the gender-balance agenda to a broader set of actions. Attracting, retaining and inspiring colleagues of all cultures, backgrounds, (gender)identities and abilities is the driving force. In order to create progress, a Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce has been installed. The Taskforce is asked to contribute to the Nikhef Diversity and Inclusion plan, which is being drafted.


Nikhef actively invests in creating a psychologically safe environment. In the Nikhef ecosystem we jointly agree on the goals of our work, and determine the focus of our activities from there. We keep each other on task, providing constructive and respectful feedback on each other’s behavior. We embrace mistakes as learning opportunities, and encourage the lessons learned to be shared and applied. This modus operandi is supported with training, supervision and coaching based on the needs of employees and teams.

A safe work environment also involves people knowing what they can do if problems arise. Nikhef encourages anyone who experiences an unpleasant or unsafe interaction to take the following steps:

– Discuss the issue with the colleague involved;

– If this does not resolve the situation, address your supervisor or manager;

– If this does not resolve the situation, you may consider asking the HR department for help.

– If this is undesirable or does not provide a solution, Nikhef has two confidential counselors.

Nikhef is committed to the NWO-I Code of Conduct and the Netherlands Code of Conduct for Research Integrity. Being a NWO-I institute, Nikhef is also member of Workplace Pride. Furthermore, the NOW Board issued a stamen jointly with the NOW-I institute directors on Inclusive Science.