The quality of chemistry research in the Netherlands is very high and it makes a major contribution at an international level to chemistry-related knowledge. Internationally speaking, a number of research programmes are even frontrunners in their field. These are the conclusions of a visitation committee from quality assessor QANU, which reviewed 58 research programmes at seven Dutch universities.
Twenty-three of the programmes scored a 5 (the maximum score) for quality, with a quarter of these top programmes being University of Groningen ones.
Five programmes in Groningen attained the maximum score for all four of the aspects being assessed (quality, productivity, relevance and future perspective). The groups concerned were those of Prof. Bert Poolman (Membrane Enzymology), Prof. Dick Janssen (Biotransformation and Biocatalysis), Prof. Ben Feringa (Synthetic Organic Chemistry), Prof. Andreas Herrmann (Polymer Chemistry and Bioengineering) and Prof. Thom Palstra (Solid-State Chemistry).
The committee report, compiled by twenty experts from ten countries led by the Flemish professor Frans De Schryver, was published on 2 May 2011.
Strong support is necessary to retain the very high level of quality, according to the committee. Only then can scientific chemistry research retain its stimulating role in innovation, economic growth and prosperity.
Chemistry research in the Netherlands is multidisciplinary in character, the committee finds. The traditional division into organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry and biochemistry is no longer valid; biology and materials science now also play a major role. Very many research programmes are part of collaborations, stimulated by government or by public-private initiatives.
The seven universities which participated in the assessment were the University of Groningen, Radboud University Nijmegen, Wageningen University, Utrecht University, Leiden University, the University of Amsterdam and VU University Amsterdam.
The report can be found on the QANU website (Quality Assurance Netherlands Universities, www.qanu.nl).
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