Letter from the director

Dear reader,

I am pleased to present our annual report for 2019. It has been a busy but successful year for the Netherlands eScience Center. There is much to look back on.

Our first milestone came in February, when an international assessment committee reviewed the quality, impact, relevance and viability of the eScience Center over the period January 2014 to June 2018. I am proud to say the outcome was very positive, with the committee particularly impressed with the technological expertise of the eScience Center and the excellent quality of its research. It also underlined our position as a “national center of excellence” within the Dutch eScience landscape.

Besides confirming the importance and value of our work, the review forms the basis for a new 5-year collaborative agreement with SURF and NWO, which we are currently negotiating and will, in all likelihood, sign in 2020. Alongside this new agreement, we also secured additional structural funding as part of the government’s increased investment in digital research infrastructure. This is great news and will play a major role in the sustainable growth and reach of our organization over the coming years.

Internally, 2019 was a year of change for the eScience Center. We said farewell to our former director Wilco Hazeleger and welcomed Joris van Eijnatten as our new head. Moreover, the number of employees grew further to 70 as a result of our projects and the increasing range of activities we are either coordinating or taking part in.

As for our projects and activities, we achieved several notable achievements. First, we kicked off public-private projects in the area of big data and health, and in earth observation. Calls were also launched for collaborative projects for the "Big Sciences" (eTEC-BIG) and for Energy System Integration (ESI-far). We also acquired several externally funded projects in EU and NWO calls. Moreover, we published 78 peer-reviewed papers, 18 conference papers and completed 11 projects, including TICCLAT and EViDENce. In addition, our activities in the field of software development, reuse and dissemination continued to accelerate, as well as our efforts to play a visible role in promoting the transition to open science. Highlights include the launch of a new FAIR Software website, greater visibility and traction of the Research Software Directory, the inaugural NL-RSE Conference, another successful edition of the National eScience Symposium, numerous workshops and trainings, and participation in leading national and international conferences in various domains.

Looking ahead, 2020 promises to be an important year for the eScience Center. The new collaborative agreement and additional funding will enable us to continue to enable new research outcomes through the use of innovative eScience tools and methodologies. As part of our new 5-year strategy, we will also focus on pushing the methodological and technological innovations needed to put key aspects of open science, namely transparency, reuse and reproducibility, into practice. Finally, we will embrace and follow the recommendations presented in the report of the international assessment committee, while revamping the organization itself to increase both the well-being of current eScience Center employees and our attractiveness to potential new colleagues. Our aims are big.

I hope you enjoy this report.

Prof. Rob van Nieuwpoort,

Acting director