Voorzitter College van Bestuur
In: Uncategorized15 Nov 2011
Breaking news this week is KNAW President Robbert Dijkgraaf’s imminent departure to Princeton, to head up the prestigious Institute for Advanced Study. With such a density of Nobel laureates, who can blame this scientific top talent to leave the Netherlands in search of pastures green? Immediately, the debate flares up about brain drains and the competitive position of the Dutch knowledge economy. Interestingly, a more global talent market is emerging for researchers than, say, 20 years ago. Top researchers have often been mobile and have always been invited to highly sought-after international positions. But increasingly, we are seeing younger academic staff (PhD’s and postdocs) leaving for opportunities overseas. When talent leaves for the right reasons, I accept it as a fact of life. We can only wish them well and hope that one day, they will be inclined to return to their home country to grace us with their presence. But when young high potentials leave because we cannot offer challenging careers, we do have an issue. This is one of the reasons why, in various regions, initiatives emerge to strengthen the knowledge infrastructure of our country. Last night I had the pleasure to attend a Metropool Region dinner-debate, hosted by The Hague’s mayor Jozias van Aartsen. Together with my colleagues from Leiden and Delft we debated what needs to be done to attract and retain more talent to our region. It will not come as a surprise that our alliance was seen as a step in the right direction, deserving widespread political support.
Pauline van der Meer Mohr is president of the Executive Board and is responsible for general administrative matters, such as the relationship with the Board of Trustees and the University Council. She focuses on the strategic policy, international affairs and external contacts, including the Rotterdam region, industry and other knowledge institutions.