Scientific Director / Director General

The Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research (DIFFER) is one of the nine research institutes of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). DIFFER focuses on a multidisciplinary approach to energy research, combining physics, chemistry, engineering, materials science and computational science to enable the energy transition to a carbon neutral society. Our mission in short is ‘Science for Future Energy’. The research is aligned in two themes: Fusion Energy (FE) and Solar Fuels (SF). Within each theme, different groups develop their independent research while collaborating in synergistic programmatic efforts.

Nuclear fusion is the energy source of our sun. We can and want to make this fusion process safe and clean to use on earth as well. The Fusion Energy theme of DIFFER uses its leading and coordinating role (as the single Dutch beneficiary of EUROfusion) to develop and execute a national research program on nuclear fusion. The energy transition requires technology that allows large quantities of clean, sustainable and dispatchable energy to be generated in compact power stations. Fusion energy could satisfy this demand without the emission of greenhouse gases.

The Solar Fuels research theme, investigates the fundamental science that gover the use of renewable energy to power the chemical conversion of molecular building blocks (H2O, CO2, N2, etc.) into carbon neutral chemicals and fuels. As the national expertise institute DIFFER counsels the Dutch government and coordinates - from a scientific standpoint - national contributions to the Netherlands Energy Research Alliance (NERA), the Topsectors and the National Science Agenda (NWA).

The Institute is located on the campus of Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). DIFFER has about 150 employees and 100 guest researchers including interns. See also DIFFER’s Strategic Plan:

We are seeking a

Scientific Director / Director General

with an international reputation in the field of energy research. The director is well connected to the international and national energy research community and has a clear vision of the future scientific direction of energy research. The director has proven managerial skills at a research organization and has the natural ability and authority to guide scientific and support staff. The director is a team player and has a proven track record of leading international scientific research collaborations. The director promotes diversity, is a strong communicator and has a keen eye for opportunities to connect science with industry and society.

Responsibilities and tasks: 

The director reports to the NWO Executive Board and assumes leadership over the Institute’s strategy, science and operations. The director represents the Institute nationally and internationally and has a leading role in acquiring and securing external funding. The director is pivotal in successfully connecting science with industry and society. The directors of the institutes and NWO-I office together form a collegial directors’ consultation and ensure the joint realisation of the NWO-I strategy.

Employment conditions: 

DIFFER offers a first class and international research environment with various interdisciplinary but related research topics and projects. The director will be assigned for a term of 5 years with the intention to extend the assignment with a second term, the employment contract will be for an indefinite period of time.

The yearly fulltime salary (incl. holiday allowance of 8% and ‘end of year payment’ of 8.33%) will range from € 102.700,- to € 136.300,- depending on experience (scale 18 in the Collective Labour Agreement for research organizations). In addition NWO offers a flexible set of employee benefits including pension benefits through the pension fund ABP.

Further information: 

The ‘NWO job interview code’ applies to this position. DIFFER strives to achieve a diverse workforce to develop talent and creativity by bringing together different perspectives. As such we encourage applications from women and minorities. Additional information about DIFFER can be obtained from the DIFFER website Further information about the position can be obtained from the members of the advisory appointment committee: Jaap Schouten (chair: j [368] c [368] schouten [28] nwo [368] nl or 06-28832713) or Liz van Dijk (secretary: l [368] vandijk [28] nwo [368] nl or 030-6001248, also for the full job description).

Application procedure: 

Please address your application including a motivation letter and research statement, CV and list of publications to the attention of Liz van Dijk-Schilt LLM by e-mail to solliciteren-nwoi [28] nwo [368] nl before 21 January 2020. Screening (selection assesment, submitting certificate of conduct) may be part of the selection.

Closing date: 
Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Vacacany number: 

Go to the Vacancies page.