The Academy is responsible for fifteen research institutes that together employ about 1,300 staff. The institutes are active in the humanities, the social sciences and the life sciences; one institute works at the interface of science and government policy.
The institutes investigate a wide variety of subjects, ranging from the history of the Second World War to stem cells, from the phenomenon of sleep to the Frisian language, and from the Great Tit population to medieval manuscripts. The Academy institutes play a leading role in Dutch research. They serve as national centres of expertise, manage unique infrastructures, and provide access to world-famous collections.
As the forum, conscience, and voice of the arts and sciences in the Netherlands, the Academy promotes quality in science and scholarship and strives to ensure that Dutch scholars and scientists contribute to cultural, social and economic progress. As a research organisation, the Academy is responsible for a group of outstanding national research institutes. It promotes innovation and knowledge valorisation within these institutes and encourages them to cooperate with one another and with university research groups.
The Academy’s duties are defined by law. Briefly, they are: to serve as a learned society representing the full spectrum of scientific and scholarly disciplines; to act as a management body for national research institutes; to advise the Dutch Government on matters related to scientific pursuit.
In accordance with these statutory duties, the Academy:
- serves as a forum for debate and a platform for knowledge-sharing;
- manages and sets policy for the national research institutes;
- issues advisory reports and foresight studies;
- cooperates with foreign and international organisations on matters related to science and scholarship;
- awards prizes and runs a number of funding programmes, either in its own name or on behalf of a foundation or fund that has been entrusted to it.