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A cup of coffee with Marc Bonten

Almost four months have passed since the launch of the NCOH in The Hague. From the outside it may have looked as if all “remained quiet at the NCOH front”. Yet, I dare say that inside NCOH activities have exploded. On behalf of the Scientific Board, let me share with you the latest exciting developments.

The academic partners are currently finalizing the Consortium Agreement, and I am optimistic that NCOH-funded research activities can start on 1 January 2017. This implies that a call for funding, for each research theme, will open soon. So, keep posted.

NCOH has reached many people, in the Netherlands and outside our country. We have received lots of invitations for meetings and to explore possibilities for collaboration. I am very pleased that the RIVM will also join NCOH as partner. Moreover, Leiden University and Leiden University Medical Center have expressed their interest in joining our consortium. Discussions regarding this collaboration are currently taking place.

Furthermore, the Ministries of Economic Affairs and Health, Welfare, and Sport will organize a round table called Public-Private Partnerships for One Health on 16 June 2016. The aim of the meeting is to explore opportunities for new public-private partnerships to drive solutions for human and animal health and a healthy environment. The (Top Sector) policy of the Dutch government with respect to supporting public-private collaborations is to follow the interest and willingness from companies to participate in such collaborations. Stakeholders from industry, academia and network organizations, such as the NCOH, have been invited to join the round table discussion. We will certainly accept the invitation and seize this opportunity to showcase our activities.

As far as the NCOH strategic research themes are concerned, within the theme Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance I have witnessed an unprecedented openness and collaborative spirit in the development of research applications for the ZonMW call Antimicrobial Resistance. Also, collaborative activities within the strategic research themes Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance and Emerging Infectious Diseases have led to two competitive applications for the NWO Gravitation Program. Finally, the NCOH will be the hosting institute for the National Antibiotic Development Platform (NDAP) in which we will closely collaborate with investigators from Leiden and Groningen. We intend to initiate an ambitious research program for new antibiotics and alternatives to antibiotics.

So, I hope you agree that the first four months of the NCOH did not pass quietly. Looking forward to what’s coming.