Last year we eagerly finalised the discussions on the continuation of NCOH after its first funding period, and the Strategic Research Agenda was formulated for 2022-2026. In addition to the four Strategic Research Themes, this period we will also be focussing on a few more overarching topics, such as pandemic preparedness.
In support of our research activities and research program we will jointly react to new funding opportunities. Last half a year, the Executive Board was preparing a new application for the National Growth Fund, aimed at increasing the national preparedness for infectious disease outbreaks. Beginning of 2023, efforts were combined with Pandemic & Disaster Preparedness Centre (PDPC) and a joint application was submitted. This spring the NCOH also reacted to an ZonMW invitational call on pandemic preparedness, funding for short one-year projects that will strengthen our consortium and further cultivate structural collaboration between different disciplines to accelerate research into pandemic preparedness. We are currently awaiting the reviews and outcomes of both calls.
Last but not least, we would like to thank prof. Dick Heederik (University Utrecht, IRAS) for his commitment as the Chair of the NCOH Executive Board during the last five years. He was very much involved in the first NCOH funding period, guided us through discussions on the new term of NCOH, and was a key player in the external spokesperson activities. We would also hereby like to take the opportunity to welcome the new Chair of the Executive Board, prof. Annemarie Rebel (WUR). We are very pleased she has accepted the position of the chair and look forward working with her.