It goes without saying that a scientific knowledge institute such as the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) should strive for improvement and innovation in its work. Innovation means not only anticipating changes in society but also initiating innovation itself.

One of the ways in which we do this is by carrying out innovative projects as part of our so-called Strategic Programme (SPR). This programme includes not just research projects but also innovation projects. These are projects the specific aim of which is to translate knowledge into useful applications, usually using new technologies.

Another way in which we do this is by remaining alert and responding to signals and trends in society. RIVM's Chief Science Officers (CSOs) play an important part in this. As do our employees, who are encouraged to initiate innovations, among other things via competitions and stimulating debates.

In addition, we adopt an active professor policy. Professorships provide easy access to new knowledge areas and the development potential of universities. Moreover, the presence of professors and the implementation of prestigious research boosts RIVM's attractiveness to trainee researchers, post-doctorate students and other students, who in turn promote innovation through the new knowledge and contacts that they bring with them.