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Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)
Mechanism of Operation

NIDI''s strategy serves as the basis for the achievement of its mission and the realisation of its goals. The following premises underlie its strategy:

Its research focuses on socially inspired research questions. The desire to solve social issues is an important source of inspiration when selecting research topics.
NIDI must continue to convince government and society at large of the importance of demographic research for making informed choices about social trends. This requires special attention to the transfer of knowledge and information on population issues.
NIDI''s research has an interdisciplinary approach, which is firmly rooted in demography as its core discipline. Demographic behaviour is situated in a context made up of various levels, or layers: the individual life course, the historic context and the changing social environment. Life course, generation and social interdependence are the core concepts.
NIDI is the demographic centre of excellence in the Netherlands and is set to further develop into a leading centre of excellence in Europe with a solid grounding in the Netherlands.
A financially sound institute with a well-balanced workforce is a prerequisite for the successful implementation of its mission.
The strategy is structured around a coherent set of theoretical (explanations of demographic behaviour), analytical (methods and models) and empirical (primary and secondary sources) frameworks. The theoretical framework of NIDI''s strategy focuses on demographic behaviour in the context of the life course, with a strong emphasis on the social and historical context (generation) and the dynamics of social interdependence. The analytical framework of NIDI''s strategy focuses on the study of demographic processes during the course of people''s lives from a cohort perspective. The empirical framework supports the strategy with a mix of cross-sectional and longitudinal data, where existing data are used to their full potential and new, preferably longitudinal data are collected.

A central element of the strategy is its focus on a limited number of research priorities in terms of subject matter and programming, in particular life course, generation and social interdependence. The Institute will seek to raise its profile on the strength of its research thrusts, also in the international arena.

Financially sound business operations and a well-balanced workforce are a prerequisite for the successful implementation of the Institute''s mission and the realisation of its goals.

Today''s market for scientific research is unfavourable for NIDI. At a time when long-term programme funding by Dutch government ministries is being cut back, financial support comes primarily from project financing, which entails greater uncertainty and is more vulnerable to market forces. The difficult financial situation may be attributed primarily to the fact that it is virtually impossible to break even for many projects carried out on behalf of external clients. This is not only the result of the influence of market forces, but may also be explained by the fact that national and international clients increasingly expect research institutes to contribute to the project costs based on the ''matching'' principle. More and more projects today are based on partnership agreements. Lump sum financing is putting increasing pressure on NIDI''s equity position. NIDI''s acquisition strategy will, in accordance with the premises underlying its strategy, give priority to longer term contracts in an effort to avoid fragmentation and to encourage a stronger focus on its thrusts for research. The Institute''s strategy is also designed to bring about a greater diversification of sources of income with a view to spreading risks.

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