During this time, major economic, political and financial developments took place all over the world. Despite these many changes, NLR remained true to itself: a bastion of multidisciplinary and practically applicable expertise, creating customised products for Netherlands industry; a knowledge centre that enthusiastically accesses new markets for existing capabilities; an institute with a new Strategy Plan that, under the watchful eye of the Supervisory Board, sets a clear and self-confident course for the coming years; a financially robust organisation, that has also looked critically at its costs and, as a result, has ended the past fiscal year with a positive result.
One important aspect of cost control involved adjustment of the pension scheme. The Supervisory Board monitored this process and is satisfied that, within a relatively short space of time, a new and solid scheme has been introduced, meeting the board's parameters and reflecting the interests of all staff. The constructive attitude of the Works Council was crucial in this regard, reflecting the realistic expectations of staff, who are aware that the old scheme was no longer financially feasible and therefore had to be replaced by a more modern scheme that was more sustainable over time and more in line with the market.
NLR is a modern knowledge centre that is firmly rooted in contemporary society. Until recently, this was not entirely obvious from the exterior of our office in Amsterdam. In late 2013, the Supervisory Board approved the funding of renovations, which were enthusiastically initiated in 2014. The project is running to schedule and we will shortly put out to tender the renovation of our Marknesse-Flevoland establishment. The Netherlands government is only supplying part of the funding, which means NLR has to finance the renovation partly itself and will have to seek additional funding elsewhere. The Supervisory Board will advise and assist NLR in this.
In the coming years, government will substantially reduce its support for NLR, cutting back funding further. At the same time, government is striving to better direct its policy on applied research, the role played by key centres of technological expertise, the manner in which research programmes are expected to interface with each other, and the extent to which cooperation is expected. The Ministry of Economic Affairs has invited the chairpersons of various supervisory boards to give their vision on this policy. The NLR Supervisory Board is of the opinion that cooperation is important, on condition that it has clear objectives and increases the efficacy of applied research.
The influence of government is also discernible elsewhere. NLR has to respond to the question as to whether it complies with criteria set in a new act regulating the remuneration of executive officers in the public and semi-public sectors, which implies that it must publish the salaries of its leading executives. In consultation with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Supervisory Board expects to comply with this demand this year.
The withdrawal of government also implies that NLR will have to take an even more active approach in accessing new markets and seeking new clients together with Netherlands industry and government. The NLR Strategy Plan directs this effort. One of the plan's objectives is 'internationalisation'. The Dutch and European markets are too small and the Netherlands aviation sector must shift its focus to aircraft development programmes outside Europe. The Supervisory Board will keep a close eye on this process. We have every faith that the plan has broad support within the institute and will contribute to consolidating our status as an organisation that will continue to make an indispensable contribution to a flourishing and internationally competitive Netherlands aerospace sector.
Chairman, Supervisory Board
Drs. A. Kraaijeveld (Chairman)
Ir. C.A.M. de Koning (Vice Chairman)
Gen-Maj bd Ir. A.C.J. Besselink
Mr. drs. C.W.M. Dessens
Drs. ir. O.C.J. den Boer RC
Drs. P.M.L. Ykema- Weinen