Science - September 1, 2005

Minimal overhead reduction at institutes

The cuts planned in the Focus 2006 plan will lead to a reduction in overheads at the DLO research institutes from 20.9 to 19.5 percent, according to calculations from the Corporate Finance department.

If the plans go ahead, there will be a considerable reduction in the number of administrative jobs, but because the research departments will also shrink, the percentage of the budget spent on overhead costs will hardly change. In contrast, the overheads percentage at the university is expected to decline considerably, from the present 30.2 to 24.7 by 2007. The money that this frees up will make possible extra investments in education and research. The Executive Board had hoped to be able to lower tariffs at the institutes to acquire more research contracts from outside clients.

According to spokesman Simon Vink, the Executive Board has mixed feelings about the expected results of the planned reductions. ‘The Executive Board is pleased that we are likely to achieve our objective of a 25 percent reduction. That has not always been the case in the past. On the other hand, we had hoped that the research institutes would be able to reduce their tariffs. That objective will only partially be accomplished.’ The Executive Board therefore intends to keep a critical eye on overhead costs at the research institutes in the coming years, but is not planning any drastic new reorganisations in the short term.

The employees’ council is not satisfied with the results, according to OR chairman Gerrit Bruin. ‘We had hoped for more overhead cuts.’ The employees’ council is considering submitting a formal reaction. ‘We will probably request extra guarantees that the board will remain extra vigilant when it comes to overhead costs in the next few years.’ / KV

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