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From the Supervisory Board

"The Trimbos Institute stands for creativity and innovation in the way it integrates monitoring, investigation, development and implementation."

Hans de Goeij, chair of the Supervisory Board


People that need help have to get the right kind of assistance – assistance for their mental health and for the prevention of substance use. Naturally the help must be well suited to them, and it must be effective. Not too much and not too little. That is inherent in the Trimbos mission.

The Trimbos Institute fulfils its mission with a great deal of creativity and inventiveness, and by working together with many other stakeholders, including professionals in the mental health sector and the addiction services. That applies to all its efforts in monitoring, investigation, development and implementation. It orients itself to the public interest of Dutch society. That requires the institute to take on an active role, often vis-à-vis international partners, in acquiring and sharing knowledge and in instituting new forms of cooperation.

Looking back at 2016

The strategic plan for 2015–2020, which set out the current vision and itinerary, is in full swing. The Supervisory Board keenly monitors that work. A specific focus is on developing strong specialised bodies of research knowledge under the various themes of the organisation. The five core themes – alcohol, drugs, tobacco, common mental disorders and severe mental illness – and the widening theme of digital gaming and gambling, govern the Trimbos research focus. That necessitates that choices be made in consideration of the available resources. Those choices need to be regularly evaluated and adapted where necessary. The core themes require systematic, long-term commitment on the part of staff, in order to ensure relevant and verifiable results with respect to mental illness prevention, early diagnosis and early intervention, as well as to treatment and aftercare.


International ambitions

The progress in relation to the international ambitions is now fully on the radar of the Supervisory Board. The plans made by the Board of Directors and senior staff are ambitious, and at the same time they are of vital importance for developing new knowledge and e-health resources, for carrying out and evaluating implementation projects, for tapping new sources of funding, and for further capitalising on and exporting our knowledge.

The chair of the Supervisory Board rotated in mid-2016, and at the end of the year we said farewell to our board member Joke van Lonkhuijzen. Hedwig Darley and Christel Deckers were appointed new members after an external recruitment procedure.

The unanticipated change in the Board of Directors involving the operational management portfolio required a good deal of time, effort and decision-making from the Board. Following the appointment of Marie-Christine Allaer, the Board of Directors was back up to full strength by late 2016.

Challenges for 2017 and thereafter

The execution of the strategic plan and the further development of the core themes will remain the primary substantive focus in the coming years. That will also require considerable investment and training efforts on the part of staff members, in particular to enable a smooth culture shift and to be prepared for future developments and innovations. The operational management support is therefore in full transition in order to cope with future demands.

Many of the Trimbos themes are current issues that have strong impacts both on society and on the lives of people and those around them. The Trimbos Institute therefore needs to ensure a visible presence in the public media and in social media, as well as in professional sectors.

Keenly observing and listening to what happens in the world is critically important. Whilst the focus should remain on smart specialisation, simultaneous attention to innovation and future-proofing is also essential. That is necessary in order to keep the knowledge and the applications in various programmes and interventions up-to-date and to further refine them. After all, developments in health care – hence including mental health care, addiction services and substance misuse – never stand still. Myriad changes occur, and at breakneck speed, in terms of people’s needs and desires, morbidity, types and modes of consumption, and technical and IT developments. Efficiency, effectiveness and affordability, in addition to solidarity, are recurring design requirements. The Trimbos Institute enjoys an excellent status in terms of knowledge and expertise. That has to be earned again and again. Continued focus and continual innovation are vitally important in the view of the Supervisory Board. Periodic stock-taking is part of that. The Board will keep to those priorities in 2017.


"Keenly observing and listening to what happens in the world is critically important."

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