Priorities and strategy

Setting priorities at the cooperative

SURF-members are closely involved in the cooperative's strategic direction. Members set their own priorities for each sector. We set the cooperative's direction based on these sector priorities and SURF's own priorities.

The priorities of a sector are set in cooperation with:

  • The directors of all the sector's institutions, including institutions not represented on the Members' Council. Those include directors with business operations portfolios and directors with research and/or education portfolios.
  • The Coordinating SURF Contact Persons (CSCs). Each sector has 1 CSC for each member institution.
  • Representatives of the sectors focusing on research and education.

Other examples of involved parties are representatives of national research communities that are not linked to a sector and existing partnerships such as saMBO-IT (MBO) and AcZie (UMCs). Of course, a sector can also ask content experts to help set priorities.

Sometimes one sector has priorities that are not shared by other sectors. In that case, the sector can implement these priorities with its own funding within the cooperative. The condition is that the Members' Council agrees to this.

Continuous strategy dialogue

We have been in continuous dialogue with our members about the strategy we are pursuing together since 2020. Before, we organised meetings about the long-term strategy once every 4 years. The SURF Board now regularly organises content activities for directors and CSCs from all sectors. Topics include new technological developments and issues regarding the digitalisation of education and research. We invite all directors of member institutions to participate in these activities. It is the responsibility of the members to ensure that the boards of their institutions are well represented.


The members of SURF are categorised into 6 departments on the Members' Council: research universities (WO), universities of applied sciences (HBO), secondary vocational educational institutions (MBO), university medical centres (UMCs), research and other members. To draw up plans, research and other members work together as the Research+ department. Although we refer to sectors and sector priorities, Research+ does not formally constitute a sector.