January 5, 2022

Dijkgraaf Departs IAS Ahead of Schedule For Cabinet Appointment

By Anne Levin

Robbert Dijkgraaf

Robbert Dijkgraaf, director and Leon Levy professor of the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), will leave the IAS sooner than originally planned. Dijkgraaf was nominated to join the cabinet of Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, on behalf of (the social-liberal party) D66, the second party in the country. Dijkgraaf is intended to serve as Minister of Education, Culture, and Science beginning January 10, 2022.

In this capacity, Dijkgraaf will be responsible for the ministry’s mission of ensuring “a knowledgeable, skilled, and cultured country,” the release reads. “His focus will include, in particular, higher education, research, and fostering a creative environment to support students, teachers, and scholars.”

Dijkgraaf has led the Institute since July 2012, and was scheduled to depart when David Nirenberg takes over on July 1 of this year. How the gap will be filled between Dijkgraaf’s departure and Nierenberg’s arrival remains in question. “An official transition plan is being developed by the board of trustees in cooperation with incoming IAS Director David Nirenberg and the executive officers of the four schools,” reads the release.

Dijkgraaf posted two tweets on Monday announcing the news. “Honored to be nominated as Minister of Education, Culture & Science of the Netherlands,” he wrote. “Leaving the IAS with a heavy heart and earlier than planned but I’m comforted to know it’s in able hands. Looking back at a wonderful decade — the Institute will always be in my heart!,” read one. “Pia [de Jong] and I and our family will never forget our ten magical years at the IAS. With our gratitude for everyone’s support and friendship,” reads the second tweet.

In addition to his duties at the IAS, Dijkgraaf has also served as professor of theoretical physics at the University of Amsterdam. Previously, he was president of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). His association with the IAS goes back to the early 1990s, and he returned briefly in 2002.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees and our entire Institute family, it is with great pride that we recognize Robbert for his nomination as Minister of Education, Culture, and Science of the Netherlands,” said Charles Simonyi, IAS board chair. “We are deeply thankful to Robbert for his extraordinary leadership during his 10-year tenure and wish him continued success in this new role. Our community will miss very much Robbert, Pia, and their family.”