Arfan Ikram new President ZonMw and member NWO Executive Board

Prof. M.A. (Arfan) Ikram (1980) will become the new President of ZonMw with effect from 1 August 2022. At that moment, he will also become a member of the NWO Executive Board.

He will combine this position with his work as a professor and as head of the Department of Epidemiology at Erasmus MC. Arfan Ikram succeeds Jeroen Geurts who was appointed Rector Magnificus of VU Amsterdam on 15 January 2022.

Arfan Ikram about his motivation: ‘My ambition is to make a contribution to an optimal start in life, the maintenance of health, and the maximum recovery from illness for everybody in society. Important priorities in this regard are scientific research and education across the full spectrum of health research in which integrity, sustainability, diversity and inclusion are clearly present. That is what I want to focus on at ZonMw and NWO’. This dovetails well with the missions of both organisations.

President ZonMw

‘We are extremely pleased that Arfan Ikram is willing to fulfil the role of President of ZonMw and member of the NWO Executive Board. With his expertise as an epidemiologist and experience as a researcher, Arfan is a valuable addition to the board’s expertise. Furthermore, Arfan is committed to contributing to the societal impact of subjects such as diversity, inclusion and citizen science. Together with Arfan, we will continue to use knowledge to realise a good health for everybody’, says Huib Pols, President ad interim of ZonMw.

Member NWO Executive Board

‘We look forward to welcoming Arfan Ikram as a member of the NWO Executive Board for the Medical Sciences domain. Since 2017, the President of ZonMw has also been a member of our board to shape our close collaboration. We expect that Arfan will make an excellent connection between the medical sciences and all other science domains within NWO’, says Marcel Levi, President NWO Executive Board.

About Arfan Ikram

Arfan Ikram originally trained as a physician. Since obtaining his PhD in 2010, his career has focused entirely on scientific research and teaching. For a long time, he focused on neurological disorders, such as dementia and stroke, which he studied from an epidemiological approach. In recent years, he has expanded his focus to include subjects such as health (brain) ageing, multimorbidity, health journeys and life-course epidemiology. He is also interested in assuring the quality of methodologies used in medical research. Since 2017, Arfan has been working as a professor and as head of the Department of Epidemiology at Erasmus MC. In addition, he is Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston (US). Arfan has considerable experience in large-scale cohort studies, including his leading role in the Erasmus Rotterdam Health Study (ERGO). He is also a member of the Young Academy of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Arfan Ikram started on 1 August last year with his induction period, during which he will first get to know both organisations better and, subsequently, the field in which ZonMw and NWO work.