The Social Sounding Board is an external advisory commission composed of multiple members, including an independent chairperson. The primary purpose of the Social Sounding Board is to strengthen the research by critically thinking along with the researchers from different perspectives. The research team presents issues, upon which the sounding board members provide them with feedback, ideas and advice.

The members were asked by the Steering Committee, in consultation with the Programme Management, to be part of the Social Sounding Board, based on their experience, background and expertise. 

Independent advisory role

Social Sounding Board members participate in a personal capacity. This allows them to fulfil their advisory role impartially and independently, without being accountable to any constituency. This is important because the Social Sounding Board - and the study - should not be guided by external pressure.

Representatives of interest groups are therefore not part of the Social Sounding Board. After all, their priority is logically to represent the interests of their constituencies.

The Social Sounding Board consists of:

  • Niloufar Rahim (chair)
  • Ton van Ede
  • Peter Heintze
  • Mirwais Momand
  • Hans de Vreij

Doing justice to different perspectives

This is not to say that groups such as veterans, Afghans, policy officers and others are not heard. On the contrary: their experiences, feelings and opinions are of great importance in understanding and doing justice to different perspectives.

Collecting this information through, for example, interviews and conversations is therefore a very important part of the research programme - but takes place outside the Social Sounding Board.

Final responsibility

The Social Sounding Board gives solicited and unsolicited advice, but does not decide on the research programme. That is done by the Steering Committee, consisting of Prof. Dr. Ben Schoenmaker (director NIMH) and Prof. Dr. Martijn Eickhoff (director NIOD).

Both the Programme Management and the Steering Committee attend the meetings of the Social Sounding Board in order to understand their input and to take it into account when deciding on the course of the research.