The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) is a organisation providing funding for Dutch researchers. NWO defined multiple pillars, representing multiple scientific fields: Social Sciences and Humanities, Applied and Engineering Sciences, Science and Health Research and Development (ZonMw).

Each pillar funds research through multiple programmes. Life Sciences applications are usually within the aim of the pillar Applied and Engineering Sciences. Programmes that fund research in this domain are:

    • Public-Private Partnership, such as the programmes Perspectief, Partnership and Demonstrator
    • Application oriented research, via the Open Technology Programme and the Open Mind programme
    • Stimulating activity and entrepreneurship within research facilities, via the Take-off programme
    • Research Talent via Rubicon, the Talent Scheme (Veni, Vidi, Vici)
    • Strategic programming (including the Top Sectors and the Dutch National Research Agenda – NWA)


NWO grants

NWO Open Technology Programme (OTP)

Subsidy: €550,000

Scope: NWO TTW aims to bring scientific research together with potential users, as to realize knowledge transfer. Criteria are excellent scientific quality and utilization and the call is characterized by an absence of disciplinary boundaries. To assure utilization, a user committee must be installed, consisting of at least four users, of which at least two companies.

Read more about this call or visit the NWO website


Take Off Fase 1: Haalbaarheidsstudie

Subsidy: €20,000 – 40,000

Scope: Take-off is a science-based financing instrument from ZonMw and NWO (Secretariat: Applied and Technical Sciences). Take-off is funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.

Take-off focuses on facilitating and stimulating business and entrepreneurship from Dutch universities and NWO-recognized research institutes. It is about creating innovative new business that follows knowledge development and utilization by researchers at these knowledge institutions. It may be product, process, care or service innovation in the broadest sense of the word, within all fields of science (beta / technique, life sciences and alpha / gamma).

visit the NWO website


Take Off Fase 2: Vroegefasetrajecten

Subsidy: (Loan) €50,000 – 250,000

Scope: In the early stage project, it is about launching the startup based on knowledge innovations from research institutions. An early phase project consists of the steps and activities to make the idea/concept commercially viable, to launch the process or service successfully on the market, to grow the company and that money will be earned. This happens by:

  1. Explain and execute an early phase plan in detail;
  2. Find contact with the stakeholders and future customers who enter the company enable independent growth and success;
  3. When applicable: by developing the concept, product or service so that at the end of the process of others – private or public investors – prepared must be the next stage to finance.

visit the NWO website 


Knowledge and Innovation Convenant (KIC)

The NWO instruments for the Knowledge and Innovation Convenant (KIC) 2020-2023 offers funding for fundamental and applied research in public-private partnerships (PPS). This instrument contains four priorities, for which annually €118 million is reserved:

Focus 1: Mission driven calls: thematic calls with a focus on societal issues are developed each year, with a volume of between €5 – 15 million. Currently, 7 calls are open and additional calls will be announced in autumn 2020.

Focus 2: Demand-driven Public Private Partnerships: A number of research issues from external private and/or public partners are investigated, with a size of between €3-10 million.

Focus 3: Strategic Long-term programs: A limited number of long-term programmes (LTP) will be set up, with a duration of 10 years. Funding for an LTP provides funding for the development of a scientific field focused on a societal theme and/or key technologies.

Focus 4: Practice oriented instruments: enabling practice-oriented researchers to build up innovation networks and collaborate with regional partners and SMEs. Four instruments are part of this priority: Sprong, L.INT, KIEM, and Innovation traineeship.



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