The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) is an organisation that provides funding for Dutch researchers. NWO defined multiple domains, 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 – Key enabling technologies for minimally invasive interventions in healthcare

Subsidy: Min. €525,000 – Max. €1,250,000 per project

Total Budget: €5,5M

Deadline:        Pre-proposal: 16 May 2022

Full proposal: 27 September 2022

Funding rate: 70% (At least 50% of the total co-financing must be of private origin)

Project duration: 4-6 years

Consortium: Applications should be submitted by consortia consisting of at least two research organisations and always two or more co-funders, which can be supplemented with one or more collaborating partners. Multidisciplinary collaboration is required, and both technical and medical disciplines must be represented. A healthcare institution must take part in the consortium, as applicant, co-funder or collaboration partner.

Scope: The key enabling technologies prioritised in this Call for Proposals are aimed to support the transition from invasive to minimally invasive interventions with minimal collateral damage. This call requests projects in which smart new medical innovative technologies will be developed or in which new combinations of existing technologies are combined in an innovative way so that they are applicable in a clinical environment.

This call for proposals concerns the key technologies:

  • Robotics,
  • Sensors and Actuators,
  • Image-forming techniques,
  • Integrated photonics.

Read more about this call


NWO – Early Detection of Cancer (KIC) Innovations for Detection and Diagnosis

Subsidy: Min. €500,000 – Max. €1,300,000 per project

Total Budget: €4,7M

Deadline:        Pre-proposal: 10 May 2022

Full proposal: 22 September 2022

Funding rate: max. 90%

Project duration: max. 6 years

Consortium: Applications should be submitted by a main applicant and one or more co-applicants. The consortium must consist of a combination of technological scientists together with a medical and/or healthcare discipline and a partner from a social and/or humanities discipline.

Scope: KWF and NWO will collaborate in a new program focused on early detection of cancer The aim of this call is the development and application of innovative or even disruptive, widely

accessible diagnostic possibilities for the early detection of cancer.

What falls within the scope of this call:

  • Research into risk stratification, use of data, AI, genetic tests, wearables, lab-on-a-chip technology, smart forms of monitoring and other technologically innovative methods.
  • A test/method/marker/model that already exists for another disease that can be made suitable for oncology.
  • Making existing fundamental knowledge suitable for application in tests/tools for a certain section of the population.
  • To increase the support of acceptance of the technological innovation to be developed within society, researchers are expected to make societal aspects (such as behaviour, ethics and safety) part of the research question.

Read more about this call



NWO – Microbiome: Healthy from soil to gut and back

Subsidy: €675,000 to €1,800,000 per project

Total Budget: €5,500,000

Funding rate: 90%


  • Pre-registration: 24 March 2022
  • Full proposal: 20 September 2022

Project duration: 6 years

Eligibility: Professors, associate professors, lecturers and other researchers with a similar position based in the Netherlands can act as lead or co-applicant if they are permanently employed. A consortium should be formed.

Scope: New research is needed to understand the complete picture of the micro-organisms (bacteria, archaea, viruses, fungi, and protist) and their functions in the soil, agriculture and horticulture including the transmission between them, and to apply this knowledge in sustainable solutions. It is not evident that such applications will be automatically accepted by farmers and consumers. It is important that researchers work together in an interdisciplinary manner from an early stage onward, to achieve appliances in this research field.

Some related knowledge and innovation questions can include:

  • How does the microbiome influence the resilience of the soil, plants, animals and humans?
  • What is the influence of the microbiome on the health of people and animals?
  • What is the effect of (the transmission of) the microbiome from the soil and plants (and animals) on the microbiome in the gastrointestinal tract of people and animals?
  • How can we influence the animal/human microbiome via feed/nutrition?

Read more about this call


NWO: Research Infrastructure (RI): national consortia

Subsidy: €1,5-10M

Total budget available: €20M

Funding rate: 75%


Letter of Intent: 2 December 2021

Full proposal: 15 February 2022

Project duration: max 5 years – the infrastructure should be exploited for a longer period

Consortium: The following institutes can submit, alone or in a consortium with other institutes: NWO recognises specific institutes that can submit. Nwo recognised institutes can submit alone or in consortium.

Scope: With this instrument NWO strengthens the research infrastructure available to the Dutch research community. The instrument provides an impulse financing for the setup of the infrastructure. The infrastructure should be supported nationally and widely accessible to the research community.

Research with, and exploitation of, the infrastructure is not financed.

Eligible costs include:

  • Costs for scientific equipment and datasets
  • Personnel costs for the setup of the infrastructure
  • International memberships

Research infrastructures concern:

  • important scientific equipment or collections of instruments;
  • knowledge-based resources such as collections, archives, collections, or scientific data;
  • e-infrastructure such as (linked) data files, computer systems and communication networks;
  • any other unique infrastructure essential to achieving excellence in research and innovation.

Read more about this call


NWO Demonstrator

Subsidy: max. €160,000 for max. 18 months

Funding rate: 100%

Deadline: 8 March 2022.

Consortium: Researchers working at a Dutch university, UMC, or other research organization recognized by NWO.

Scope: This subsidy aims to stimulate the practical application of knowledge and demonstration by Dutch research institutes or knowledge centres to develop a technological product. The programme consist of two parts:

  • Show: developing a demonstration model at the Technology Readiness Level 5. A Minimal Viable Product (MVP) is delivered no more than 12 months after the start of the project. The emphasis is on making the knowledge concrete and not on continuing with the research that has been carried out.
  • Transfer: This section carries out activities aimed at transferring the Demonstrator knowledge. This starts with determining the intended purpose and the method of the Demonstrator to be built. Once the MVP has been realized after 9-12 months, it is deliberately used to enable future transfer of the Demonstrator knowledge (by means of demonstrations in different formats on different occasions).

Read more about this call



NWO Perspectief

Subsidy: €1.5 – 4M per project

Total budget: €22.8M

Funding rate: 70%. 30% should be co-financed of which at least 7.5% should be in cash co-financing.

Deadline: Initiative: 19 October 2021, 1st stage: 23 November 2021 2nd stage: 17 May 2022


The consortium should include at least 3 knowledge institutions and 4 users. Partners could also include TO2 institutes and universities of applied sciences (under specific conditions). The users should contribute to the project by providing co-finance. Scientists, companies and social organisations can apply a comprehensive research programme concerning new technology through consortia. Such a programme usually consists of four to eight projects/work packages that approach the overarching theme from various research directions, with an explicit focus on application.


The program “Perspective” aims to realise economic and societal impact on thematical areas in the Netherlands. It facilitates this by bringing innovative technological knowledge to practice in correspondence and cooperation with industry, societal organisations and (end-) users.

The objectives for Perspective are the following:

  • The development of scientific excellent knowledge and from there on out relevant new technology for industry/society through a multidisciplinary approach.
  • Building of intensive and sustainable relationships between multiple research organisations, companies and societal organisations within consortia.
  • Creating more focus and coherence in research for thematic areas that are relevant for the Netherlands.
  • To promote valorisation of developed knowledge by societal organisations and (end-) users.

Perspective projects must fit within one or more of the five knowledge and innovation agendas. In addition, one or more key technology(s) from the eight categories must play a role.

Read more about this call



NWO: Safety assessment via animal-free models

Total Budget: €2,865,000

Subsidy: max. €955,000

Funding rate: 100% (co-funding in cash/in kind is possible)

Deadline: Registration of initiative: 7 October 2021 / Full proposal: 17 February 2022

Project duration: Max. 5 years

Consortium: Proposals should be submitted by a consortium in which the various types of research in the knowledge chain (fundamental, applied and practice-oriented) and civil society organisations must be represented. A consortium should consist of at least a main applicant (Full, associate and assistant professors, lectors and senior researcher from Dutch research organisation), co-applicant and cooperation partners (civil society organisations, government bodies, legislative bodies).

Scope: The aim of this call is to encourage the acceptance and implementation of existing animal-free models that researchers use for a better prediction of health effects on humans. To realise this objective, a proposal must touch upon three iterative processes:

  1. Demonstrating the usability and applicability of the model;
  2. Facilitating (regulatory) acceptance of the model;
  3. Developing a publicly supported values framework in which the degree of uncertainty is weighed up against the acceptance of the model.

Consortia are required to work in an inter- and transdisciplinary manner. This means that different research disciplines and other stakeholders are represented and closely collaborate on developing the project proposal from the outset.

Read more about this call 



NWO Domain Science Open Competition

The NWO Domain Science (Exacte en Natuurwetenschappen, ENW) Open Competition (OC) has three instruments, the NWO OC ENW – XS, NWO OC ENW – M and NWO OC ENW – XL. All instruments in the OC ENW are designed to fuel fundamental research in the research fields of the NWO ENW, such as, earth sciences, life sciences, computer sciences and chemistry.

Open Competition, ENW – XS

Available budget: €4 million (for 2020-2021 round)

Maximum subsidy budget: €50,000

Deadlines: 4 deadlines per year: 16 February, 6 May, 14 September, and 26 October in 2021

Consortium: Intended for single applicants

Scope: The NWO OC ENW – XS programme enables innovative, high-risk initiatives in the research areas of the NWO ENW. Although the outcome of the research does not need to be positive or negative, the research itself should be groundbreaking and contribute to the advancement of science, regardless of the end-result. You are the applicant and also an assessor during the ENW – XS assessment process.

Open Competition, ENW – M

Available budget: €30 million (for 2020-2021 round)

Subsidy  per grant type:

M-1: Max €350,000

M-2: max €700,000

M-Invest: €150,000 – 500,000

Deadlines: 31-07-2022

Consortium: Intended for 1 (ENW-M-1) or 2 collaborative scientific positions (ENW-M-2)

Scope: The NWO OC ENW – M programme creates an opportunity for researchers to develop innovative high-risk ideas into scientific innovations that could form the basis for future research themes. For the ENW – M grant, there are three categories tailored to specific applicants: ENW-M-1 (1 scientific position), ENW–M–2 (2 collaborative scientific positions) and ENW-M-invest (investments). The three ENW – M categories will be assessed in mutual competition.

Open Competition, ENW – XL

Available budget: €30 million, (for 2020-2021 round)

Subsidy: ~€2.3 million (approx. 13 approvals)

Deadlines: Pre-proposal 15 April 2021. Full proposal: 23 December 2021

Consortium: Research groups who provide added value through collaboration in comparison to separate ENW-M grants, for example.

Scope: The NWO OC ENW – XL programme is intended to support collaborative research consortia towards conducting excellent, challenging, and fundamental research. The call opens once every two years and uses pre-proposals assessed by expert panels.



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.




A must-have if you’re interested in getting your business to the next level