NWO policy focuses on five key areas of interest.
Curiosity-driven research and talent
Curiosity-driven research NWO seeks to provide plenty of opportunities for scientific creativity and unrestrained science. By encouraging innovative research, new lines of research arise that sometimes lead to surprising and even groundbreaking results. Therefore NWO provides funds for curiosity/driven research and talented scientists.
Thematic research and public-private partnership
Research contributes to the welfare and prosperity of Dutch society. The impact of research can grow by joining forces and by linking fundamental, practically oriented and applied research to a greater extent. With thematic programmes, NWO funds scientific research that contributes to solutions to social, economic and cultural issues.
Science is international: researchers work together with professional peers from other countries; talented researchers seek opportunities abroad and, conversely, foreign researchers find places in the Netherlands. Internationalisation strengthens Dutch science. NWO's efforts toward internationalisation can be summarized in three words: facilitating, connecting and influencing.
Large research facilities
Good research facilities are essential for top research. High-value equipment and research facilities are the source of new science. Once such facilities are present, they often turn out to function as flywheels for new and interesting research topics. Therefore NWO structurally invests in high-value equipment and data collections.
NWO funds and manages nine research institutes. These are national centres of expertise in specific scientific domains ranging from astronomy to oceanic research. The institutes provide researchers with access to international collaborative partnerships and research facilities and they develop innovative technologies together with businesses.