Social Sciences
NWO division

Social Sciences

NWO Social Sciences (MaGW) initiates, encourages and funds high-quality research in the field of the social and behavioural sciences. This research helps to answer a wide range of societal issues. For example: how do we keep growing cities liveable, reachable and active? How is the ageing population affecting education? What is the role of cognition in the eating behaviour of overweight people?

The social and behavioral sciences are crucial for gaining insight in the dynamics of society and the behaviour of groups and individuals. MaGW has four main groups of disciplines:

  • Economics and business administration
  • Behaviour and education
  • Law and administration
  • Social sciences

These main groups comprise more than 15 scientific disciplines.

Strategy Social Sciences and Humanities

The boards of NWO Social Sciences and NWO Humanities have established strategic ambitions for the collaboration of both NWO divisions in the years 2016 and 2017.

The NWO organisation is undergoing major changes. One aspect of the new governance is that the current science divisions and foundations of NWO will be clustered into four domains with effect from 1 January 2017. The current divisions NWO Social Sciences and NWO Humanities will be merged in the new Social Sciences and Humanities domain.

The boards have jointly stated the following ambitions:

  • Strengthening the distinctive fundamental research by the best researchers, so that the Dutch social sciences and humanities can retain their top position in European science
  • Making a contribution to solving societal problems and disseminating social sciences and humanities knowledge within society
  • Realising a closer collaboration between the social sciences and humanities whilst retaining the distinctiveness, diversity and uniqueness of the disciplinary activities within the domain
  • Jointly determining the agenda for collaboration with other NWO domains and institutes as well as with external parties

The joint strategic ambitions are based on the strategy memoranda of the separate divisions. (This joint strategy paper, Innovation, Resilience and Connection, is only available in Dutch.)

Transformations and Resilience: strategy NWO Social Sciences

NWO Social Sciences will contribute to the implementation of the NWO Strategy 2015-2018 for the scientific disciplines in the social sciences in the Netherlands.

What does the NWO Strategy mean for NWO Social Sciences? For the realisation of the Strategy 2015-2018 several societal challenges are leading: the pressure on research in the social sciences despite the acknowledged high quality; their key role for the ‘learning economy’; stimulating of collaboration between the disciplines and the necessity of co-financing within national and international thematic programmes.

To face these challenges NWO Social Sciences has formulated seven clear ambitions for the coming four years:

  1. A strong foundation with a programme for PhD students
  2. Talent schemes with Rubicon and the Innovational Research Incentives Scheme
  3. Data, including big data, infrastructure and new methodologies
  4. Connecting Social Sciences & Humanities (SSH)
  5. Inter- and transdisciplinary research, nationally and internationally
  6. Research programming in cooperation with relevant policy agencies
  7. Cooperation with private partners

For more details, please read the strategy paper 'Transformaties en Veerkracht' (only available in Dutch).

Temporary taskforces

MaGW supports two temporary taskforces:


Examples of funding instruments

All grants forSocial Sciences

Examples of programmes

All programmes for Social Sciences