Rubicon (Life Sciences)

Rubicon aims to encourage talented researchers at Dutch universities and research institutes run by KNAW and NWO to dedicate themselves to a career in postdoctoral research.


International research experience is often essential for building up one’s scientific career. Rubicon offers talented researchers who have completed their doctorates in the past year the chance to gain experience at a top research institution outside the Netherlands, as international research experience is likely to be an advantage at a later stage in the applicant's academic career. 

Rubicon is open for all scientific disciplines for a research project at a foreign research institute. For certain typically Dutch topics, there is also a limited opportunity to apply for a research period at an excellent Dutch research institute. However, preference will be given to researchers who apply for a grant to spend time outside the Netherlands.

Who can apply

Postgraduates who are currently engaged in doctoral research or who have been awarded a doctorate in the twelve months preceding the relevant deadline. Applicants who are still engaged in doctoral research may only apply if their supervisor provides a written declaration approving their thesis.

Women especially are urged to apply.

In the five years directly preceding the submission deadline, applicants must have conducted scientific research at an academic research institute in the Netherlands for a period at least equivalent to three years fulltime.

Applications must be submitted by individual researchers and not by pairs or teams of researchers.

What can be applied for

Applicants can apply for a period of up to two years at an excellent research institution outside the Netherlands. The minimum duration is twelve months. The eligible costs are your salary including fringe benefits, travel costs and a limited amount for research costs. Any overhead costs such as housing, computers, infrastructure, etc. are not eligible for funding. You can find the standard amounts in the document Rubicon terms and conditions.

It is not allowed to combine research at different institutes. Depending on the nature of the project, applicants may conduct field research.

When can be applied

  • There are three submission rounds annually for Rubicon. The next closing date for the submission of applications was 31 March 2016.
  • The following closing dates for submissions in 2016 are 1 September and 1 December.



Proposals will be assessed on the basis of the evaluation criteria:

  • The quality of the applicant
  • The quality of the research proposal
  • The quality of the host institute
  • Knowledge exchange and impact


Three multidisciplinary advisory committees will assess the applications on the basis of the evaluation criteria: one committee for the alpha and gamma sciences, a second committee for the life sciences and a third committee for the beta sciences. Each application will be assessed within the realm of the relevant discipline(s). NWO announces which applications have been granted about four months after the submission deadline.



Temporarily closed for application


31 March 2016 14:00

Grant type



In 2016: 6.835 mln euro for three rounds

NWO division

Earth and Life Sciences ZonMw




Investing in talent and curiosity-driven research (2011-2014)


Molenkamp-van der Harst, Mw. A. Molenkamp-van der Harst, Mw. A. +31 (0)70 3494040