International collaboration

International collaboration

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.

Research councils like NWO also collaborate internationally. For research programming, the coordination and consolidation of strengths take place at an international level, such as the realisation of large infrastructures and the efforts with respect to social challenges.NWO's international policy focuses mainly on research areas in which the Netherlands is a strong contributor internationally or in which scientific strengths elsewhere have a lot to offer to the Netherlands.

Collaboration in Europe...

For the Netherlands, European collaboration will be increasingly important in the coming years. The European Research Area (ERA), for example, strives for unrestrained mobility of researchers, research results and research resources. In the coming years, NWO will build further on the international experience and structures that have been built up in recent years - for example, concerning European networks such as the Joint Programming Initiatives.

... and beyond

In addition, NWO has created strong relations with science countries outside Europe such as China, India and Brazil. These relations support and strengthen the strategic research collaboration with these countries. Partly at the behest of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, NWO will continue to invest in collaboration with various low and middle-income countries. NWO’s efforts toward internationalisation in the coming years can be summarised in three words: facilitating, connecting and influencing. 


Supporting researchers working in the Netherlands in their international collaboration and removing barriers. With a focus on broader access to international research facilities and the support of researchers working in the Netherlands in their international collaboration - e.g. by means of bilateral or multilateral agreements with research financiers in other countries. Via the Money follows researcher scheme  scientists who obtain an appointment at another European knowledge institute can take along a portion of their funding.


Encouraging and coordinating international research collaboration. By means of thematic calls with affiliate councils, NWO will create a link between the knowledge and research agendas of the top sectors, professional departments and European-global issues, including the Grand Societal Challenges defined in Europe and the global Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations. At the behest of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, NWO will execute the so-called EU matching scheme that was set up in 2015 to encourage Dutch participation in European research programmes by matching the contribution made by public knowledge institutions themselves, a contribution required for participation.  


By actively influencing European agendas, NWO promotes the links between national and global research agendas. Via participation in many international forums, NWO draws attention to Dutch priorities in discussions and negotiations concerning European and global science policy. In Europe, NWO collaborates within Science Europe, a collaborative partnership of national research councils. Other examples are the programme committees at Horizon 2020, the trans-Atlantic platform for social sciences and humanities (NWO is the coordinator) and the European Polar Board (NWO is the host).