Funding instruments NWO Social Sciences and Humanities

Research council NWO is currently undergoing major changes. This will have consequences for the research funding and the approach to the assessment, selection and decision taking of committees and boards. With the overview below, we would like to share information on the NWO research funding for the social sciences and humanities in 2017.

Open instruments

PhDs in the Humanities

This programme funds high-quality doctoral research for talented, emerging researchers within the humanities and will remain unchanged for applicants in 2017.

Research Talent (social sciences)

This programme offers outstanding students within the social sciences the opportunity to realise their ambition to do PhD research. The call for the next round will be published in June 2017.


The Rubicon programme, which allows researchers who have recently received their PhD to gain experience at foreign top institutes, will remain unchanged in 2017 for applicants from the social sciences and humanities.

Innovational Research Incentive Scheme

The Innovational Research Incentive Scheme is intended for talented, creative researchers who do innovative research.

Innovational Research Incentive Scheme Veni

The Veni grant is open for researchers who have recently received their PhD. in January 2017, the NWO Social Sciences and Humanities domain will start a joint Veni round. The humanities applications will be assessed by four panels in the research area humanities, and the applications from the social sciences will be assessed by five panels in the research area social sciences. All received applications will be assessed by these panels in three phases via a preselection, an interview selection and interviews. Further information on this subject can be found on the website of NWO.

Innovational Research Incentives Scheme - Vidi

The Vidi is aimed at experienced researchers. The Vidi round 2017 will start in October 2017 and will take place within the domains. Information about this round will be announced in the beginning of May via the NWO website.

Innovational Research Incentive Scheme - Vici

The Vici, which is aimed at senior researchers, will remain largely unchanged in 2017 for researchers from the social sciences and humanities. The majority of the selection and assessment of applications already happened at the level of the Domain Social Sciences and Humanities. Starting in 2017, interviews will also take place at the level of the domain. Read more on the changes in the setup of the Vici assessment


The Aspasia instrument is intended to facilitate the promotion of female Vidi candidates to associate professor positions and female Vici candidates to full professor positions. Aspasia remains unchanged in 2017.

Free Competition Humanities

This instrument encourages non-programmed research that is not linked to a theme. During 2017, it will change in character. The Domain Social Sciences and Humanities Board will decide about the changes. In 2017 this instrument will not be changed except of the fact that the deadline for submitting applications will shift to September 2017. Applications can be submitted starting half of April 2017.

Cooperation Flanders

The Cooperation Flanders, part of the Free Competition Humanities, was aimed at joint research by Flemish and Dutch researchers in the research area humanities. This funding instrument will no longer be available in 2017.

Replication Studies

Researchers with a doctorate can request funding to replicate 'cornerstone research' in the disciplines of the NWO Division for the Social Sciences and the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw). NWO wants to gain experience that could lead to an effective way of including replication studies in research programmes. The deadline for applications was 12 January 2017. July 2017 the applicants will be informed about the decision.

Internationalisation in the Humanities

This instrument is aimed at facilitating international collaboration and the formation of networks between Dutch humanities research groups and their foreign colleagues. The deadline was 2 March 2017, decision July 2017.

Take-off, in collaboration with Technology Foundation STW

This instrument for facilitating and encouraging commerce and entrepreneurship is open to all scientific disciplines and shall be continued in 2017 without any significant changes.

Investment Grant NWO Medium Social Sciences

A part of the funds from NWO Medium (research area Social Sciences) will be included in the broadly supported initiative Open Data Infrastructure for Social Sciences and Economics Innovation (ODISSEI, only in Dutch). The NWO Domain Social Sciences and Humanities Board organises in 2017-2018 a call for the research area Social Sciences. This call will be published in April/May 2017 and will only be eligible for investments in materials. The investment grant for the research area Humanities is embedded in the Free Competition Humanities.

Investment Grant NWO Large

NWO Large is intended for major investments in innovative equipment and data collections. It is expected that this instrument will be changed due to the establishment of the Permanent Committee Large-Scale Infrastructure. We will share further information via the website and/or newsletter as soon as more is known on this subject.

Spinoza Prize

The NWO Spinoza Prize, the highest award in Dutch science, remains unchanged in 2017.

Doctoral Grant for Teachers

This grant offers teachers support in the writing of a doctoral thesis and no changes are expected for applicants in 2017.

Incentive Fund Open Access

Through this fund, NWO encourages the open access publication of research results and the participation of researchers in the debate about open access. The fund remains unchanged in 2017.On 1 January 2018, NWO will terminate its Incentive Fund for Open Access Publications and Conferences. NWO will meet all of its prior financial commitments made to the fund. Read more about the termination of the Incentive Fund Open Access

Visitors Travel Grant

This programme provides grants to fund qualified senior foreign researchers who hold a doctorate and who make an important contribution to Dutch research projects. NWO has broadened the submission conditions for the Visitors Travel Grant starting 2017. Senior researchers (minimum postdoc) also can submit applications.

Funding instruments top sectors

The thematic instruments that are part of the Innovation Contract for the top sectors will be realised in 2017 as provided in the Innovation Contract.

Responsible Innovation (NWO-MVI)

Soon the call for proposals of the NWO-MVI programme will be reopened. Research proposals can be submitted only for the themes Building Blocks of Life, Creative Industry, Energy and Logistics. 

Physical Internet Travel Grant Programme

The aim is to stimulate contacts between Dutch researchers and researchers of the Georgia Institute of Technology in order to facilitate knowledge exchange and development in the area of the Physical Internet and Interconnected Logistics. Applications can be submitted on a continuous basis; for a short work visit until 21 August 2018, for a long work visit until 3 April 2017.

Closed Cycles – transition to a circular economy

Consortia can apply for funding for research that should lead to the closure of cycles at different scales. This is a cross-sector programme for the top sectors Logistics, Agrifood, Water, Horticulture and Starting Materials, and companies in the Creative Industry. Applications can be submitted until 7 February 2017, decision July 2017.

Creative industry – KIEM

This instrument finances and encourages partnerships between knowledge institutions and companies in the area of the creative industry. KIEM applications can be submitted on a continuous basis until 30 November 2017 or until the available funds have been exhausted.

Creative Industry – Create Health

A call has now been published that connects the Dutch Creative Industry with healthcare; the focus is on e-health. The deadline was 17 January 2017, decision December 2017.

Smart Culture – Creative Cities

The call Creative Cities is currently open for applications; the call is aimed at research into and critical reflection about urban development. NWO will announce the decision in September 2017.

Smart culture – Big data/Digital humanities

This instrument connects the research for the creative industry with digital humanities research and large-scale digital infrastructures. The deadline for the call for proposals is 1 June 2017.

Big Data: real time ICT for logistics

This programme focuses on the challenges within big data research in the logistics sector. This call of NWO and TKI Dinalog is part of the NWO contribution to the Top Sector Logistics Consortia of researchers and industrial partners could submit an application until the deadline of 28 March 2017, decision July 2017.

Other thematic programmes

Sustainable Business Models

The Sustainable Business Models programme is aimed at deepening scientific knowledge about as well as making and disclosing new methods for the development and application of sustainable business models. A second call is being worked on within the programme, which is expected to be published in the second half of 2017.

Smart Urban Regions of the Future (SURF) Pop Up

Researchers can, on behalf of a consortium, apply for funding for a small project that addresses the themes and social challenges described in the SURF programme (Smart Urban Regions of the Future). In 2017 there are two deadlines: 1 June and 28 September. Proposals for the first deadline can be applied now.

DATA2PERSON - Big Data & Health

Consortiums of academics and public/private parties can apply for funding for the development of effective, efficient, and responsible personal empowerment methods that promote a healthy society in the future. Deadline for proposals is September 5 2017, decision February 2018.

KIEM-VANG: Knowledge innovation - from waste to resource

A lecturer/senior researcher at an applied university can apply for funding under the program Waste to Raw Material, designed to accelerate the transition to Circular Economy. Deadline for proposals is 10 November 2017, decision eight weeks after submitting.

Societal integration and reintegration of adults and teenagers with autism and/or psychosis

This programme encourages innovative research into interventions in the area of living, leisure time activities and idea forming of people with an autism spectrum disorder and/or psychotic disorder. The call will be published the second quarter of 2017.

Foundation Van Moorsel en Rijnierse

The aim of the foundation is to encourage research into the art-historical, archaeological, church-historical, historical and philological aspects of Christianity in Egypt, in the Nile Valley or elsewhere in the Middle East. This instrument remains unchanged in 2017.

International collaboration

Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA)

An international call is being worked on for HERA under the name HERA JRP Culture, integration and European public space. It is expected that the new call can be published before the summer of 2017. The call will be open to projects in which researchers from at least four participating countries take part.


Transformations to Sustainability: the theme for this programme is a societal transformation that is required to deal with the scarcity of water and raw materials, the damage to the environment and climate changes. The deadline for Outline Proposals was 5 April 2017. The deadline for Full Proposals is 26 September 2017.

JPI Urban Europe

ERA-NET Sustainable Urbanisation Global Initiative (SUGI): ERA-NET Sustainable Urban Global Initiative (SUGI): Food-Water-Energy Nexus: the call for pre-proposals was published on 9 December 2016 and closed on March 15 2017. In May 2017 the applicants of the selected pre-proposals will be invited to write a full proposal. December 2017 the decisions for financing will be announced.

JPI Cultural Heritage

In the context of the Joint Programming Initiative Cultural Heritage and Global Change, it has been established which four fields will appear in the calls published over the next three years. The first is Digital Heritage, which is expected to be published in the spring of 2017. Changing Environments will be published later in 2017, and Conservation & Protection and Identity & Perception in the subsequent years. The calls will be open for projects in which researchers from at least three countries participate. NWO intends to make funds available for all these calls, so that Dutch researchers can participate therein.

Sustainable Urbanisation Global Initiative - Food-Water-Energy Nexus

In the Sustainable Urbanisation Global Initiative Food-Water-Energy Nexus (SUGI-FWE) Call, supported by the European Commission under the Horizon2020 programme, researchers, cities and civil society can address urgent and long-term challenges by co-creating ideas and projects. The deadline for pre-proposals was 15 March, the deadline for full proposals is 20 September. The decision will be announced in December 2017.

Open Research Area (ORA)

In 2017, the fifth round of ORA will take place. The new call will be published in the spring of 2017.

T-AP Digging into data

This is an international big data challenge for researchers within the humanities and social sciences; it is not yet clear whether this call will be continued.

Cooperation Germany - Von Humboldt Stiftung (VHS)

The programme Von Humboldt Stiftung encourages international collaboration between Dutch and German senior researchers. It remains unchanged in 2017.

Collaboration Taiwan (MOST)

The collaboration Taiwan, which has the aim of advancing contacts between Dutch and Taiwanese researchers, remains unchanged in 2017.