Collaboration in themes

Collaboration in themes

Collaboration in themes was one of the six objectives from the strategy period 2011-2014. These priorities were the key areas NWO focused on during this period, and to which programs and financing instruments were linked.

For the period 2015-2018, NWO has formulated a new strategy. In line with this new strategy, NWO will align its programs with the National Research Agenda. This agenda will announced at the end of 2015 announced. Until that time, the programs and funding instruments from the previous strategy period are maintained and still valid. In the years ahead collaboration in themes remains a key area.

Society is facing major challenges: ageing, a shortage of fossil fuels and climate change. Collaboration will bring solutions to these challenges a step closer. Science will also strengthen the Netherlands' competitive position. NWO, therefore, maintains contacts with a wide range of parties to maximise the opportunities for joint initiatives.

NWO themes and Top Sectors

In consultation with the scientific field, government, civil society organisations and industry, NWO identified major social issues for the period 2011-2014 as research themes. The Dutch government is encouraging research investment in nine designated top sectors. Linked to the national research and innovation policy, NWO has adjusted its themes in response to the top sectors policy. Researchers and industry are brought together to realise innovative scientific research. Particular attention is paid to research carried out in partnership with industry.

NWO's research institutes actively collaborate with scientific partners, government and industry. On top of themes, NWO invests in the entire spectrum of science. Investing in scientific progress and talent ensures that innovation is supported by a strong scientific foundation.

Global challenges

Major social challenges that transcend scientific disciplines have been defined on a European and global scale: the ‘Grand Challenges’. NWO’s themes run parallel to these. NWO, therefore, participates in several Grand Challenge programmes.

A joint search for solutions is vitally important for breakthroughs that will lead to progress at all levels: from local to global.


Agro, Food and Horticulture

Within the NWO theme Agro, Food and Horticulture, scientists are seeking answers to questions in three areas: Sustainable and safe production, Healthy food and Food security from a global perspective.

Connecting Sustainable Cities

The world's population is becoming concentrated in larger and larger cities. This poses challenges for society. How to keep a city with hundreds of thousands of inhabitants liveable?

Creative industry

This theme ranges from software development for serious games, through research into the origins and workings of creativity, to rendering cultural heritage digitally accessible via the Internet and social media.

Cultural and Societal Dynamics

The central question within this theme is what connects people, and what divides them. This central question is addressed on the basis of various topics: identity and the forming of identity, comprehensible language and multilingualism, religion, sport, citizenship, culture and heritage.

Healthy Living

New knowledge is necessary not only for the prevention, detection or treatment of conditions but also for improving the quality of life.

High Tech Systems and Materials

Research on new materials, new components and new functionalities for high-tech applications, ranging from healthcare, lighting, computer chips, complex equipment, robotics, communications, logistical systems, aircraft and satellites to energy generation and safety.

Materials: Solutions for Scarcity

Raw materials are becoming scarce. Within the NWO theme Materials: Solutions for Scarcity, science and industry are joining forces in a bid to find alternatives.

Sustainable Energy

The theme Sustainable Energy is a broad one, ranging from research into energy saving, through energy storage and transport, to research into new energy sources.

Water and Climate

Research is being done into areas such as the fundamental principles underlying extreme weather, flood security, fresh water supply, changing ecosystems and climate predictability.