Research programmes

Public-private partnerships (PPP)

  • TKI Food, Cognition and Behaviour

    The aim is to develop new foods with the aid of excellent knowledge about the relationship between food and the brain. The focus is on food preferences, choice and purchasing behaviour, appetite regulation, the role of cognitive processes and the effects of foods and eating patterns on cognitive abilities. This investment will also lead to the development of early diagnoses for obesity, eating disorders and conditions associated with ageing.

  • TKI Protein Competence Center

    Due to the growth of the global population and increasing prosperity in emerging economies, the consumption of meat, fish and other proteins is rising. Consequently, there is a growing need to ensure that our future protein supplies are sustainable. Companies are focusing on innovative protein products (such as ingredients, functional animal feeds and meat alternatives) and are aware that innovation emerging from the knowledge base can bring a competitive advantage. This initiative will provide industry with effective access to knowledge and expertise in the field of protein research and valorisation. 
    Read more: (in Dutch)

  • Biobased Economy

    In the field of BioBased Economy, a cross-sectoral theme, NWO is contributing to the development of an interface programme combining chemocatalytic, biotechnological, thermochemical and biorefinery aspects of biomass processing. NWO also intends to set up a partnership programme with Brazil in the field of BBE. Biomass supply will be one focus of this programme. These programmes are being run in collaboration with the top sector Chemistry.

  • Responsible Innovation
    This programme focuses on the technological developments expected to have radical effects on individuals and/or society. This concerns new developments in technologies such as ICT, nanotechnology, biotechnology and neurosciences on the one hand, and technological systems in transition such as energy, transport, agriculture and water on the other hand. NWO will put out a call addressing ethical and social issues. This call will focus on the top sectors Energy, Agri&Food and/or Horticulture and Propagation Materials, Water, and Life Sciences & Health.

  • Industrial Partnership Programme with Unilever
    The starting point for this programme is that in future, food and personal care products will need to have functional properties that are conducive to health, such as reducing obesity or cardiovascular conditions, or long-term disinfectant properties. The central focus is the development of a deeper understanding of the structure of substances and their interactions, the relationship between molecular composition and mechanical properties, their biophysical 'fate' during digestion and adsorption and in their external applications.

  • Global Food Systems
    An integrated approach to food security is vital, given the dependence of the food supply on activities and processes at a global level. New insights are expected in system solutions relating to safe and healthy food production, linked to the wishes of consumers. The following three areas of attention have been identified with a view to achieving sustainable and stable food security: 'Sustainable local food production with higher yields', 'From consumer to producer' and 'Better access to adequate quality food'.
  • Enabling Technologies & Infrastructure
    To support a number of emerging technologies in the agricultural ('green') and medical ('red') life sciences, a roadmap on 'Enabling technologies & infrastructure' has been included in the top sector Life Sciences & Health.

  • Core Programme Propagation Materials
    The aims of this programme are to consolidate and strengthen the knowledge base and to build capacity within the research field Propagation Materials. There is a growing demand for high-quality, sustainably produced food and ornamental plant products. More knowledge of the processes surrounding the growth and development of plants, in relation to environmental factors, will lead to sturdy propagation material for high-quality crops. This programme will be set up in partnership with plant breeding companies.

  • Experimental Plant Sciences, Graduate Programme
    This programme from the Experimental Plant Sciences (EPS) research school focuses on attracting and training top talent for the plant sciences. Dutch breeding companies with large and high-quality R&D programmes need talented, motivated, well-trained scientists so that they can continue to produce groundbreaking innovations in the future. The plant breeding industry is actively involved in this programme via the EPS Industrial Advisory Board.

  • STW-Rijk Zwaan Partnership Programma
    This programme focuses on the study of meiosis and meiotic recombination during the crossbreeding of plants. New knowledge and techniques should make it possible to develop varieties with an optimal combination of natural properties in a more efficient manner.
    Read more: (in Dutch)

Other targeted activities (non-PPP)

Thematic call Less is More

The call 'Less is More' is inspired by the theme Less is More of the top sectors Agrofood and Horticulture and Propagation Materials. The call focuses on sustainable and safe production in agriculture and horticulture. The focus areas within this call are:

  • yield from agricultural and horticultural products
  • resilience of the production system
  • optimal utilisation of raw materials for food and non-food products
  • sustainable protein production


Talent, non-programmed and infrastructure

With its open programmes and NWO talent lines, NWO is contributing to the funding of excellent academic research relevant to the top sectors Agri&Food and Horticulture and Propagation Materials.