Objectives NWO 2015-2018

Stable course with a new focus

NWO has consulted with many parties in order to draw up the 2015-2018 strategy. Researchers and universities, government ministries, companies and civil society organisations have participated in the thought process concerning what is required to achieve the best science in an optimum science system and what NWO's role in this should be.

NWO as funding organisation

Curiosity-driven research and talent

A revised structure and selection procedure will be drawn up for the Veni, Vidi and Vici grants in order to improve researchers' career development and their chances in European competitions. There will also be more room for interdisciplinary research and collaboration in the Open Competition.

Research into societal and economic challenges

NWO contributes to the formulation of the Dutch Science Agenda with the research themes for the coming years. In line with this, the research agendas of the top sectors will be linked to international and societal challenges. The Dutch Science Agenda will provide the framework for this. In the run-up to this agenda, NWO has identified six challenges that link science to societal challenges.

There will be more funding opportunities for lines of research with a duration of between five and ten years, and fundamental, practically-oriented and applied research will be more strongly linked. Research consortia’s track records in knowledge utilisation will be considered in the evaluation and selection of thematic research.

Large research facilities

NWO will accommodate a Permanent committee that will formulate a national strategy for investments in large-scale scientific infrastructures. Funding for research facilities will be done within the framework of this national strategy.

NWO institutes

In the coming years, NWO will commit itself further to the national role and added value of the institutes. For this, an assessment framework will be developed with which evaluations can be made as to whether an institution should be strengthened or scaled down or, indeed, whether a new institute should be established.
The NWO institutes contribute to the Dutch Science Agenda and will be evaluated in 2017 together with the Royal Netherlands Academy or Arts and Sciences (KNAW) institutes.


Supporting policies

Open science: open access publishing en open data

NWO is formulating more stringent granting conditions for open access to research results without an embargo period. In the area of data management, NWO is developing a policy to make research data more traceable and to make it suitable for re-use.

International policy

An international component will be built into thematic research. NWO encourages participation in European research programmes - among others, via the Dutch Science Agenda and the EU matching scheme.

Collaboration and strategy development

NWO wants to use its position as a platform for all scientific disciplines, and the support and encouragement of organisation, the formation of agendas and strategy, will be embedded in its core tasks. Within the Knowledge Coalition, NWO wants to broaden its collaboration into more policy alignment and, with this, emphasise the joint plea for more investment in research and innovation.


Working method: flexible, efficient, based on best practices

NWO will develop alternative selection and evaluation procedures that present less of a burden to researchers. In consultation with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the universities, NWO will work on a better balance between the application load and the available resources. Based on best practices, NWO will develop suitable quality criteria for multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary research. NWO will more closely monitor its own procedures for equal opportunity for men and women. 

NWO organisation

The Vision for Science 2025 formulates a number of new tasks for NWO and recommends changes to NWO's governance and organisation. This assignment will be further elaborated within NWO in 2015, after which the organisation will be changed gradually.