Rubicon 2021-1

Rubicon aims to encourage talented researchers who recently received their PhD to spend some time at top research institutes outside the Netherlands to further their scientific career.

Please note change in call planning

Due to a hack of the NWO networkserver the grant procedure was suspended from 13 February to 22 March. NWO has published a new integral call planning. Please note: The deadlines in the Call for Proposals (pdf) have not been updated. 

Resumption of grant procedure FAQs

  • Purpose

    International research experience is often essential for building up one’s scientific career. Rubicon offers talented researchers who have completed their doctorates in the past year the chance to gain experience at a top research institution outside the Netherlands, as international research experience is likely to be an advantage at a later stage in the applicant's academic career.

    Rubicon is open for all scientific disciplines for a research project at a foreign research institute. For certain typically Dutch topics, there is also a limited opportunity to apply for a research period at an excellent Dutch research institute. However, preference will be given to researchers who apply for a grant to spend time outside the Netherlands.

  • Who can apply

    Postgraduates who are currently engaged in doctoral research or who have been awarded a doctorate in the twelve months preceding the relevant deadline, or preceding September 1st, 2020. Applicants who are still engaged in doctoral research may only apply if their supervisor provides a written declaration approving their thesis.

    Women especially are urged to apply.

    In the five years directly preceding the submission deadline, applicants must have conducted scientific research at an academic research institute in the Netherlands for a period at least equivalent to three years fulltime.

    Applications must be submitted by individual researchers and not by pairs or teams of researchers.

    Each candidate may only submit an application for a Rubicon grant once. You can find the complete list of the eligibility criteria in the call for proposals.

  • What can be applied for

    A budget of 2,278,333 euro is available for this submission round. The available budget is divided in proportion to the number of eligible applications between the units Science, SSH, AES and ZonMw.

    Applicants can apply for a period of up to two years at an excellent research institution outside the Netherlands. The minimum duration is twelve months. The eligible costs are your salary including fringe benefits, travel costs and a limited amount for research costs. Any overhead costs such as housing, computers, infrastructure, etc. are not eligible for funding. You can find the standard amounts in the document Rubicon terms and conditions.

  • When can be applied

    The deadline for this round is Tuesday 11 May 2021.

    Normally, there are three submission rounds annually for Rubicon. Due to a hack of the NWO networkserver the grant procedure has been at a standstill for five weeks from 13 February to 22 March 2021. We are combining the rounds in September and December 2021

  • Selection


    Proposals will be assessed on the basis of the evaluation criteria:

    • The quality of the research proposal
    • The quality of the host institute
    • Knowledge exchange and impact
    • The quality of the applicant


    Each application will be assessed within the realm of the relevant discipline(s) by a multidisciplinary committee on the basis of the evaluation criteria mentioned above. NWO announces which applications have been granted about four months after the submission deadline.

All documents  you need can be found on this website. Applications are submitted through the electronic application system ISAAC (Science, SSH, AES) or ProjectNet (ZonMw). You need to have an ISAAC of ProjectNet-account to do so. In case you don’t have one yet, create your personal account at least one day before the deadline. Below you will find more information on writing a proposal and which forms you need to use. All forms can be downloaded from this page

  • Write proposal

    When writing your proposal, please bear in mind that each application will be assessed within the realm of the relevant discipline(s) by a multidisciplinary committee.

    Please use the application form that you can download from this page.

    Only the required annexes will be accepted.

    Relevant information

    Research fields

    Code for Dealing with Personal Interests

    Research Datamanagement


  • Fill in forms

    Preparing an application

    • Download the application form from
    • Save the application form as a pdf file and upload it in ISAAC (NWO) or ProjectNet (ZonMw).

    The application (to be filled in the form) consists of:

    • A research proposal written in English (max. 6 pages A4, 2,000 words; the word count includes footnotes, figure captions and tables. References are excluded).
    • A narrative CV of the applicant consisting of a narrative academic profile  (max. 3 pages A4) and a key output (max 10 items).
    • Two attached recommendation forms.
    • One acceptance form from the intended host institute.
    • Applications from applicants who have not yet been awarded a PhD must also be accompanied by a form approving their thesis.

Due to a networkhack the grant procedure of NWO, including NRO and SIA, has been at a standstill from 13 February to 22 March 2021. NWO has updated the information on the website about the calls and the new deadlines. The deadlines in the Call for Proposals (pdf) have not been updated yet.

  • Do you already have an ISAAC account?
  • Do you have a complete application form and saved it as PDF?
  • Did you attach two recommendation forms?
  • Have you thought about the acceptance form from the intended host institute?

Applications can be submitted  one of the four windows. Make sure you submit your application to the right one.


Submit to Science window

Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH)

Submit to SSH window

Applied and Engineering Sciences (AES)

Submit to AES window

Given the limited number of applications submitted to the AES domain, these applications will be assessed together with the applications submitted to the Science domain by a multidisciplinary committee. 

Health Research and Medical Sciences (ZonMw)

Submit to ZonMw window

If you are not sure which window is best suited for your proposal, please contact the Rubicon coordinator well before the deadline. Windows cannot be changed after the deadline has passed.