NWO has compiled a list of several questions and answers regarding funding rounds, ongoing research and NWO’s policy. If your question is not on the list, please send an email to the contact person in the funding round/programme to which your question pertains.

Why is NWO’s primary process being (partially) postponed?

Two starting points have to be taken into consideration about whether to continue or postpone the primary process. First, that all candidates have an equal opportunity to submit their applications. Many people wanting to submit applications now face different work-related tasks and circumstances. Second, it is important that we are confident when evaluating applications that we are doing so correctly. That means, for example, a carefully composed committee with a sufficient range of expertise. As a result of the outbreak of the coronavirus it is not always possible to meet the criteria of these two starting points, and consequently not all of the planned activities in NWO’s primary process can go ahead. In order to act clearly, transparently and unambiguously, to avoid having to weigh each instrument separately and to provide applicants with clarity, we have drafted a single guideline for all instruments.

What happens with the hearings of the NWO objections committee during corona crisis?

Normally, the NWO objections committee considers an objection during a formal hearing at the NWO office in The Hague. Due to the measures taken by the Dutch government in response to the coronavirus, both the NWO offices in The Hague and Utrecht will be closed until April 28th 2020. Depending on the circumstances, this period may be extended.

If you have submitted an objection to NWO and your hearing is scheduled during the period that the NWO offices are closed, the hearing will take place by means of a video conferencing connection. You will receive notification of this at least one week prior to the hearing. If you do not want to be heard via a video connection, please let us know. In that case, the hearing will be moved to a time when it is again possible to hear the parties involved in person. Finally, you may also opt out of a hearing. The objections committee will then come to an opinion on the basis of the file.

Read more about lodging an objection in general

How does the guideline to postpone the primary process affect ongoing rounds?

Ongoing rounds in which interaction with applicants is no longer required can go ahead as planned. Committee meetings will be organised online. Interviews will be postponed. NWO is fully aware that this creates uncertainty for people who are in the middle of the procedure. NWO is therefore looking for ways to award grants after all. In doing so, NWO must maintain due care and a level playing field for all candidates. In the meantime, we are developing a protocol for holding remote interviews. As soon as that is ready and tested, it will be implemented in consultation with the coordinators of ongoing rounds that have interviews scheduled in the short term. No dates haven been set yet, but we hope to get started as soon as possible. Again, this is only possible if we can put together a good committee.

Deadlines for written interaction with applicants in ongoing rounds will be extended, because the current situation could potentially prevent them from writing an application. The time limit for rebuttals will be doubled. The deadline for rounds whose pre-registration deadline has already passed, and for which detailed applications need to be submitted, will be extended by two months.

Rounds that are currently continuously open for submissions can go ahead, subject to the above points. When the number of submissions decreases, the deadline will also shift.

The full text of the guideline is available here.

For more information about specific rounds please go to the funding instrument.

How will the guideline to postpone the primary process affect deadlines for submitting administrative documents for ongoing projects?

Deadlines for submitting documentation for ongoing projects (e.g. interim and final reports) will be extended by four months compared to the original deadlines. These now have less priority. Projects still cannot begin unless the necessary start-up documentation has been submitted. Deadlines for submitting start-up documentation (consortium agreements, data management plans) and hiring staff for projects have also been extended by four months.

The full text of the guideline is available here.

How will the guideline to postpone the primary process affect upcoming rounds?

The schedule for this entire round has been postponed by two months compared to the original schedule. All rounds not yet open will be postponed by two months. In the first place, this concerns all rounds with a starting date until 1 July. However, it may well be that this shift (due to overlap) makes it necessary to postpone later rounds compared to the original schedule.

NWO will announce the revised schedule for this round before 28 April (or later if this date shifts).

If the deadline is imminent and people have therefore already submitted their application, then these applications can be revoked and resubmitted.

The full text of the guideline is available here.

How will the guideline to postpone the primary process affect complex rounds for which a consortium has to be created or which require co-funding?

The following applies to complex instruments: These rounds, whether ongoing or upcoming, will be completely frozen and resumed one month after the national measures have been suspended. In cases concerning international consortiums, the measures and circumstances in the countries in question will be taken into consideration as well in determining a new date.

For more information about specific rounds please go to the funding instrument

Are the costs for cancelling a conference or research as a result of the coronavirus eligible for compensation?

NWO understands these costs to be unavoidable costs that had to be made prior to the start of the conference or research. Unavoidable means, for example, that a trip cannot be rebooked.
The cancellation costs are eligible for compensation if the conference or research is part of a project budget approved by NWO. In that case, NWO would ask you to attach a copy of the negative travel advice and/or cancellation confirmation from the conference organisation or the receiving party to the financial documents (invoices and bills).
Registration fees for NWO conferences do not have to be declared as they will be automatically refunded.
If you have been taken ill, or if you meet other conditions in your cancellation policy, then please ask your insurance company to refund the costs first. If the costs are not reimbursed, then you are still eligible for compensation. Please add to the financial documents a written response from the insurance company that shows they will not refund the costs.

How will the announced measures affect those who currently have grants from NWO but who are unable to properly continue their work?

Awarded grants will be paid out. If the end date of a project is delayed as a result of this crisis, then you can submit a request for deferment to NWO. At this stage, NWO cannot make any statements about the question of what happens if a deferment leads to higher costs.

Will the interviews in my funding round go ahead?

NWO has decided to postpone, with immediate effect, all interview rounds for ongoing funding rounds, such as Vidi. Anyone who has received an invitation to be interviewed will receive a personal communication about this in the coming days. At the moment, it looks as if the interviews will be postponed for several months.

Why can meetings be done through teleconferencing but not interviews with candidates? A few months delay can cause huge problems for researchers whose contracts are tied to funding.

Evaluation committee meetings will take place because ‘tension/pressure’ do not play a role in such cases. That is not the case with interviews, and we cannot guarantee that applicants will not feel disadvantaged during a teleconference. That is why all interview rounds will be postponed until further notice. Anyone who has received an invitation to be interviewed will receive a personal communication about this in the coming days. As evaluation committees always work with high standards of transparency and integrity, NWO is confident that this measure will have no impact on the evaluation.

Are approaching deadlines going to be extended?

NWO realises that not everyone is able to access the necessary documents at this point in time. NWO will exercise leniency regarding supplementary paperwork that requires supporting signatures. Currently, NWO is examining how to remotely arrange supplementary paperwork.

Are researchers with a Rubicon residing abroad eligible for compensation for the cost of returning from a country with a negative travel advice?

Researchers work for a university, and universities have to decide for themselves whether or not to repatriate researchers. NWO realises that this could entail additional costs. In this case, we are dealing with exceptional circumstances, and we are still investigating the options for this.

Will the office buildings stay open?

The office buildings of NWO in Utrecht and The Hague will both close down 19 March. Our employees will work from home. You can reach them by phone or email.

Will the deadlines for submitting proposals for the Bessensap event be extended?

It is highly likely that the government’s measures will have an impact on the feasibility of the deadline. NWO therefore wants to give all researchers, science journalists and communicators the opportunity to submit a solid proposal and is thus extending the deadline to Friday 10 April 2020, at 14.00 CE(S)T. Register at nwo.nl/bessensap

In view of the current pandemic, is NWO considering funding accelerated innovative research into combating the virus?

Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport Hugo de Jonge informed the House of Representatives on Wednesday 1 April that the cabinet is allocating a total of €42 million for research on the most urgent corona-related research questions. It is estimated that these additional funds will enable some 80 to 100 research issues to be investigated.

News | Additional investment for accelerated research programmes on corona

Will NWO still send me signed letters by regular mail?

Due to the measures taken because of Covid-19 we cannot provide you with a signed letter at this moment nor deliver it by regular mail. Therefore you receive this email with the letter in the attachment. When the restrictions are lifted we will send the letter by regular mail as well.

What is going to happen to the scheduled user committee meetings?

The user committee meetings will take place as much as possible by teleconferencing or videoconferencing. NWO currently sees no reason to cancel or postpone them. The project leader can, however, choose to postpone scheduled meetings in the project instead of organising them via teleconferencing. In that case, NWO will ask the project leader to contact the programme officer concerned.

In addition, NWO asks the project leaders to monitor the progress of the project as much as possible. NWO recommends organising the necessary bilateral consultations with the user organisations involved by telephone, where possible.

News updates

At this stage, it is impossible to foresee the consequences that this unavoidable postponement will have in the long term. In some cases, deadlines or other parts of the application process will inevitably need to shift or be adjusted again. Nwo.nl/corona will always contain the most recent information, and it will be regularly updated. If there is no further information about a specific round you are searching for, then that means there is none available at that point in time.