Compensation schemes

NWO has developed compensation schemes to ensure that applicants are given an equal chance of receiving an NWO grant when they are prevented as a result of external circumstances (such as maternity leave, parental leave, care leave, sick leave or certain cases of force majeure) from submitting a proposal or going through the evaluation procedure. More information about these schemes and the situations they cover can be found below.


Extension clause

Some NWO grant programmes have a time limit that specifies until when researchers can submit a proposal after obtaining their PhD. The NWO extension clause gives applicants for personal grants additional time to compensate for the negative consequences that parenthood, care leave or illness have had on a researcher’s career progress.

Extension clause on grounds of training, care responsibilities or sick leave

Candidates who are unable to submit a proposal within the allotted time period for the Talent Scheme or the Rubicon programme can receive an extension if they are training to become a clinical specialist or can provide evidence that proves they were on care leave or extended sick leave. The maximum extension for the Talent Scheme is five years, and the maximum for the Rubicon grant is a one-year extension.

Extension clause for parents

The NWO extension clause for parents enables applicants for the Talent Scheme or the Rubicon programme to prolong the submission deadline if they had one or more children after obtaining their PhD. This will mitigate any negative influence on young parents’ chances of receiving a grant as a result of a career setback. Applicants who are indisposed due to their pregnancy or maternity leave are not the only ones eligible to use the compensation scheme. Applicants on adoption leave, partners’ leave and leave in relation to the arrival of a foster child also fall under the term ‘parental leave’ as used in the scheme.

With the Talent Scheme, the biological mother has a right to an extension of 18 months, and the other parent receives 6 months per child. Extensions for parents will only be granted if the children are part of their own household. The maximum overall extension per parent in this case is 5 years. With the Rubicon grant, the biological mother has a right to an extension of 16 weeks, and the other parent receives an extension of 5 weeks. Overall, each parent is entitled to an extension of 1 year with the Rubicon.

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Compensation scheme for parental leave

While the NWO extension clause for parents offers them a chance to prolong the submission deadline, the compensation scheme for parental leave provides alternatives to applicants for personal grants who are unable during the evaluation of their submission to provide written or verbal input according to the regular procedure. Other unforeseen circumstances that prevent applicants from participating in the submission procedure will be considered force majeure.

Indisposed during the procedure

The compensation scheme provides applicants who are indisposed as a result of parental leave with the opportunity to ask the secretary of the programme in question to allow them to submit their rebuttal or attend the interview at an earlier or later time. Applicants could also be eligible for an extension of the written input deadline (normally 5 business days), and they can opt to provide verbal input via Skype.

‘Parental leave’ is defined as maternity leave, adoption leave, partners’ leave and leave in relation to the arrival of a foster child.

Submitting a new application

In addition, the compensation scheme for parental leave also enables applicants to submit a new application in the next round, thereby retaining the opportunity to submit. If the pre-application phase was initially used, then the applicant may even skip this phase in the new round.

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