NWO qualification system

NWO gives all full proposals a qualification based on the applicable criteria.

Such a qualification offers applicants and applying universities a uniform insight into the quality evaluation of the research proposal. And it offers NWO a good overview of the quality of the applications and enables NWO to see how many excellent or very good proposals are submitted


All funding instruments will use the same qualification scales. The qualification has the following categories:

  • excellent
  • very good
  • good
  • unsatisfactory
  • is not eligible for the next phase of the NWO assessment procedure (only applies to funding instruments with a preselection phase)



The qualification will be made known to the researcher in the same letter in which he or she is also informed about NWO's decision whether or not to award funding.

The qualification system applies to all funding instruments from NWO, Technology Foundation STW and the FOM Foundation and to all instruments realised in collaboration with third parties where NWO/FOM/STW make a contribution of 50% or more or where the contribution of NWO is more than 2 million euros per year.

For ZonMw the qualification system applies for the instruments where NWO makes a contribution of 50% or more and/or all programmes for which the semi-structural contribution of NWO is more than 2 million euros per year.