Arctic research for the Top Sector Water

Researchers can apply for funding for fundamental research projects that fit within the knowledge- and innovation agenda of the Top Sector Water and the Netherlands Polar Programme.


NWO is using the call 'Arctic research for the Top Sector Water’' to stimulate new fundamental and precompetitive scientific research projects in/about the Arctic region to strengthen the knowledge base and increase the applicability of knowledge in the Top Sector Water.

The Top Sector Water has formulated 19 themes for the years 2016-2019 in 3 subsectors - Maritime technology, Delta technology,
Water technology - in which joint knowledge programming and innovation development will be realised.

In consultation with universities, government and industry, NWO has formulated a strategic plan for the Netherlands Polar Programme (NPP) for 2016-2020, “Pole position NL 2.0”., wherein 4 themes were defined.

Proposals have to fit within one or more the 19 themes defined by the Top Sector Water and within one or more of the 4 themes defined in “Pole position NL 2.0”.

Who can apply

A principal applicant submits the application on behalf of the project consortium. The project consortium must consist of at least one research institute and one private sector partner. In addition, other private and/or (semi-) public parties can be part of the consortium.

The principal applicant must be a researcher at a Dutch university or a research institute recognised by NWO. The principal applicant must hold a doctorate and/or be professor, and have a paid appointment for at least the duration of the application process and the research for which funding is requested.

What to apply for

It is possible to apply for NWO grants up to 500,000 euro . There is a matching requirement. The NWO financing is maximally 70% of the total project budget. The private and public sector partners in the project consortium are to make a joint contribution of at least 30% of the overall project costs. Contributions from private and public sector parties may be made cash or in kind, with a minimum cash contribution of 15% of the total cash requirement for the project.

The project budget can be used for:

  • Personnel costs: Temporary scientific personnel (PhD students, postdocs) and temporary non-academic staff (technicians).
  • Material costs related to spending required in order to perform the research. Costs associated with knowledge transfer, valorisation or instruments for the research may to a limited extent be included in the budget to be financed by the grant. Regarding the NWO-financed part of the grant, material costs can never be more than 40%.

When to apply

The closing date for the submission of proposals was 11 April 2017, 14:00 hrs (CET).



Applications are to be assessed on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Originality and scientific quality;
  • Potential for societal and economic application.

The two criteria are given equal weight in the assessment procedure and prioritization.


The procedure comprises the following stages:

  • Determining the admissibility of the applications;
  • Review by foreign referees and rebuttal;
  • Assessment by a committee for each compartment, comprising renowned researchers with a background in the relevant scientific disciplines and representatives from the private and societal sector;
  • decision by the competent NWO authority based on the selection committees' advice.



Closed for application


11 April 2017 14:00

Grant type



1,0 mln euro

Science area

Exact and Natural Sciences


Collaboration in themes (2011-2014) Theme: Water and Climate (2011-2014)

NWO in transition: changes funding instruments

On 1 January 2017, NWO will adopt a new organisation structure. Current funding instruments will remain unchanged until a decision about any change is taken. NWO will announce this change at least six months in advance. 2017 will be a transition year and the new funding instruments will become effective no later than 1 January 2018.


Dhr. dr. R. Winkler Dhr. dr. R. Winkler +31 (0)70 3440722