Graduate School Green Top Sectors

Please note deadline shifts: 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 (the closing date shown opposite).

NWO’s policy towards funding and the impact of the coronavirus

As a result of the outbreak of the coronavirus, NWO has drafted a guideline to provide applicants with clarity. NWO takes into consideration that under these circumstances it is not always possible that all candidates have an equal opportunity to submit their applications and it is important that we are confident when evaluating applications that we are doing so correctly.

Please note deadline shifts: 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.

The closing date shown on this page is not up to date. It gives no indication of the new closing date. NWO will communicate the new time frame for this call, including the current closing date, as soon as it becomes clear how long the measures restricting physical contact will last.

For more information about measures for which no deadlines have passed yet – ongoing rounds - , and updates on this temporary guideline go to


This programme offers talented MSc students the opportunity to write, in collaboration with knowledge institutions and private parties, their own proposal for a PhD project within the area of the top sector Agri&Food and Horticulture & Starting Materials.


The aim of this programme is to facilitate innovative and high-quality scientific research within the research field of the top sectors Agri&Food and Horticulture & Starting Materials by engaging young talented researchers at the start of their career.

The fundamental research will lay a broad foundation for the direct application of the results and further applied research that will contribute to solving societal and economic challenges within the top sectors. 
In addition, this programme intends to train young talented researchers and to facilitate the exchange of knowledge between knowledge institutions, public institutions and companies.

Who can apply

A consortium, consisting of at least one knowledge institution eligible for NWO grants together with at least one private partner, may apply. One or more public partners may also take part in the consortium.
 A researcher with a tenured position at an NWO-eligible knowledge institution acts on behalf of the consortium as the main applicant. The proposed PhD candidate will defend the proposal during the interview and it is his/her performance which will be taken into account in the assessment.

What to apply for

The maximum NWO budget that can be applied for is 250k euro and can be used for one PhD position within a public knowlegde institution. In addition, material costs, costs for knowledge utilisation and for the module 'Money follows Collaboration' can, to a minor extend, be part of the project budget.  

There is a matching requirement. For every project, an cash matching of at least 8% (25k euro) as well as an in-kind matching of at least 12% (37,5k euro) of the total project budget is required. In case the maximum NWO budget is requested, the total project budget will be: 250k (NWO budget) + 25k (cash matching) + 37,5k (in-kind matching) = 312,5k euro

In addition to the main budget, a further budget of up to 30,000 euro per project is available for 'Enabling Technologies Hotels' <>, in connection with a pilot for the 'ETH-inside' initiative. Please see the Call for Proposals for the details.

When to apply

  • The closing date for the submission of proposals was 4 July 2019, 14:00 hrs CE(S)T.



Proposals will be evaluated according to the following criteria of equal weight:

  • Quality of the candidate and research group 
  • Scientific quality of the proposal; 
  • Research relevance and perspectives for utilisation.



The procedure comprises the following stages:

  • Proposals are subjected to an administrative/technical test;
  • The selection committee will assess the applications based on the assessment criteria and determines which candidates receive an invition for an interview;
  • The candidates will explain the proposals to the committee during the interviews;
  • The ENW-board takes the funding decision based on the selection committee's recommendations.



Temporarily closed for application


4 July 2019 14:00

Grant type



2,240,000 euro

Science area

Exact and Natural Sciences


Graduate School Green Top Sectors


Research (2019-2022)


Dr. Kirsten Spoorendonk Dr. Kirsten Spoorendonk +31 (0)70 3440776