Within the KIC 2020-2023, budget will be made available for research into circular plastics and bio-based resources, in the context of the Knowledge and Innovation Agenda (KIA). Interdisciplinary consortia including research institutes and public and private organisations, can submit proposals with a total budget of at least € 750,000 and at most € 1,500,000.


The Dutch climate policy has ambitions to realise a 49 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 and 80 to 95 percent by 2050. In the National Climate Agreement, this has been translated into objectives per sector that have been embraced by a broad group of stakeholders. Two important sectors involved in this are industry and agri-food.

The aim of the call for proposals Circularity is to encourage interdisciplinary research that facilitates the transition towards a sustainable circular carbon system. The focus covers the entire value chain: raw materials, production, the (re)use of semi-finished products, products and carbon in the waste phase.

The following two research themes fall within the scope of this call for proposals: circular plastics and bio-based resources. Both themes can be combined. The societal aspects must be an integral part of the research.

Who can apply

Pre-proposals and full proposals are submitted by the main applicant and one or more co-applicants. A proposal is written by a consortium in which besides the applicants other participants are involved as well. Besides the main applicant and co-applicant(s) a consortium always consists of two or more co-funders, possibly supplemented by one or more collaborating partners.

All participants must play an active role in the formulation of the research questions and the design and realisation of the project.

More information about specific conditions regarding who can apply can be found in section 3.1 of the call for proposals.

What to apply for

A budget of € 5,000,000.- is available for this call for proposals. Funding can be requested for research proposals with a total budget of at least € 750,000.- and at most € 1,500,000.-. NWO will fund a maximum of 85% of the total project budget; the rest of the funding must be contributed by co-funding. Co-funding may be provided in-cash or in-kind. At least 50% of the total co-funding must be from private sources. More information about the conditions for co-funding can be found in section 3.5.2 of the call for proposals. For this call the following modules can be applied for:

  • Personnel costs
  • Material costs
  • Investments
  • Knowledge utilisation
  • Internationalisation
  • Money follows Cooperation
  • Project management

The maximum duration of a project is six years.

When to apply

  • The deadline for submitting pre-proposals is 26 January 2021, before 14:00 hours CET.
  • The deadline for submitting full proposals is 25 May 2021, before 14:00 hours CEST.



In this call, both pre-proposals and full proposals are assessed according to the following four assessment criteria, for which the sub-criteria are described in Section 4.2.1.

  1. Problem posed and problem analysis, contribution to solution
  2. Expected impact and route to impact
  3. Quality of the consortium
  4. Quality of the research

Criteria 1 and 2 each carry a 25% weighting in the overall assessment, criterion 3, a weighting of 30% and criterion 4, a weighting of 20%.


Submitting a pre-proposal is a compulsory part of the application process. The selection committee assesses the pre-proposals and provides a non-binding advice with regard to submitting a full proposal.

Full proposals will be assessed by referees, after which applicants have the opportunity to submit a rebuttal. The selection committee then assesses the applications on the basis of the referee reports, the written rebuttal and an interview. The NWO Executive Board takes a decision about granting or rejecting the full proposals, based on the advice of the selection committee.

More information

A model project agreement is available via this link.



Open for preliminary proposals


26 January 2021 14:00

Grant type



5 million euros

Science area

Social Sciences and Humanities NWO-wide Applied and Engineering Sciences Exact and Natural Sciences


Knowledge and Innovation Covenant


Knowledge sharing (2019-2022)


Ralf Boland Ralf Boland +31 70 3494258