Mathematics Clusters - PhD positions

Researchers can apply for funding for innovative scientific research within the four mathematics clusters: DIAMANT, GQT, NDNS + and STAR. The funding of these research proposals is for a PhD position within a Dutch knowledge institution. The research should be conducted within one or more of the four mathematics clusters.


In order to give an extra boost to the pooling of resources of Mathematics in the Netherlands and to its international position, this call will help consolidate the mathematics clusters (see action 4 in the Delta Plan for Dutch mathematics). The purpose of this call is to create additional PhD positions in mathematics. This call for proposals is intended for applications for innovative or high-risk scientific research with a research question of high quality and great scientific urgency within the four mathematics clusters. The proposed research should fall within one or more of the themes defined in the 2019-2029 research roadmaps of DIAMANT, GQT, NDNS+ or STAR. It should also be relevant to one or more of the seven focus areas of mathematics, as described in the sector plan.

The creation of these PhD positions will serve as an investment in the basic needs that the mathematics discipline meets in Dutch science, with the aim of contributing to an improvement to teaching and research capabilities.

Who can apply

Researchers can apply if they:

  • are employed (i.e., hold a salaried position) at a Dutch university or a research institute recognised by NWO;
  • and also have an appointment period for at least the duration of the application procedure and the entire duration of the research for which the grant is being applied for. 

Details can be found in the Call for proposals.

What to apply for

For a research proposal in this round, one PhD position may be applied for.

For the applications for PhD positions in the DIAMANT, NDNS+, and GQT clusters, the institutes/universities should provide their contributions through matching. For DIAMANT and NDNS+, the matching percentage is set at 50%. This means that 50% of the salary costs of a PhD position should be paid by the institutes/universities. For GQT, the matching percentage is set at 20%, which means that 20% of the salary costs of a PhD position should be paid by the institutes/universities. For STAR, the matching percentage is set at 0%.

When to apply

  • The deadline for the submission of preproposals was January 7, 2020, 14:00 hours CE(S)T.
  • The adjusted deadline for the submission of full proposals is 8 September 2020, 14.00 hours CE(S)T.



Preproposals are assessed for:

  1. Scientific quality of the proposal (what/who)
  2. Relevance of the proposal to the call: Mathematics clusters - PhD positions

Full proposals are assessed for: 

  1. Scientific quality of the proposal (what/who)
  2. Scientific and/or societal impact (why)


This procedure involves compulsory preproposals. Four assessment committees will be set up for the four mathematics clusters who will assess the preproposals. The assessment committee assesses the admissible preproposals based on the substantive assessment criteria for preproposals, prioritizing them on their likelihood of success, and places them before the Executive Board of the NWO Domain Science. The Executive Board decides which preproposals may be worked out in more detail.

Admissible full proposals are assessed by independent external experts. The referees' reports are sent to the applicant for a written rebuttal. Subsequently, an assessment committee will assess the proposals based on the proposals, the referees’ reports, and the rebuttal received. The assessment committee advises the Executive Board of the NWO Domain Science about the quality of the submitted proposals, placing them in order of priority. Based on this advice and the available financial resources for each cluster, the Executive Board of the NWO Domain Science will decide whether to approve or reject the proposals.

More information

More information on the website of  the mathematics clusters and their research roadmaps.



Open for full proposals, by invitation only


8 September 2020 14:00

Grant type

Cooperation and Exchange


EUR 4 million

Science area

Exact and Natural Sciences


Mathematics Clusters


Research (2019-2022)


Dr. Femke Stephan Dr. Femke Stephan +31 (0)70 3440522