Smart Culture - Creative Cities

Researchers can request funding on behalf of a consortium consisting of at least two knowledge institutions and one private partner for research project focused on urban development in relation to the creative industries.


The ambition of the sector creative industries is to make The Netherlands the most creative economy of Europe by 2020. With the call Smart Culture – Creative Cities, NWO aims to strengthen the knowledge base for the creatieve industries.

Indicating and shaping the technological, economic and cultural transformations of the city takes creativity: ‘smart cities’ need ‘creative industry’ to critically study, guide and direct the technological developments that shape the city. This call primarily focuses on the research domains (1) Transformations of city and urbanity; (2) Shaping the city; and (3) Studying the city.

The call is based on the Roadmap SMART Culture (in Dutch), that is part of the Knowledge and Innovation Agenda 2016-2019 of the TKI CLICKNL. This call also fits within the knowledge initiative Verbinden van Duurzame Steden (Connecting Sustainable Cities; VerDuS), that works on the development of new knowledge for metropolitan issues.

Who can apply

In this call, a researcher can submit maximum one application as main applicant. As a co-applicant, a researcher can be involved in more than one proposal.

Applications can be submitted on behalf of consortia consisting of at least two knowledge institutions and one private partner, that (by itself or together with multiple private partners and public partners) contributes the requested matching.

The main applicant must be an experienced researcher with a PhD (i.e. full professor, associate professor or senior scientific researcher in a KNAW- or NWO-institute and the Netherlands Cancer Institute) and be employed for at least the duration of the application process and the duration of the project for which the funding is requested.

Only researchers from the following knowledge institutions can submit applications:

  • Dutch universities;
  • KNAW and NWO institutes;
  • the Netherlands Cancer Institute;
  • the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen;
  • researchers from the DUBBLE Beamline at the ESRF in Grenoble;
  • NCB Naturalis;
  • Advanced Research Centre for NanoLithography (ARCNL).

What to apply for

In this call, applications can be submitted for embedded resesarch, strategic research, or a combination of both.

A. Embedded research

Embedded research is intended to stimulate and further develop interaction and co-operation between science and industry. This way, scientists, knowledge users and companies can come together to perform research or to develop products or services for the creative industries. The following conditions apply:

  • The requested funding is minimum 75,000 euro and maximum 125,000 euro;
  • Duration of the project is minimum six months and maximum five years;
  • With this funding at least one researcher must be appointed for minimum 0.5 fte for the duration of the project.

B. Strategic research

Strategic research proposals focus on long term research questions of industry or (societal) institutions. Funding for PhD or postdoc research are at the core of this instrument.

  • The requested funding is minimum 250,000 euro and maximum 500,000 euro;
  • Duration of the project is minimum two years and maximum five years;
  • With this funding at least two researchers must be appointed for minimum 0.5 fte for two years. 

When to apply

  • The last possibility to submit a letter of intent via is 17 January 2017, 14:00 hours CE(S)T.
  • The deadline for submitting full proposals via ISAAC is 14 March 2017, 14:00 CE(S)T.



The applications in this call will be assessed based on the following criteria:

I Scientific quality

  • The innovative character;
  • Aim and research questions or task objectives;
  • Research plan;
  • Potential for groundbreaking scientific contributions;
  • Multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary scientific co-operation;
  • Composition research team;
  • Feasibility.  

II Valorisation / relevance

  • The societal or scientific importance for the creative industries;
  • Attention for knowledge utilization and implementation of the project results;
  • Balance between costs and benefits.

Applications for the call Smart Culture – Creative Cities must obtain scores required to at least qualify as ‘very good’ in the qualification system of NWO to be considered for funding. Also see


Letter of intent

The letter of intent is an obligatory step before submitting a full proposal. In case NWO suspects a (possible) problem for the eligibility of the expected full proposal, based on the available information, the main applicant will be contacted as soon as possible. Based on the letter of intent, no pre-selection of any kind will take place.

Full proposal

The received full proposals will be presented to TKI CLICKNL to assess appropriateness of the proposals for the Roadmap SMART Culture. Simultaneously, the administrative eligibility of the proposals will be determined by the NWO bureau based on the criteria for eligibility as described in the call for proposals. Proposals that are appropriate for the Roadmap as well as eligible, will be assessed by independent reviewers. Applicants will have the possibility to respond to the reviews with a rebuttal. Next, an international assessment committee will draft a recommendation for funding based on the full proposals, reviews and rebuttals. A decision on funding will be taken by the qualified NWO governance body* in September 2017. An indicative time schedule can be found in the call.

*See the sidebar on the right for more information on the NWO governance structure as of 1 January 2017.



Closed for application


14 March 2017 14:00

Grant type



2,400,000 euro

Science area

Social Sciences and Humanities


Collaboration in themes (2011-2014) Theme: Creative Industry (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.


Mw. A. van Velze MA BSc Mw. A. van Velze MA BSc +31 (0)70 3494350