Human Capital: Professional Games for Professional Skills

Researchers and partners may apply for grants to finance research into Professional Games for Professional Skills that will raise the level of human capital in the Netherlands.


With the Human Capital: Professional Games for Professional Skills call, NWO aims to facilitate fruitful collaboration between scientists from a wide range of relevant disciplines, industry and public parties to address issues that have the promise to contribute to practice in the near future.

The call will exploit and enrich professional gaming and virtual/augmented reality as tools for development, training, and maintenance of skills from secondary education level onwards up to senior workers. Research and development projects should be directed to professional skills as exploited in modern society. Projects should integrate different scientific fields - educational science, game design, neurocognitive research - to bring skill development in the 21st century.

The project design logically involves an actual educational or professional training context applying virtual reality or games. The company or institution that houses this context can be designated as ‘user’ of the project results (see paragraph 4.2, criteria B1).

Who can apply

The Human Capital programme, which is both interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary in nature, focuses on collaboration between academic parties, businesses, governments, civil society organisations such as educational institutions, and other knowledge institutions. To fulfil this criterion, all partners involved in a research proposal must form a consortium.

Each proposal has one main applicant. A proposal can be submitted on behalf of a consortium by a researcher affiliated to one of the knowledge institutions listed below:

  • Dutch universities;
  • NWO and KNAW 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).

The main applicant submits the application on behalf of the consortium and is responsible for the scientific cohesion and the results as well as for the financial accounting. In this call, a researcher can be involved in no more than two applications, and can be the main applicant of one application.

What to apply

This call for proposals covers two types of projects: strategic research and embedded research.

Strategic research

This instrument aims for research proposals studying long term research questions. The core of this instrument is funding PhD positions and post doc researchers.

To apply for funding through this instrument, the following criteria must be met:

  • The amount of funding that can be applied for with NWO (grant) is minimum €250,000 and maximum €600,000;
  • The project duration must be minimum two years and maximum five years.

Embedded research

This instrument aims to stimulate and create more interaction and cooperation between academia and industry. Scientists, knowledge users and companies are able to perform research together or further develop products or services. Embedded research can take on different forms. It can consist of a researcher temporarily working at a company, existing lab or atelier, and performing research with a question driven character in cooperation with that company, lab or atelier. It can also be a person from the creative industries who works temporarily, or part-time, in a research environment under the guidance of a senior researcher. In that case, an appointment for this person as a PhD candidate is possible.

To apply for funding through this instrument, the following criteria must be met:

  • The amount of funding that can be applied for with NWO (grant) is minimum €75,000 and maximum €125,000;
  • The project duration must be minimum six months and maximum two years.

When to apply

  • The closing date for the submission of expressions of intent was May 19, 2016, 14:00 hours (CET).
  • The closing date for the submission of full proposals was June 30, 2016, 14:00 hours (CET).



A. Scientific quality

  1. Scientific quality of the proposal: objectives, approach and methods, fitness for purpose and feasibility;
  2. Scientific quality of consortium: national and international embedding, publications, expertise, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary collaboration, and access to required equipment and facilities;
  3. Innovative nature: development of new knowledge/concepts and/or groundbreaking methods and technologies.

B. Knowledge utilisation

  1. The added value and practical application of the envisaged research results, in economic, technological and/or social terms. How are organizations with educationalor professional training expertise involved, i.e. ‘users’ of the project results?;
  2. Added value of the public-private partnership: interaction and collaboration between researchers and public and private sector partners in the consortium.

C. Appropriateness

  1. Extent to which the application is in keeping with the aim of this call for proposals (see chapter 2).


  • 5 February 2016 Match making event
  •  March 2016 Publication of call for proposals
  • 19 May 2016 Deadline for submitting expressions of intent
  • 30 June 2016 Deadline for submitting full proposals
  • July - September 2016 Consultation reviewers
  • September 2016 Applicants are given opportunity to respond to comments from reviewers
  • December 2016 Assessment and prioritisation by assessment committee
  • January 2017 Decision by NWO




Temporarily closed for application


30 June 2016 14:00

Grant type



2 million euro

Science area

National Initiative Brain & Cognition Humanities Netherlands Initiative for Education Research Social Sciences


Creative Industry


Theme: Creative Industry (2011-2014)


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