Practice orientated research in higher education

The NRO Program Committee for Higher Education has launched this new call for practice orientated research to higher education to contribute to innovation and improvement of higher education and to contribute to the emergence of new partnerships between institutions, researchers and teachers in higher education.


The primary goal of practice orientated research in higher education, as funded by NRO, is to answer questions related to the educational practice and by doing so contributing to innovation and improvement of education. The research meets the criteria for scientific research. During the research scientific insights will be used. The research will be conducted in the educational practice and during the project there will be an intensive cooperation between researchers and educational professionals. This starts with formulating the research question and continues until the research results are implemented and disseminated. There is a constant two way cooperation.  

The research produces new insights and tangible products which are relevant and applicable (as much as possible) for other educational contexts than the context in which the research takes place. With this Call for Proposals the Program Committee for Higher Education wants to contribute to new partnerships in the Dutch field of higher education. After selection of project leaders and consortium partners, and formation of consortia NRO will provide the consortia with time and opportunity to further develop their proposal. In this stage, the consortia are no longer in competition with each other. This enables a better opportunity to reach cohesion (and improves possible cooperation) between the research projects. 

The conditions and assessment criteria for project leaders and applicants invite to further define the research activities during the research project.

This way NRO hopes to contribute to agile educational research.

Who can apply

The application and granting procedure consists of three phases:

  1. The Call for Project leaders invites professors, lecturers at a university of applied sciences, associate professors and senior researchers with an employment to a funded institution for higher education in the Netherlands for at least the duration of the intended project to apply as project leader for one of the three projects. The assessment committee advises about the selection of the project leaders according to the procedure and specific assessment criteria as set out in the Call for Project leaders. 
  2. The Call for Consortium partners invites (individual or collaborating) researchers, teacher researchers and other educational professionals to make their motivation to participate in one of the consortia known. During a matchmaking day, three consortia will be formed. In case of too many applications for the matchmaking day, the assessment committee will select the parties with the best chance to make a match with each other and the project leaders. 
  3. The Call for Proposals invites the consortia to write their full project proposals. The assessment committee assesses the final proposals according to the assessment criteria as specified in the Call for Proposals.  

What to apply for

The budget will be divided between three research projects, each researching one of the three themes that are relevant for the entire higher education sector in the Netherlands:

Professional development of teachers – all instruments with the purpose to enable teachers to provide good education. For example:

  • Teacher communities and networks 
  • Training trajectories for teaching at higher education institutes (such as BKO and SKO trajectories)
  • Smarter use of ICT by teaching staff

International and intercultural education – better education for students with various cultural backgrounds. For example:

  • International and/or culturally diverse ‘classrooms’ (learning effects, didactical issues)
  • Accessibility and inclusiveness of higher education in the Netherlands
  • Distance learning (learning effects, didactic issues)

Flexible education - education that trains for and in a multidisciplinary and ever changing society (including the labour market and working environment). Research into the learning effects and organizational issues of for instance:

  • Community service learning
  • Flexible curriculum, modularisation and micro credentials
  • Workplace-based learning, online learning, learning in a multi-stakeholder environment
  • Multi-, inter- and cross disciplinary education

In this phase, the position of project leader and with it, the right to draw up a research proposal in collaboration with consortium partners is ‘that what can be applied for’.

In the call for research partners there is no application for budget for a research project yet. The right to participate in the matchmaking day and with it a chance to participate in the consortium is 'that what can be applied for’. In the Call for Proposals a totaal of maximum 2.625.000 euro is available. Per project, a maximum of 875.000 euro for material and personnel costs directly related to the project is ‘that what can be applied for’. 

All costs must be substantially motivated. Personnel and material costs should be specified for the first two years of the project and if and where appropriate or required also for the third and fourth year (for example when a PhD or Postdoc will be appointed). For the third and fourth year, costs can be reserved without specification. A grant can only be applied for costs of staff and organisations established in the Netherlands.

When to apply

1. Call for Project leaders

  • deadline letter of intent 19 March 2019, 14:00 hours
  • deadline application for project leaders 23 April 2019, 14:00 hours

2. Call for Consortium partners

  • deadline application for consortium partners 12 November 2019, 14:00 hours

(Call opens after the project leaders have been announced: early October 2019)

3. Call for Proposals 

  • deadline full proposals: 26 March 2020, 14:00 hours



Assessment criteria Call for Project leaders:
A. Quality of the essay (50%)
B. Quality of the applicant(s) (50%)

Assessment criteria Call for Consortium partners: 
The assessment committee  will select the most promising partners, based on:
1. Motivation and fit (50%) 
2. The expertise and experience (50%)

Assessment criteria Call for Proposals:
1. Practical relevance (40%)
2. Scientific quality (40%)
3. Quality of the consortium (20%)

Detailed descriptions of the criteria can be found in the three calls.


1. Call for Project leaders 

  • Februari 2019: Call for Project leaders published and procedure for application opened. Publication of framework for Call for Consortium partners (without essays) and Call for Proposals.
  • Submission letters of intent;
  • Submission application for project leader;
  • Assessment of applications by the Assessment Committee Higher Education;
  • Pre-advise assessment committee;
  • Rebuttal;
  • Assessment by the assessment committee, selection for interviews;
  • Decision by the assessment committee;
  • Interviews by the assessment committee;
  • Decision by the assessment committee.

2. Call for consortium partners

  • Submission applications for consortium partner.
  • Pre-advise assessment committee;
  • Decision.
  • Invitation for matchmaking day

3. Call for proposals 

  • Formation of research consortia during the matchmaking day;
    Establishing the consortia and preparing the research proposals during the working conferences;
  • Submission final application;
  • Assessment by the assessment committee;
  • Decision making by the Assessment Committee Higher Education.




Temporarily closed for application


23 April 2019 14:00

Grant type



For the granting procedure

Science area

Netherlands Initiative for Education Research


Thematic research and public -private partnership (2015-2018)


Mw. P. Hindriks MSc. +31 (0)70 3494216