Dutch Research Agenda - Theme: Promising start for children with the help of big data

Phase II

This call for proposals - phase II invites knowledge institutions, professionals from maternity care and / or youth healthcare, social organisations and other interested partners to participate in consortia aimed at research and improved practice within the theme 'Promising start for children with the help of big data'. The consortia will work in a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary manner and will have a knowledge-chain-wide composition. The consortia are composed of a minimum of 5 participants from phase I of the programme.

NWO’s policy towards funding and the impact of the coronavirus

As a result of the outbreak of the coronavirus, NWO has drafted a guideline to provide applicants with clarity. NWO takes into consideration that under these circumstances it is not always possible that all candidates have an equal opportunity to submit their applications and it is important that we are confident when evaluating applications that we are doing so correctly.

Please note deadline shifts: The deadline for rounds whose pre-registration deadline has already passed, and for which detailed applications need to be submitted, will be extended by two months.

The closing date shown on this page is not up to date. It gives no indication of the new closing date. NWO will communicate the new time frame for this call, including the current closing date, as soon as it becomes clear how long the measures restricting physical contact will last.

For more information about measures for which no deadlines have passed yet – ongoing rounds - , and updates on this temporary guideline go to nwo.nl/corona-en


Focusing on prevention early in a child’s life, before and during the pregnancy and after birth, can yield many benefits. The programme “'Promising start for children with the help of big data' is aimed at connecting big data research with research into prevention. It is assumed that this will enable more targeted help and support to be offered in the chain of maternity care and youth healthcare to (future) families and children in the first 1000 days before, during and after the pregnancy and birth.

The research projects should lead to new perspectives for the use of big data in identifying expectant families and children in vulnerable situations. The aim is to be able to offer timely and appropriate care and assistance so that children can get a promising start.

The call for proposals - phase II follows a preliminary study that was carried out in phase I of the programme 'Promising start for children with the help of big data'. Based on scenario research, main themes have been identified for research in phase II (see section 2.2 of the call for proposals).

Who can apply

A consortium is composed of at least five participants who were selected for, and have participated in, Phase 1 of the programme “Promising start for children with the help of big data”. If necessary, any required missing expertise in the consortium can be obtained by including parties that did not participate in Phase 1. Applications must be submitted by a consortium in which the broad knowledge chain, as described in Chapter 2 of the Call for proposals, is represented.

We differentiate four categories of participants in the consortium:

  • Main applicant;
  • Co-applicant(s);
  • Co-financier(s);
  • Cooperating partner(s)

The main applicant submits the application on behalf of the consortium. More information about the four categories of participants as well as specific requirements regarding who can apply, can be found in paragraph 3.1 of the call for proposals.

What to apply for

For a research proposal in this call, the maximum that can be applied for is € 1.32 million for a project with a maximum duration of 30 months.

Funding can be requested to cover the following types of costs (modules):

  •  Personnel costs;
  • Material costs;
  • Knowledge utilisation;
  • Internationalisation;
  • Money follows Collaboration.

Extensive information about the modules can be found in paragraph 3.2 and 6.1 of the call for proposals.

When to apply

  • The deadline for submitting applications is Tuesday, 8 December 2020, before 14:00:00 CET. Applications should be submitted digitally to ZonMw via ProjectNet.



The proposals will be assessed against the following three criteria:

  • Quality of the project proposal;
  • Quality of the consortium.
  • Potential scientific and/or societal breakthroughs.

The criteria will carry equal weighting and each account for one-third of the total assessment. An explanation of the criteria can be found in paragraph 4.2 of the call for proposals.


Assessment of the quality of the applications is realised through (inter)national peer-review. At least three referees from the different substantive expertise areas will assess the grant applications. In the written rebuttal, the applicants will provide their response to the referees’ assessments. The applicants will also give averbal rebuttal during the selection committee’s assessment meeting. The committee will subsequently rank the proposals and give each proposal a qualification. The assessment results will be issued in the form of an advice to the NWO Executive Board, which will subsequently take a decision.

More information

More information can be found on the ZonMw webpage.



Open for application


8 December 2020 14:00

Grant type



€ 2,64 million

Science area

Exact and Natural Sciences Social Sciences and Humanities Health Research and Development Nationaal Regieorgaan Praktijkgericht Onderzoek National Science Agenda


Promising start for children with the help of big data


Research (2019-2022)


Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport


Drs. Matthea van Leeuwe-Blankespoor Drs. Matthea van Leeuwe-Blankespoor +31 (0)70 3495334 leeuwe@zonmw.nl