Dutch Research Agenda - Theme: Health Inequalities

Promoting Health Potential of People with Lower Socioeconomic Status

Relatively large health disadvantages occur among people in a lower socio-economic position. How can this health potential be better addressed and utilized? The thematic program of the National Research Agenda makes € 4,835,000 available for empirical research into promising breakthroughs from a systems approach. A broad, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary consortium that encompasses the entire knowledge chain and within which knowledge institutions, social stakeholders and practitioners work together, can apply for funding for an extensive research program into achieving health benefits and avoiding health loss among people in a lower socio-economic position in society.


The goal of Health Inequalities – Promoting the Health Potential of People with Lower Socioeconomic Status is to perform empirical research in several settings, based on a systems approach that reflects the complexity of health inequalities between groups, examining cross-domain approaches designed to sustainably improve the health of people with lower socioeconomic status.  Consortia that encompass the entire knowledge chain perform interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research to achieve a breakthrough in enhancing health potential among people with lower socioeconomic status.

Who can apply

Consortia composed of knowledge institutions, societal stakeholders and parties from healthcare practice can apply. Consortia encompass the entire knowledge  chain (fundamental, applied and practice-oriented research) and perform interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research. Target groups (and their representatives) must have a role in the consortia.

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

This call consists of three phases:

  • Phase I - preproposal
  • Phase II – full proposal and start of projects
  • Phase III – synthesis project by joint consortia

For a research proposal in phase II, the maximum that can be applied for is € 1 million for a project with a maximum duration of 48 months. Up to € 835,000 euros will be awarded to a joint synthesis project in Phase III.

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 to give prior notice to of your intention to submit a pre-proposal is 25 February 2021.
  • The deadline to submit you pre-proposal is 13 April 2021, before 14:00:00 CET.
  • Deadline to submit your full proposal is 28 September 2021, before 14:00:00 CET.

Applications should be submitted digitally to ZonMw via ProjectNet.



This call for proposals has different assessment criteria for pre-proposals and full proposals in phases I and II, and the application for the joint project in phase III.
The pre-proposal and full proposal 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.


The pre-proposal will be assessed for relevance and, more generally, for its quality, on the basis of the assessment criteria by an independent committee. 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 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.

Meer informatie

More information can be found on the ZonMw webpage.



Open for preliminary proposals


13 April 2021 14:00


€4,835 miljoen

Science area

Health Research and Development


Dutch Research Agenda


Research (2019-2022)