NWA Idea Generator (NWA-IDG)

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 opposite).

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.

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


Researchers together with societal stakeholders from the entire public knowledge chain are called upon to submit research proposals for small projects with a creative and innovative focus and with a potential for societal impact.


The Idea Generator call intends to foster this curiosity by supporting out-of-the-box thinkers to submit creative, exciting and innovative research ideas which are relevant for the NWA program. The NWA wants to achieve a closer connection between society and research. Therefore the NWA Idea Generator funds projects that address a societal question, that have potential for societal impact and where there is a clear collaboration between research and (a) societal stakeholder(s) throughout the project: from formulating the relevant research questions to executing the project.

Who can apply

In the Idea Generator, small projects can be funded to further develop a new idea by doing research. Applicants of all disciplines and backgrounds are welcome. Proposals that focus on practice-oriented research, applied research or fundamental research are welcome. Researchers from all phases of their career are welcome. Researchers should submit a proposal individually, but they must show a collaboration with a societal stakeholder. NWO strives to ensure that the success rates for female applicants will be at least equal to those for male researchers on average and in the medium term. We explicitly invite female researchers to apply. Researchers can submit an application if they are employed at one of the following organisations:

  • Universities in the Kingdom of the Netherlands;
  • University medical centres;
  • NWO and KNAW institutes;
  • Universities of applied sciences, as meant in article 1.8 of the Dutch Higher Education and Research Act;
  • TO2 institutes ;
  • the Netherlands Cancer Institute;
  • the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen;
  • the DUBBLE Beamline at the ESRF in Grenoble;
  • NCB Naturalis;
  • Advanced Research Centre for NanoLithography (ARCNL);
  • Prinses Máxima Center for pediatric oncology.

What to apply for

The subsidy has a maximum amount of €50.000 per project. The maximum runtime of the project is one year. For the NWA Idea Generator there are no requirements or obligations on the form of the research. This means that any type of research suited to execute the proposed idea is possible. Examples of types of research that could be chosen for are (societal) internships, living labs/field labs/knowledge labs. More information about can be found in section 3.2 of the call for proposals.

When to apply

  • The deadline for the submission of proposals was February 27, 2020 14:00:00 CET.



To make the ranking, the assessor looks at all assessment aspects as listed below. The assessor uses the aspects to make an assessment of the proposal and makes the ranking on this basis. All proposals are prepared anonymously to ensure the assessor can make an unbiased assessment of the quality of the proposal. The assessment aspects are:

  • Societal question and impact
  • A creative and innovative idea
  • Project plan

More information can be found in section 4.2 of the call for proposals.


As an applicant, you are also an assessor in the NWA Idea Generator assessment process: applicants will assess each other’s proposals. NWO wants to keep the assessment procedure of the Idea Generator short and efficient to allow projects to start as soon as possible. Assessment by the applicants also creates involvement in and understanding of the assessment process. The applicants will also have a large collective expertise within the clusters. This assessment procedure is relatively new, but has been piloted in the call for proposals of NWO Open Competition Domain Science – XS. This has yielded positive experiences.

More information about the timetable and the procedure can be found in section 4.1 of the call for proposals.

More information



Closed for application


27 February 2020 14:00

Grant type



2 million euros

Science area

Social Sciences and Humanities WOTRO Science for Global Development NWO-wide Applied and Engineering Sciences National Science Agenda Medical Sciences Nationaal Regieorgaan Praktijkgericht Onderzoek Netherlands Initiative for Education Research Exact and Natural Sciences


Idea Generator (NWA-IDG)


Research (2019-2022)


Ministry of Education, Culture and Science


Annemarie van den Bos Annemarie van den Bos +31 (0)70 349 42 18 NWA-IDG@nwo.nl