With the Gravitation programme, the Dutch Government aims to encourage research by consortia of top researchers in the Netherlands. Researchers must be carrying out innovative and influential research in their field. NWO is realising the selection procedure of this program concerning direct government funding at the request of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.


The gravitation programme aims at bringing the best researchers in a discipline or in several disciplines together and to facilitate excellence and the international position of research in the Netherlands.

The consortia belong to the world top in the field of research or have the potential to do so.

A consortium is a collaboration between the best researchers in the Netherlands in a discipline or in several disciplines. Consortia can arise from Dutch research schools but also from influential top researchers and top research groups consolidating their strengths.

Who can apply

The Executive Boards of the following universities can submit proposals:

Erasmus University Rotterdam, Open University in the Netherlands, Protestant Theological University, Radboud University, University of Groningen, Delft University of Technology, Eindhoven University of Technology, Theological University Apeldoorn, Theological University Kampen, Leiden University, Maastricht University, University of Twente, Utrecht University, University of Amsterdam, Tilburg University, University of Humanistic Studies, VU University Amsterdam, Wageningen University and Research Centre.

Please note: only a limited number of proposals may be submitted. Each university may submit a maximum of four proposals as the official representative of a consortium.

What to apply for

Funding can requested for new and additional new costs directly related to the research programme or to the organisation of the consortium. This includes:

  • New (and existing) personnel and material facilities;
  • Investments in equipment/infrastructure and other facilities as well as the costs of exploiting these up to a maximum of 25% of the requested contribution;
  • Management costs for the consortium for a maximum period of 10 years.

In addition, the main applicant and up to five co-applicants can claim the costs of replacement personnel to perform their normal duties, subject to a limit of twenty per cent of the total salary.

When to apply

The closing date for submitting proposals for the 2016 round was 10 May, 14:00 CET.



  1. Quality of the researchers involved and of the consortium (weighting 30%)
  2. Quality of the scientific research programme (weighting 35%)
  3. Organisation structure and policy of the consortium (weighting 25%)
  4. Knowledge utilisation (weighting 10%) knowledge utilisation (10%)

Furthermore the following policy criterion is applicable:

In terms of content the research programme is well linked to (the routes of) the Dutch National Research Agenda


A least four referees’ reports are requested for all admissible proposals. Proposals are processed by a broad-based selection committee. The committee conducts the selection procedure in two stages.

In the first stage, proposals are assessed in three separate scientific domains: the humanities and social sciences, the natural and technical sciences, and the biomedical and life sciences. If the proposals are of sufficient quality, the committee invites several applicants for an interview.

In the second stage, interviews are conducted by the plenary selection committee. After the science-wide interview phase, a ranking will be established based on the assessment criteria.

The selection committee advises the Executive Board of NWO. The Executive Board will assess how the procedure was carried out and how the proposals link with the Dutch National Research Agenda. It will subsequently draw up an award proposal for the Minister for Education Culture and Science. The Minister will then take a funding decision.



Temporarily closed for application


10 May 2016 14:00

Grant type



50 million euros per year. For the 2016 round: ca. 110 million euros for new commitments up to a maximum of ten years

Science area

NWO-wide Earth and Life Sciences Chemical Sciences Physical Sciences Humanities Social Sciences Physics Technical Sciences ZonMw




Investing in talent and curiosity-driven research (2011-2014)


Ministry of Education, Culture and Science


Dhr. drs. J.K. Wiegel Dhr. drs. J.K. Wiegel +31 (0)70 3440644