Rubicon aims to encourage talented researchers at Dutch universities and research institutes run by KNAW and NWO to dedicate themselves to a career in postdoctoral research.


International research experience is often essential for building up one’s scientific career. Rubicon offers talented researchers who have completed their doctorates in the past year the chance to gain experience at a top research institution outside the Netherlands, as international research experience is likely to be an advantage at a later stage in the applicant's academic career.

Rubicon is open for all scientific disciplines for a research project at a foreign research institute. For certain typically Dutch topics, there is also a limited opportunity to apply for a research period at an excellent Dutch research institute. However, preference will be given to researchers who apply for a grant to spend time outside the Netherlands.

Who can apply

Postgraduates who are currently engaged in doctoral research or who have been awarded a doctorate in the twelve months preceding the relevant deadline. Applicants who are still engaged in doctoral research may only apply if their supervisor provides a written declaration approving their thesis.

Women especially are urged to apply.

In the five years directly preceding the submission deadline, applicants must have conducted scientific research at an academic research institute in the Netherlands for a period at least equivalent to three years fulltime.

Applications must be submitted by individual researchers and not by pairs or teams of researchers.

Each candidate may only submit an application for a Rubicon grant once. You can find the complete list of the eligibility criteria in the call for proposals.

What can be applied for

Applicants can apply for a period of up to two years at an excellent research institution outside the Netherlands. The minimum duration is twelve months. The eligible costs are your salary including fringe benefits, travel costs and a limited amount for research costs. Any overhead costs such as housing, computers, infrastructure, etc. are not eligible for funding. You can find the standard amounts in the document Rubicon terms and conditions.

It is not allowed to combine research at different institutes. Depending on the nature of the project, applicants may conduct field research.

More information

Change to Rubicon procedure in 2017

With effect from the second Rubicon round (deadline 31 August 2017) the setup of the assessment procedure will change. Applications can be submitted via four clusters that correspond with the four domains of the new NWO:

  • Science (ENW; former EW, CW, ALW and N/FOM),
  • Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH; former GW and MaGW),
  • Applied and Engineering Sciences (TTW; former STW), and
  • Health Research and Medical Sciences (former ZonMw)

However, the assessment procedure will be the same as it is now. At the end of June, the Rubicon call for the round 2017-2 shall be published on the NWO website with all of the associated information. If you have any questions about this then please contact us via

For the first Rubicon round (deadline 30 March 2017) the current use of clusters applies: Humanities/Social Sciences, Life Sciences and Natural Sciences.

The information for this round will be published on the NWO website on or near 1 February 2017.

Any questions you may have about this round can also be submitted to


Choose a funding instrument


Grant type



Temporarily closed for application


30 March 2017 14:00


In 2017: 2.28 million euro for each submission round


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

Science area

NWO-wide Applied and Engineering Sciences Health Research and Development


NWO in transition: changes funding instruments

On 1 January 2017, NWO will adopt a new organisation structure. Current funding instruments will remain unchanged until a decision about any change is taken. NWO will announce this change at least six months in advance. 2017 will be a transition year and the new funding instruments will become effective no later than 1 January 2018.


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