Rubicon (Science)

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.

Changes Rubicon 2020-1 due to coronavirus


NWO acts in accordance with the measures that the Dutch government takes in tackling the coronavirus. At the same time, NWO always wants to satisfy its basic principles that (1) all candidates receive the same opportunity to submit their applications, and that (2) applications are assessed correctly. NWO is therefore making changes to the current funding rounds.

For Rubicon 2020-1 the following changes apply:

  • The deadline of March 31, 2020 has been cancelled, the new deadline is May 12, 2020
  • As a consequence, all activities mentioned in the time path in the call for proposals will be postponed accordingly.
  • Applicants who met the conditions on March 31 2020 can submit their proposal on May 12, 2020

For more detailed information and the general guideline about changes in funding rounds, please see NWO adjusts Talent Programme procedures due to corona crisis.


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.

When can be applied

There are three submission rounds annually for Rubicon. As a consequence of the Coronacrisis, the deadline for round 1 has been postponed to May 12, 2020. The rounds 2 and 3 of 2020 will be combined. The deadline for this combined round is December 1, 2020.



Proposals will be assessed on the basis of the evaluation criteria:

  • The quality of the applicant
  • The quality of the research proposal
  • The quality of the host institute
  • Knowledge exchange and impact


Each application will be assessed within the realm of the relevant discipline(s) by a multidisciplinary committee on the basis of the evaluation criteria mentioned above. NWO announces which applications have been granted about four months after the submission deadline.

More information

Applications can be submitted  one of the four windows:

  • Science
  • Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH)
  • Applied and Engineering Sciences (AES), and
  • Health Research and Medical Sciences (ZonMw)

Given the limited number of applications submitted to the AES domain, these applications will be assessed together with the applications submitted to the Science domain by a multidisciplinary committee. 



Temporarily closed for application


12 May 2020 14:00

Grant type



In 2020: 2.28 million euro for each submission round

Science area

Exact and Natural Sciences




People (2019-2022)


Drs. Joris Voskuilen Drs. Joris Voskuilen +31 (0)70 3440989