Physical Sciences TOP-Grants for curiosity-driven research, module 2

The TOP Grant Module 2 applies to junior researchers at the start of their scientific career (2-10 years after their PhD defence). In this group, these scientists belong to the top of their research area. A TOP Grant Module 2 aims to be a first step towards building a research group.

Please note that as of 20 October 2017, there is no longer an interview round in the TOP Grant Module 2.


This competition is set up for proposals for innovative or high-risk scientific research that addresses questions of high quality and urgency. Applications should have evident relevance for astronomy, computer science, and/or mathematics.

Who can apply

Applications can be submitted by full, assistant and associate professors and other researchers with a comparable appointment if they:

  • hold and appointment at a Dutch university or a research institute recognised by NWO;  and
  • possess at least a Master’s qualification or a degree equivalent to a Master qualification; and
  • have a contract (period of appointment) for at least the duration of the application process and the research for which the grant is being applied for. 
  • submit an application between 2 and 10 years after obtaining their PhD degree, calculated from the date of their defense until the date of submission of the TOP Module 2 application. Extensions e.g. in case of maternity leave are possible.

Please see the Call for Proposals for additional criteria.

What to apply for

You may apply for a grant for one research position plus a maximum of 12,000 euro for additional resources for the proposed research. 
The grant may be used for: 

  • a PhD student or a two- or three-year post-doc, employed on a full-time basis;
  • travel expenses for the research positions in the application;
  • other activities associated with the project, such as travel and accommodation expenses for guest researchers and the costs of symposia.

When to apply

In 2017-2018 applications for TOP grants can be submitted at any Time until 1 May 2018.



Assessment will take place on the basis of the following three criteria:

  1. quality of researcher(s);
  2. quality, innovative character and scientific impact of the research proposal;
  3. knowledge utilisation.

Criterion 1 will account for 40% of the overall assessment. Criterion 2 will account for 50%, and criterion 3 knowledge utilisation will account for 10% of the overall assessment. 


Reviewers and rebuttal
All applications will be presented to independent external reviewers for assessment. Applicants will have an opportunity to respond to the reviewers’ anonymised reports. 

Funding decision
Following the interviews, the evaluation committee will advise the Science Domain Board on the quality of the research proposals. The Science Domain Board will decide which proposals will receive funding based on this advice and the funds available.

More information

The programme TOP-grants for curiosity-driven research in astronomy, computer science and mathematics is permanently closed for application. With effect from 1 August 2018 researchers will be able to submit proposals for curiosity driven, non-programmed fundamental research in a comparable new funding instrument for the Open Competition of the NWO Domain Science. For more information: NWO Open Competition Domain Science - KLEIN.



Closed for application


Continuous application

Grant type



6.1 milion euro

Science area

Exact and Natural Sciences


TOP Grants


Curiosity driven research and talent (2015-2018)


Dr. Linda Jongbloed Dr. Linda Jongbloed +31 (0)70 3494600