Westerdijk Talent Scheme

The aim of the Westerdijk Talent Scheme programme is to increase the number of women professors and therefore the contribution to a greater diversity at the top of Dutch academia. The programme offers universities the possibility to apply for grants if they appoint female researchers as a professor.


On 10 February 2017, it was exactly 100 years ago that the first woman professor, Johanna Westerdijk, was appointed in the Netherlands. Now in 2017, women fill just 18% of professorships in the Netherlands. Unless additional measures are taken, an equal male-female ratio among professors in the Netherlands will not be achieved until 2054 . As an extra boost to ensure that all scientific talent in the Netherlands is utilised, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has decided to make a one-off sum of 5 million euros available for the appointment of 100 women professors. With this extra investment in the ‘Westerdijk year’, universities will be encouraged to make greater efforts to increase the number of women professors over and beyond the target figures that they have set for themselves for 2020.

Who can apply

Applications may be submitted by the Executive Boards of the following Dutch universities:

  • Leiden University
  • Utrecht University
  • University of Groningen
  • Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • Maastricht University
  • University of Amsterdam
  • VU University Amsterdam
  • Radboud University
  • Tilburg University
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Eindhoven University of Technology
  • University of Twente
  • Wageningen University & Research
  • Open Universiteit

An allocation key has been agreed upon for the allocation of the 100 positions across universities, as shown in the table below. Applications will be processed in the order that they are received.

What to apply for

For each appointment, an amount of 50,000 euros can be applied for. This amount can be used for additional salary costs associated with the promotion of an associate or assistant professor to a full professor, or it can be added to the research budget of the professor appointed.

When to apply

Applications can be submitted until 10 February 2018 at 13:59 CET.



The appointments should satisfy the following conditions:

  • It concerns professors with a standard appointment.
  • The appointment has a minimum duration of five years with the prospect of a tenured position as a professor.
  • The appointments have been made after 10 February 2017.
  •  The size of the appointment is at least 0.4 fte.
  • It concerns an extra appointment in addition to the target figures already agreed upon with the universities. This is apparent from the increase in the number of women professors in 2020 over and above the target figures.
  • The universities ensure a balanced distribution of the appointments across the faculties.



NWO shall assess the applications against the conditions stated for the appointment as described under “What can be applied for”. The universities remain responsible for the appointment of professors and for ensuring a balanced distribution across the faculties.

NWO will monitor the awards per university and will communicate with the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) about this. The VSNU will subsequently monitor the target figures drawn up by the universities.


C. Jalvingh +31 (0)70 3440671 westerdijkimpuls@nwo.nl