Hestia - Impulse for Refugees in Science

A project leader and/or main applicant of a research project already funded by NWO or ZonMw can apply for funding for the appointment of a refugee with an academic background on his/her project for the duration of 18 months (or 24 months parttime). The refugee should have an asylum residence permit as described in chapter 6 of the call for proposals.


This NWO-wide pilot is an impulse to make Dutch science and the academic labour market accessible to refugee academics with demonstrable refugee status. At the same time, these academics will enrich Dutch science with the experience and expertise they bring with them.

By making short-term funding available, NWO will give this group of academics the opportunity to join current Dutch research projects and to build a network. This will give them a chance to actively share knowledge and expertise, and to familiarise themselves with the Dutch scientific system; it will also provide an impulse to resume or continue the career and/or research line that was interrupted in their home country. This funding can therefore provide an entry into Dutch science and thus expand the opportunities for these academics in the longer term.

The involvement of universities is vital for long-term success. NWO therefore encourages universities to look – for example, within their diversity policy – at options for extending the appointments of successful candidates, or to seek other relevant advancement opportunities.

Who can apply

Full, associate and assistant professors and other researchers with a comparable appointment of a current research project already receiving funding from NWO or ZonMw, can submit an application if: they are employed (i.e. hold a salaried position) at one of the following organisations:

  • Universities established in the Kingdom of the Netherlands;
  • University medical centres;
  • NWO and KNAW institutes;
  • the Netherlands Cancer Institute;
  • the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen;
  • the DUBBLE Beamline at the ESRF in Grenoble;
  • NCB Naturalis; "*" Advanced Research Centre for NanoLithography (ARCNL);
  • Princess Máxima Center.

and also have an appointment period for at least the duration of the application procedure and the entire duration of the research for which the grant is being applied for. Personnel with a zero-hour appointment is excluded from applying. Additional conditions: applicants who submitted an application in the 2018 and/or 2019 pilot round but were not awarded funding may submit a new application (with the same or with another candidate). Applicants previously awarded funding may also submit a new application. They must of course meet the eligibility requirements as set out in this call for proposals. In order to give opportunities to a new group, successful candidates from the 2018 or 2019 pilot round are excluded from applications in the 2020 round. Please note: a refugee academic cannot submit an application on their own account.

What to apply for

Funding (for personnel and material costs) can be requested for the appointment of an academic with demonstrable refugee status at the level of junior or senior researcher in a current research project already funded by NWO or ZonMw. The maximum amount of funding that can be requested is € 160,000.

When to apply

  • The deadline for submission of applications is 14:00 CE(S)T on 8 September 2020.



The proposals will be assessed according to the following criteria:

  • Quality of the candidate
  • Motivation of the candidate and relevance to the candidate
  • Quality and feasibility of the proposed project and relevance to the current project
  • Supervision and future prospects of the candidate


The assessment procedure consists of two stages: 1) selection for interview, and 2) interview days with applicants and candidates. The scheduled interview days in November or December offer room for around 25 interviews. If there is enough space on the scheduled interview days to hold interviews for all admissable applications, no selection for the interview days will take place.

The assessment will be carried out in full by an assessment committee with broad expertise. No external referees will be involved in this assessment procedure.

Based on the qualifications, the assessment committee will issue a recommendation on whether to accept the applications. The NWO executive board will then consider this recommendation when deciding on the funding applications. With a view to encouraging female researchers, in the event that two applications are rated equally the executive board will give preference to the proposal submitted by a female main applicant and/or candidate. The decision and qualifications are expected to be communicated to applicants by December 2020 or January 2021.

More information

Are you interested to appoint a refugee with an academic background in your current research project, but are you still looking for a match? You can advertise your project here.

Are you a refugee with an academic background, and are you interested to work in a research project? But are you still looking for a match? You can submit your details to NWO via this interest form.

To safeguard equal opportunities for applicants and the meticulousness of the assessment procedure, NWO has factored in additional time in the planning of the submission deadline and timetable for this round. Accordingly, an effort has been made to allow for possible delays as a consequence of the coronavirus and the measures announced by the Dutch government on 15 March 2020. However, NWO cannot rule out more changes being implemented in this round as the situation regarding the coronavirus develops further.



Temporarily closed for application


8 September 2020 14:00

Grant type



1,020,000 euros

Science area

Social Sciences and Humanities WOTRO Science for Global Development NWO-wide Applied and Engineering Sciences Medical Sciences Nationaal Regieorgaan Praktijkgericht Onderzoek Netherlands Initiative for Education Research Exact and Natural Sciences


Hestia Impulse


Research (2019-2022)


Foundation for Refugee Students (UAF), The Young Academy (DJA), Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)


Carolien Maas-van der Geest, MA Carolien Maas-van der Geest, MA +31 (0)70 3440511 c.maas@nwo.nl


mw. dr. S.L. Diedenhofen mw. dr. S.L. Diedenhofen +31 (0)70 34 94 261 s.diedenhofen@nwo.nl