Sustainable Business Models

The Sustainable Business Models (SBM) programme was established in 2015. During the second round the focus is on creating multiple values in complex collaborations between different parties. The individual business model no longer takes centre stage but instead a model that focuses on collaboration between parties of a diverse nature so that they can jointly create multiple value. Within the research projects, researchers work with at least one private co-funder. Full or assistant professors can submit a project proposal on behalf of a consortium.


The main objective of the second SBM round is to increase scientific knowledge about and to produce and disclose new methods for the development and application of sustainable business models in their structural and institutional context, for which collaboration within and outside of the chain and sector take centre stage. With this, explicit contributions are made to the transition towards sustainability. The core of this research programme is the collaboration between companies, societal initiatives, government bodies and institutions with respect to sustainable business models at the micro, meso and macro levels. The key objective is the creation of multiple value, which at the same time has a balanced cultural, social and financial nature. The research programme is built up around three more specific questions in which key concepts such as sustainability, transitions, strategic designs and multiplicity play an important role. Within this research programme, research projects should always take place in interdisciplinary teams of researchers and be aimed at everyday practice. Several different research methods should be used at the same time (multi-method approach).

Who can apply

The Sustainable Business Models programme is interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary in nature and focuses on collaboration between universities and non-university partners such as applied research organisations (Dutch acronym TO2), companies, government bodies, societal organisations and public knowledge institutions. To be eligible for funding, the partners involved in the research proposal must set up a consortium. This call for proposals is aimed at the academic parties within the consortia to be formed. An explanation of the collaboration with TO2 is included in Section 3.2 of the brochure. On Thursday 31 August 2017, a matchmaking meeting will be organised where researchers and co-funding parties can meet each other to discuss the possible formation of a consortium and to prepare a draft application. For SBM applications with a logistic component, the relation with TKI Logistics will be explained. 

What to apply for

Funding can be applied for to cover all subsidisable personnel and material costs that will be incurred for the research concerned. The duration of the programme is at least 2 years and no longer than 2.5 years. A proposed research project therefore has a maximum duration of 2.5 years. The external partner cannot make any claim on the budget made available by NWO.

When to apply

  • The closing date for submitting research proposals is 31 October, at 14:00 hours CET.



It will first of all be assessed whether applications fall with in the main objective of the second round of the SBM programme and whether they tie in with the broad societal developments in the Netherlands. Applications that do not sufficiently fit will not be taken into consideration. Applications that do fit will be assessed on the basis of the following criteria:

  1. Design and practically applicable trading perspectives
  2. Scientific quality of the proposal
  3. Past performance of the applicants
  4. Organisation & Finances
  5. Knowledge utilisation


The programme committee will assess whether applications fall within the main objective of the second round of the SBM programme and whether they tie in with the broad societal developments in the Netherlands. The steering group will be advised not to consider applications that do not have a sufficient match for these two criteria. Applications that fall within the main objective of the second round of the SBM will be commented on by an independent selection committee and assessed on the basis of the assessment criteria published in the brochure for the call. The selection committee will send their provisional advice with any associated questions to the main applicant. The applicants will be given the opportunity to respond to these comments. The selection committee will subsequently advise the programme committee about the quality and ranking of the proposals. The programme committee will briefly assess the procedure followed and will advise the steering group to award funding to the applications with the appropriate qualification. Based on this advice, any relevant policy considerations, and the funds available, the steering group will decide which applications will be awarded funding.

More information


Henk Waaijers (temporary contact person NWO)
T: 070-3440913

Antoine Heideveld (het Groene Brein)
T: 06 464 445 00

Applicants who are interested in coloboration with TO2 can contact:
dr. ir. Ardi Dortmans, TNO
T: 06 514 378 07




Open for application


31 October 2017 14:00

Grant type



For this Call for Proposals the available budget is 2,2 million euros.

Science area

Social Sciences and Humanities


Thematic research and public -private partnership (2015-2018)


Het Groene Brein, TNO optional.


Dhr. drs. H.W. Waaijers Dhr. drs. H.W. Waaijers +31 (0)70 3440913