Merian Fund

The Merian Fund stimulates collaboration across the knowledge chain between Dutch researchers and researchers from emerging science nations and low- and lower-middle income countries. Contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals is the overarching gola of the Merian Fund programmes.


NWO created the Merian Fund to strengthen the collaboration with emerging science nations and low- and lower middle income countries. 

Within the thematic collaborations, coherent, interdisciplinary programmes are created together with partner countries, in which research projects should jointly contribute to sustainable, innovative solutions, and the achievement of the UN SDGs. 

Who can apply

The specific conditions that a consortium should fulfill can vary between the different calls, depending on the agreements with partners and the desired goals of the call.

In general, calls within the Merian Fund are open to consortia that span the knowledge chain. Consortia should comprise both Dutch researchers and researchers from the countries involved in the research proposal. Furthermore, stakeholders such as companies and civil society organisations should be involved in the composing of the research questions, the conducting of the research, and the research uptake.

What to apply for

There is a maximum of 10.5 million euros available for bilateral cooperation in the Merian Fund framework for 2019. For the programmes with China and India, 3 million euros per country is available. For the other three bilateral programmes, 1.5 million euros is available.

When to apply

The various calls have different deadlines, and may sometimes require that an application be submitted to both NWO and the online submission system of the partner country. Interested applicants are advised to carefully check the call for proposals they are considering applying to.



There are a few characteristics that the joint knowledge and innovation agendas with the bilateral partners have in common:

  • An impact-focused approach to broad societal topics, with special attention for knowledge sharing in the projects and programmes;
  • A contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and national agendas such as the Dutch National Research Agenda;
  • An approach that spans the whole knowledge chain, from fundamental to applied research;
  • Collaboration in broadly-composed consortia with societal partners;
  • An interdisciplinary approach;
  • Coherent programming, with synergy between the projects.


The procedures are developed jointly with the partner organisations and therefore procedures may differ between the calls with different partner organisations.

More information

More information regarding the specific calls for proposals is available on the funding pages below.

Choose a financing instrument



Grant type


Temporarily closed for application


26 September 2019 14:00


10.5 Million euro


Science area


Chinese Academy of Science (CAS), National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), Indonesian Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education (RISTEKDIKTI), Department of Science and Technology of the Government of India (DST), Department of Biotechnology of the Government of India (DBT), National Research Foundation of South Africa (NRF), Sao Paolo Research Foundation (FAPESP)


Dr. Eric Beerkens +31 (0)70 3494109