NWO investing in research infrastructure

24 April 2017

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded four projects in the fields of Physical Sciences and of Social and Behavioural Sciences under the programme Investment Grant NWO Medium. Many researchers depend on large devices for their work. Through Investment Grants NWO Medium, NWO funds facilities that are often too expensive for individual groups.

The proposals were assessed by scientists both in the Netherlands and abroad. Four proposals were eventually awarded by the Board of NWO Domain Science and the Board of NWO Domain Social Sciences and Humanities.

With Investment Grants NWO Medium, NWO aims to stimulate and support investment in research infrastructure. NWO contributes up to 75 percent of the costs of an investment. The institution at which the research is carried out contributes a minimum of 25 percent. The NWO contributions range from 110,000 euros to 1.5 million euros.

The projects awarded funding in the Science Domain are: 

The search for a twin Earth
Prof. Ignas Snellen, m, 06-06-1970, Leiden University, Leiden Observatory.
With this project, the Netherlands is helping to build the world’s most accurate and stable spectrograph, which will be used in a unique quest for twin Earths and for further study of planets discovered by the NASA TESS and ESA PLATO satellites.
Budget to be awarded: €300,000

The multitasking telescope
Dr Jason Hessels, m, 22-02-1979, ASTRON/VU Amsterdam.
LOFAR is the world’s largest low-frequency radio telescope, with antennas located throughout the Netherlands and other European countries. The researchers plan to replace LOFAR’s ‘brain’ in order to perform several types of astronomical observations simultaneously. This will make LOFAR even more efficient, productive and accurate.
Budget to be awarded: €39,000

4MOST sheds light on the dynamics of the universe
Contact: Prof. Amina Helmi, f, 06-10-1970, University of Groningen, Kapteyn Astronomical Institute.
Using the combined forces of the Gaia satellite and the 4MOST spectrograph in Chile, researchers can determine the mass distribution and history of the Milky Way and shed light on the dark side of the Universe.
Budget to be awarded: €255,000

The project awarded funding in the Social Sciences and Humanities Domain is:

Obtaining sharper images of the human brain
Dr Benedikt Poser, m, 04-10-1978, Maastricht University, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience.
MRI is a wonderful technique that helps to understand how our brains work or to diagnose diseases. But movement during a scan can make the image unusable. This project uses special cameras that help the MRI scanners ‘follow the movements of the head’ and thus always produce sharp images.

In this round, Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) was only accepting applications for equipment, not for data collections as in previous rounds. A budget of 0.5 million euros was available for SSH in this round.

Source: NWO


Science area

Social Sciences and Humanities Exact and Natural Sciences


Investment Grant NWO Medium


Large research facilities (2015-2018)


Mw. I.M.E. Siebrasse Mw. I.M.E. Siebrasse +31 (0)70 3440994 i.siebrasse@nwo.nl