Open Competition in the social sciences and humanities open for applications at the start of June

24 May 2018

At the start of next month, the NWO Domain Social Sciences and Humanities will launch a new funding instrument: the NWO Open Competition – SSH for free, curiosity-driven research. Researchers will be able to submit proposals without any thematic limitations for projects that primarily have a social sciences or humanities research question and hypothesis. The budget available exceeds 16.5 million euros. The deadline for pre-proposals is 25 September 2018, the deadline for full proposals is 7 March 2019.

From now on, within the SSH open competition, there will be a single domain-wide instrument for curiosity-driven, fundamental research that is suitable for both small and large projects. The research can have an interdisciplinary as well as cross-domain character. Funding for international collaboration between researchers and research groups is also possible.

The formation of a single new funding instrument is part of NWO's policy to realise a major simplification of the instruments available and to establish three main forms of funding: grants for-individual researchers, grants for curiosity-driven research, and grants for thematic and mission-driven research. This will result in a clearer set of funding instruments.

With the introduction of this single Open Competition instrument, NWO will end the current open competition funding instruments within the social sciences and humanities. This concerns the programmes Internationalisation in the Humanities, Investment Grant NWO Medium, Open Research Area (ORA), Research Talent, Free Competition Humanities and ultimately PhDs in the Humanities as well. For PhDs in the Humanities, the last funding rounds will take place in 2019 and 2020.

New standards

Wim van den Doel, Chair of the NWO Social Sciences and Humanities Domain Board, emphasises that this new form of open competition is intended for researchers who are no longer eligible for the talent line (now mainly: Talent Scheme) according to the new standards. Accordingly SSH wants to provide prospects for the experienced researcher, in particular, who can no longer apply for the Talent Scheme. Van den Doel: ‘Thanks to this approach, this group of researchers will retain access to funding for curiosity-driven research with an emphasis on providing funding tailored to individual researchers' needs. With this new instrument, SSH is responding to the huge demand from the field for funding for small and large projects, including projects to which merely one or two PhDs are to be appointed, for example.’

Furthermore, NWO wants to prevent the “accumulation” of research funding by the same researchers: an applicant can only apply for funding for a new project if he or she is already completing a current research project.

For the funding round of 2018, the open competition in the social sciences and humanities has an amount of 8.25 million euro available for the social sciences and 8.3 million euro for the humanities. Application will be possible from June 2018 onwards.

For questions about the new domain-wide Open Competition instrument of SSH, please contact:

Source: NWO