NWO Social Sciences and Humanities Domain Board about changes in Open Competition and Talent Scheme

4 July 2018

NWO is undergoing major changes, and this also has consequences for the funding instruments of the NWO Domain Social Sciences and Humanities. With a few exceptions, the only funding instruments in the future will be the Talent Programme, the Open Competition, the Dutch National Research Agenda, the programmes for the top sectors and the instruments for large infrastructure.

In recent weeks, the NWO Social Sciences and Humanities Domain Board has received feedback regarding the reforms from many different quarters. We have noticed that researchers and other stakeholders are closely following these changes and would like to contribute their expertise. At present, we have noted the many questions and ideas about the new design of the Open Competition and the reforms within the Talent Programme, which the former Innovational Research Incentives Scheme is a part of. The board has therefore reconsidered these funding instruments.

Open Competition

The domain board has duly noted the criticism of one of the limiting conditions (focus on ‘post Vici’) for the Open Competition. It was decided not to make any further changes to the current published call due to the many positive reactions received about the new setup. We therefore feel it is wise to wait and see how things develop. We shall pay careful attention to the number of applications received in this round, but also the extent to which mid-career researchers within the social sciences and humanities participate in calls for the Dutch National Research Agenda and the ‘Crossover Call' in the context of the top sectors. NWO will therefore carefully monitor the Open Competition in the coming months. Before the start of the next open competition funding round (2019-2020), the board will discuss whether the findings from the current round give any reasons to change the limiting conditions.

Talent Scheme

The introduction of the pre-selection phase for Veni applicants based on a research idea and CV and the embedding guarantee for Vidi applicants are major changes. Much attention will therefore be given to the careful introduction of these measures in the coming period. Other possible changes, such as the ratio between the numbers of Veni and Vici positions and the introduction of team Venis will only be the considered in the longer term and in consultation with researchers from the domain.


The domain board highly appreciates being able to make use of the expertise of and feedback from researchers in the domain. I therefore warmly invite them and other stakeholders to continue sharing suggestions and ideas about NWO's policy and instruments with us.

On behalf of the NWO Social Sciences and Humanities Domain Board,

Wim van den Doel

Source: NWO