Domains will assess cross-domain proposals in the Talent Scheme in future

27 September 2018

In the Talent Scheme, there will no longer be a separate committee for cross-domain proposals. In future rounds of Vici and Vidi (call opens 2019) and Veni (call opens 2020), NWO will assess all proposals, including the cross-domain proposals, within the domains Science, SSH and TTW. That also applies to proposals within ZonMw.

Due to the current, broad domains much experience has been acquired with assessing multidisciplinary proposals. Therefore a separate committee is no longer needed in the opinion of NWO's executive board.

NWO president Stan Gielen: ‘The measure will also make the assessment procedure more efficient. For example, in the most recent Vici round, only 2 of the 35 projects awarded funding were cross-domain. NWO nevertheless had to set up a completely separate assessment procedure for these. With the abolition of the cross-domain committee that is no longer needed.’

Four broad research domains

Before the formation of the new NWO, in 2017, project proposals in the Talent Scheme were assessed in nine scientific divisions. All applicants who submitted a proposal with a clear background in at least two divisions could submit their proposal to a cross-disciplinary committee. Such a committee was also continued under the new domains. Since then all evaluation committees have acquired knowledge of and experience with the assessment of multidisciplinary research proposals.

One aim of the new NWO is to work more across disciplinary boundaries. In the new NWO, assessment takes place within the strongly broadened organisational units, and so there are fewer cross-domain proposals. That is one of the reasons why a cross-domain committee has become unnecessary, in the executive board's opinion.


NWO holds the view, however, that the expertise acquired with 'broad' assessment in the cross-domain committees must be retained. ‘NWO and ZonMw consider the importance of the cross-domain aspect of proposals to be undiminshed, says ZonMw president and NWO executive board member Jeroen Geurts. ‘Cross-domain research will be valued during the assessment procedure. Researchers can rest assured.’

NWO will take measures that contribute to an honest, comparable and transparent way of assessing multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary proposals. These measures will ensure the same chances of being awarded funding as when the former cross-domain committee assessed the proposals.

The measures will cover the entire application and assessment process. They will range from precise instructions for assessment committee members about assessing cross-domain proposals to using external reviewers from the domains the proposal is linked to.

Where possible, NWO will involve members from the disbanded cross-domain committees in the domain committees.

The cross-domain committee will disappear in the Vici round and Vidi round of 2019 and the Veni round of 2020.

Source: NWO