Trial with Veni pre-proposal to be continued together with ZonMw

6 March 2019

The NWO domains Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) and Applied and Engineering Sciences (AES) will continue the trial for Veni pre-proposals in the funding round for 2020. ZonMw, the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development, will also join this trial and introduce a pre-proposal phase.

The aim of introducing the pre-proposal in the Veni funding round is to limit the application pressure by ensuring that not all applicants need to write a full proposal. Via the assessment of the pre-proposals, NWO selects the Veni target group: the Veni funding is intended for researchers who belong to the best ten to twenty percent of their population, irrespective of their nationality and subject of research.

All candidates for the Veni funding round 2020 within the domains SSH and AES as well as at ZonMw should submit their pre-proposal by 3 September 2019 at the latest. This pre-proposal consists of a qualitative CV and a brief description of the research idea. The revised application form for the Veni pre-proposal is expected to be published on the NWO website during the first week of May. The call for proposals will be published at the end of May.

The deadline for full Veni proposals will be the same as for the Domain Science, namely January 2020. As previously announced, the separate submission point for cross-domain proposals will be discontinued. All proposals submitted in the Veni funding round 2020, including the cross-domain proposals, will be assessed within one of the research domains Science, SSH or AES, or within ZonMw.

Reduced application pressure

In October 2017, NWO announced its intention to reduce the application pressure. Almost 90% of the "costs" for a proposal are incurred by the applicants. The pre-proposal in the Veni funding round is one of the outcomes of this intention. If fewer applicants are required to elaborate a research proposal, then this results in a considerable and demonstrable saving of time and money.

NWO will thoroughly monitor the pre-proposal trial in the current Veni funding round on a large scale. Based on the initial outcomes of that study (regarding the pre-proposal phase), several refinements have been made to the procedure with the aim of further saving the time applicants devote to writing proposals.

The assessment criteria of the pre-proposal and their relative weighting have also been adjusted for the same reasons, namely reducing application pressure. The sections of the pre-proposal, the size of each section and the weighting of the criteria in the Veni funding round 2020 are as follows:

  • Academic profile. Size: 400 - 700 words. Weighting: 45%
  • Research idea. Size: maximum of 50 words. Weighting: 5%
  • Key output. Size: maximum of 10 items, 400 - 700 words. Weighting: 50%

The part “key output” – a motivated list with output from the candidate, limited to at most ten items – satisfies, as much as possible, the guidelines of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA): an international initiative that intends to stop irresponsible use of bibliometric indicators (such as H-index and Journal Impact factor), amongst other things.

Further information

Applicants should contact the contact persons of the relevant domains before August 2019 to obtain advice if they have doubts as to whether their proposal fits within ZonMw or one of the NWO domains that participate in the trial or whether their proposal best fits within the NWO Domain Science. Over the next few months, NWO will provide specific information to potential applicants as well as the grant desks of universities and research institutes.


Kasper Gossink-Melenhorst
tel: +31 70 344 0557

Lisette Krul
tel: +31 30 600 1305

Guillaume Macor
tel¬: +31 70 349 5299

Source: NWO