Simplified funding instruments for public-private partnerships from 2020 onwards

30 August 2019

Each year, NWO makes targeted investments of 100 million euros in innovation for public-private partnerships. As of 1 January 2020, two important principles will change. Firstly, the funding instruments for public-private partnerships will be simplified and harmonised. In addition, as of 2020, the societal challenges and key enabling technologies of the new government policy will be central and no longer the top sectors.


Part of the research budget is also available for health and medical research (via ZonMw).  In addition, the Taskforce for Applied Research (NRPO-SIA) will make 18 million euros available for applied research at universities of applied sciences. In November, the financial commitment of NWO and other stakeholders to innovation policy will be laid down in the Knowledge and Innovation Covenant (KIC) 2020-2023.

Knowledge and innovation agendas basis for public-private partnerships

The content of the NWO contribution to the KIC is based on the six Knowledge and Innovation Agendas (KIAs). These have been drawn up by the top sectors and focus on four societal challenges, key enabling technologies and earning capacity. These societal challenges include the following themes: 

  • energy transition and sustainability;
  • agriculture, water and food;
  • health and care;
  • security.

A number of concrete missions have been formulated for each societal challenge to which knowledge and innovation can make an important contribution. After all, science plays an essential role in finding solutions for themes such as an ageing population, energy transition and climate change.

Funding instruments from 2020 onwards

Within the KIC 2020-2023, NWO will offer the following funding instruments:

  • Mission-driven funding: In consultation with the KIC partners, NWO will develop mission-driven calls from the KIAs on specific topics that contribute to the realisation of the missions. Researchers take the initiative to submit a proposal and involve private and other parties. These parties contribute at project level.
  • Demand-driven funding: NWO, together with co-funding parties, develops calls for one or more programmes on specific topics. Researchers can submit a proposal, depending on the subject, with or without additional parties.
  • Strategy-driven funding: NWO develops large, long-term strategic collaborations with various stakeholders (knowledge institutes, public and private parties, universities of applied sciences, regions, etc.). All parties make a substantive and funding contribution to the collaboration. 

NWO is currently in consultation with the top sectors concerned on the design of the KIAs. NPRO SIA will allocate the budget of 18 million euro for the programmes LINT and SPRONG and will seek connection with NWO funding instruments in these programmes.

More information

The new KIC will be signed in November 2019, when NWO will provide further information on the new funding instruments. The NWO website and newsletter will be used to provide updates on the KIC and the planned information meetings aimed at researchers and staff at knowledge institutions.

Source: NWO