Resumption of grant procedure

On Friday 12 March, NWO, NRO and SIA announced that the grant procedure would resume in the week of 22 March. The procedure will then have been at a standstill for five weeks. We realise that this has had serious repercussions for everyone concerned and are doing everything we can to minimise the impact. Now that we have reconstructed our systems, we want to ensure that everyone is kept as well-informed as possible.

The information on the website about the calls and the new deadlines will be fully up to date in the week of 22 March. In this bulletin we outline the contours of the new call planning and explain the reasoning behind it. For a number of specific funding rounds, some information of a particularly urgent nature is already provided later in this bulletin.

We have received input from grant advisers of universities and universities of applied sciences regarding what they consider to be the absolute priorities when the procedure resumes and have taken that input into account as far as possible.

Referees and committee members

In the week of 22 March, we will contact referees and committee members as quickly as possible in order to make new arrangements. It is in the interests of applicants that we complete the ongoing funding rounds as soon as possible so that they can start their projects.

Ongoing rounds first, pending calls deferred

To minimise the consequences of the hack for the system as a whole, our strategy is based in the first place on the desire to adhere as closely as possible to the original planning. This means that we will take up ongoing funding rounds and complete them as soon as possible. We will also give priority to rounds in the Talent programmes in view of the applicants’ heavy dependence on these rounds for their careers. In many cases, other parties also invest in programmes. If there is a risk of that investment being withdrawn because of the delay, we will endeavour to take that into account. In practice, this means that the deadlines for almost all calls with an original deadline before 27 May 2021 will be deferred by five weeks, unless there are serious arguments for doing otherwise.

Original planning unchanged for calls from 27 May onwards

In the second place, calls with deadlines from the end of May onwards will in principle follow the original planning. However, the extension of the deadlines for the calls from before 27 May will inevitably cause bottlenecks in connection with (school) holidays, public holidays and other circumstances. A further complication arises in relation to funding rounds that are organised several times a year. A round must be completed before another round begins in order to give candidates a chance to participate again.

There may also be substantive reasons for departing from the five-week extension. For some complex rounds, applicants find it important to consult NWO, NRO or SIA before completing their application. Further extension of the deadlines might then be necessary. In other cases, a requested study is tied to a school year or involves international collaboration and it may therefore be decided to opt for a shorter extension.

In addition, all planned appointments for committee meetings or interviews will have to be rescheduled, which could also lead to delays. Because of the hack, all data collected between 5 and 12 February, including emails and minutes of committee meetings, has been lost. (This does not apply to the information that was saved in ISAAC during that period). It is therefore possible that certain phases of the round will have to be repeated because of the loss of this data, which could also lead to further delay.

Effects of extended deadlines for applicants

We are aware of the impact these changes will have for applicants. Decisions not made, funds not awarded and interviews cancelled. Many applicants carefully time the submission of their applications, particularly in the Talent programmes. Their plans could be thrown into dissaray by the delays that have now been caused.

In that context, we are now making the following commitments:

  • As far as possible, we will address the needs of applicants in ongoing rounds with customised agreements. If it is necessary to revise the terms of the agreements, it will done in consultation with the applicants.
  • We are investigating whether customised agreements can be made with applicants in ongoing rounds who are encountering problems because of the changes. Where possible, we will employ the solutions that were adopted last year in connection with the rescheduling due to the corona epidemic.
  • In the Talent programmes, there are limits to the maximum period within which candidates can apply after obtaining their PhD. For the next round, the criterion for eligibility to submit an application will be same as it was before this delay.
  • In many cases, a deadline has expired for individuals or for rounds in the last week. This could involve an administrative matter (such as a minor correction to an application), the submission of a rebuttal or the submission of a proposal. Everyone can rest assured that they will still be given a reasonable length of time to give their reaction after the grant procedure has been opened up again.

Approved projects

As we announced earlier in the FAQ, under certain circumstances projects could start. In general, as with the changes connected with corona, we will be flexible in extending deadlines that have lapsed or dealing with other administrative requirements that could not be handled because we were unavailable. You will again be able reach the contact persons for your projects in the week of 22 March.

Information about specific rounds

In advance of the publication of the integral call planning, for a number of rounds this section provides specific information that applicants urgently need to be aware of.

In the case of six rounds, some people had submitted a reaction, for example a rebuttal, while others had not. For those rounds, we are giving everyone (including those who have already done so) the opportunity to submit a new or revised rebuttal within five working days of the resumption of the procedure. This means that, if the procedure resumes on 22 March, the reaction in these rounds must be submitted by 29 March at the latest. All applicants will be notified of this in a personal email on the day the procedure resumes. The rounds concerned are:

  • DeepNL Call 2a, Science domain (ENW)
  • SSH Vidi 2020, Social Sciences and Humanities domain (SSH)
  • Hestia, Social Sciences and Humanities domain (SSH)
  • Praktijkgericht onderzoek maatregelen COVID-19, SIA
  • Praktijkgericht onderzoek voor Extramurale Zorg, SIA
  • RAAK-public submission rounds, June and November 2020, SIA

A number of rounds were at the stage of the assessment of admissibility. We were not always able to complete that phase and may therefore have to contact you about an application in one of these rounds. The relevant rounds are:

  • KIC E&D: Circularity
  • RAAK Impuls 2020
  • TOP-UP, submission round February 2021
  • Open Technology Programme, jury 2020-6

The Veni, Vidi and Vici procedures are currently underway:

  • We will endeavour to complete the current Vici round for Science (ENW), Applied and Engineering Sciences (AES) and Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) and communicate the decisions by the end of April.
  • The interviews for the current Vidi round will have to be rescheduled. We hope to conduct them in May/June, with the decisions for all domains (including ZonMw) in July.
  • The delay means that the Veni pre-submission phase for SSH and AES will only be completed at the end of May. The original deadline for detailed applications (end of May) will therefore also have to be deferred. To ensure that the new deadline does not fall in the summer, we are moving it to 2 September for both NWO domain SSH and AES. Decisions will then be made in April 2022. The deadline for detailed applications for NWO domain Science and ZonMw remain 20 May (decisions: end 2021). Also read 
  • The extension of deadlines in these rounds will also have an impact on the succeeding rounds. We will provide more information about this in April.
  • For the Rubicon programme, we are combining the rounds in September and December 2021.

For various reasons, the original deadline is being extended by less than five weeks in some cases. We are mentioning these rounds now because applicants for these rounds will have to react quickly after the procedure resumes. These rounds are:

  • Collaboration in Educating Teachers – deadline detailed applications, 29 March
  • Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) 2024 – deadline 30 March
  • School Leaders Innovation and Development Fund (SIOF) – deadline for declaration of intent, 30 March; deadline for detailed applications, 13 April
  • TIMSS and poll survey into knowledge, insight and the skills in arithmetic-mathematics 2023 – deadline for declaration of intent, 30 March; deadline for detailed applications, 15 April
  • Accelerator 2020 - deadline 1 April
  • Onderwijsachterstandenbeleid in de school – deadline detailed applications, 6 April
  • Take-off rounds 2021-1 (Feasibility studies TO2, Feasibiliy studies WO, Feasbility studies WO Commit2Data, Early stage routes WO/HBO/TO2) – deadline 8 April
  • RAAK-MKB, round 14 – deadline 13 April
  • Take-off HBO – deadline 13 April
  • ERA-NET cofund Urban Transformation Capacities - deadline detailed applications 15 April
  • Praktijkgericht Onderwijsonderzoek- Gedrag en Passend onderwijs - 3rd round - second phase - deadline detailed applications, 15 April
  • SPRONG 2020, phase 1 – deadline 15 April

Enquiries

NWO is still busy reconstructing all the systems. Since the hackers gained acces to the systems with a phishing email on Monday 8 February, we are using the back-up that was made on Friday 5 February for this purpose. Unfortunately, this means that files and information from the week of 8 February have been lost (with the exception of ISAAC). NWO, NRO and SIA are currently investigating precisely what files have been lost. We have started the resumption of the subsidy process on 22 March. If you have questions about a specific call or programme, please conctact the programme manager responsible for the relevant programme.  Even then, we will sometimes still not have the information needed to answer your enquiry. We hope for your understanding of the situation and will continue doing everything in our power to provide you with every possible assistance from the moment the procedure resumes.