Money Follows Cooperation

One of the ambitions in the new NWO-strategy ‘Connecting Science and Society’ is collaboration for excellence and innovation in research. One of the means for NWO to achieve this is via the new principle Money Follows Cooperation (MFC).

Science transcends national boundaries, funding frequently is bound to national borders. Via the principle of Money Follows Cooperation, NWO will remove the boundaries and facilitate bottom-up international collaboration in all the research it funds.


Money Follows Cooperation offers the possibility of creating added value for research projects by using expertise from abroad that is not available in the Netherlands or not present at the desired level. In the proposal, the applicant must convincingly demonstrate that the expertise concerned is not available in the Netherlands. NWO also funds the international researchers in the Dutch consortium. If the expertise is available in the Netherlands will be assessed by the selection committee. If the arguments are not sufficiently convincing, then the funds for this module cannot be made available. Furthermore, the applicant needs to state the amount to be deployed for this module in the budget.

Reciprocal agreements

NWO is exploring reciprocal MFC agreements with like-minded funding organisations. Reciprocity means that Dutch researchers will also be able to apply in a foreign consortium at the sister funding organisation. NWO has signed a bilateral MFC agreement with the Research Council of Norway (RCN) in 2019. This agreement entered into force on 1 July 2019. When an applicant in The Netherlands applies for MFC with a Norwegian co-applicant, the applicant does not have to show that the expertise is not available in The Netherlands. Researchers based in The Netherlands can also apply at RCN in a Norwegian consortium.


The possibility to use Money Follows Cooperation is already implemented as a module in the Open Competitions of the domains, within the Dutch National Research Agenda and the Crossover call as part of the NWO contribution to the Knowledge and Innovation Contract.


NWO will monitor the impact of the principle of Money Follows Cooperation. When necessary the executive board of NWO can decide to adjust the conditions.