Dutch Materials

NWO Materials Science

Materials science in the Netherlands is a multidisciplinary field, relevant to a lot of sectors like housing, transportation, energy. NWO offers a broad range of both public-private instruments and fundamental research without cofinance. An overview of the possibilities.

Materials Science can contribute to several of the challenges identified in Dutch Top Sectors High Tech Systems and Materials, Chemistry and Energy and is also very suited for Agrifood, Life Sciences and Health, and Water and Climate.

Strategic research directions

The report Dutch Materials - Challenges for Materials Science in the Netherlands (2015) identifies six strategic research directions that build on key expertise gained in the Netherlands over the past years:

  1. Designer functional metamaterials
  2. Soft- and bio-inspired materials
  3. Next-generation engineering materials
  4. Materials for sustainable energy production and storage
  5. Sustainable materials
  6. Thin films and coatings

These challenges are chosen because they address key societal and technological problems. All of them can potentially lead to important scientific discoveries and break-through innovations over the next five to ten years.

The Materials Science theme committee was set up to implement the vision document "Dutch Materials - Challenges for Materials Science in the Netherlands" (2015). The committee makes proposals for research programmes resulting from the vision document. Furthermore, this committee helps the materials field to form consortia by organising meetings. The committee consists of experts from knowledge institutions and from industry. For the composition of theme committee Materials Science, please visit this page.


The following two NWO-domains are closely involved in Materials Science: Science and Applied and Engineering Sciences. Our funding instruments provide for both public-private cooperation as fundamental research in one of the six strategic research themes. All with different levels of technology readiness or distance to instant application.
> Overview of instruments NWO contributes to Topsectors 2018-2019

Possible funding instruments per research direction


Tabel 1 shows potential funding instruments per research theme for Materialen-NL. Click to enlargeZoom out

Download tabel 1 (pdf)

Table 1 shows the funding instruments per research theme. Both ’bottom-up calls’ (like Free Competition),  as thematic calls within the topsectors. You find the percentage of cofinance indicated per instrument. In red: recent call or longterm initiative from the Knowledge and Innovation Contract 2016-2017. Calls in bold are specifically aimed at materials. Institutes of NWO and De vetgedrukte calls zijn specifiek op materialen gericht. NWO-instituten en running Gravitation initiatives are in italic.

Building blocks of funding per NWO-instrument