Merian Fund

Merian Fund

The Merian Fund is a fund for international cooperation with (emerging) science countries and developing countries. The common thread within the Merian Fund is international research to promote the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the national research agendas. WOTRO Science for Global Development is responsible for the implementation of the calls under the Merian Fund.


More international collaboration is needed to tackle transnational and global challenges. Research that contributes to tackling grand societal challenges, such as the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), requires collaboration with countries where the challenges are the most evident and where a contribution to the solutions is the most effective.


Coherent interdisciplinary programmes are developed with the partner countries in the thematic collaboration within the Merian Fund. Research projects in these programmes jointly contribute to solutions as well as realising the SDGs. The coherency between projects generates synergy and counteracts the fragmented deployment of resources. The collaboration is characterised by:

  • an impact-focused approach towards broad societal themes;
  • a contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and national agendas such as the Dutch Research Agenda (NWA);
  • a chain-wide approach from fundamental to practice-oriented research;
  • collaboration in broadly composed consortia with societal parties;
  • an interdisciplinary approach;
  • coherent programming with synergy between projects.

Countries and partners

NWO jointly invests with its partner organisations in bilateral scientific collaboration, whereby both partners invest the same amount. Dutch funding will go to the Dutch part of the programme and the funds from the partner country to their counterparts in the partner country.

Within the Merian Fund, NWO currently collaborates with Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa, because science has been growing enormously in these countries. Cooperation takes place within the framework of bilateral agreements at national level. The Merian Fund has seven partners in five countries: FAPESP (Brazil), NSFC and CAS (China), DST and DBT (India), RISTEKBRIN (Indonesia) and NRF (South Africa).


Within the Merian Fund, a maximum of seven calls will be published each year, and for each call, NWO will make a maximum of 1.5 million euros available. The frequency and size of the programmes depend on the availability of funds at NWO and at the partner organisations.

Programmes under the Merian Fund

All programmes for Merian Fund

Currently open calls for proposals

All grants for Merian Fund