Innovation and Networks (NWA)

The Dutch Research Agenda (NWA) supports 25 routes. The networks in these routes play an important role in organising the scientific field and generating ideas for scientific and societal breakthroughs. Their connecting role in the NWA programme - and beyond - ensures, among others, renewal of the research agenda, involving the entire knowledge chain and bringing possible consortia partners into contact. They also stimulate valorisation.

  • Aim and objectives

    The NWA supports 25 routes. These routes form self-organising networks that address and investigate important scientific, social and economic issues in society.

    Routes play a role in organising the field and ensure greater involvement of the entire knowledge chain, bringing together relevant consortia partners, achieving knowledge utilisation, recognising the potential societal and/or scientific breakthroughs within a route and monitoring core objectives of the route and of the NWA. Also, routes can have a programming effect within the research field.


    The routes are organised by route leaders and figureheads. The routes can apply for funding to support the organisation of the routes.


    In addition to promoting connections between the entire knowledge chain, this NWA programme line focuses on innovation: the NWA as a stimulus for curiosity and inspiration throughout the Netherlands.

  • Budget and duration

    The budget for Inovation and Networks is approximately EUR 5 million per year. The programme started in 2019.

  • Funding instruments

    Annually, routes can apply for funding for support and development of the route network. Since 2020, a budget has been be available for 'Small projects for NWA routes' (the successor to the Idea Generator). These small projects contribute to distinguishing relevant topics for the route and should increase the scientific and/or societal impact of the route.

    NWA route management support

    The NWA routes are self-organising and are set up by relevant parties from the research field. NWA routes could apply for funding to support the development of their route network.

    Small projects within routes

    These small projects should contribute to topics relevant to the route and should increase the scientific and/or social impact of the route. These projects started in 2021.

    NWA Idea Generator

    Ideas are the foundation of research and innovation: ideas that can lead to promising new directions, but certainly also ideas that show that another direction needs to be taken. Within the Innovation segment, this was supported by means of the Idea Generator tool in 2019.

NWA - factsheets - Programme line 3 - Innovation and networks