Stairway to Impact Award

The Stairway to Impact Award rewards scientists who take effective steps to utilise their scientific findings to tackle a societal problem and/or to make an economic contribution. The journey is more important than whether the final goal has been achieved. The award is a sum of 50k€.The money must be used to contribute to the goal for which the award has been presented.

What for?

The NWO Domain Science wishes to promote knowledge utilisation. With the Stairway to Impact Award NWO rewards scientists who take effective steps to utilise their scientific findings to tackle a societal problem and/or to make an economic contribution. The path from fundamental research with a low Technical Readiness Level (TRL) to wider societal impact involves many steps. Reaching these steps is crucial in order to achieve the ultimate goal. The Stairway to Impact Award is awarded to innovative researchers who undertake important, innovative or otherwise significant steps in this regard. These steps have demonstrated their impact, even though the ultimate goal may not yet have been achieved. Evidence of this may include a successful start-up or the implementation of research results by a societal organisation.

Who can submit a nomination?

Anyone can submit a nomination. It is possible to nominate yourself for the Stairway to Impact Award. Where similar efforts have been made by more than one person and led to the achievement of the goal, those persons can be nominated jointly for the Stairway to Impact Award.

What could the nominees win?

The Stairway to Impact Award is a sum of 50k€. Recipients have ample freedom when it comes to spending this sum, as long as it is used to contribute to the goal for which the award has been presented.

When can nominations be submitted?

The deadline for nominations will close on 15 June 2021, 14:00:00 CE(S)T.

How can nominations be submitted?

The nomination should be drafted using the ‘nomination form’ which can be downloaded at the bottom of this page. The nominations must be written in English and must be DORA compliant.

The nomination form includes a template with the following sections.

  1. A cover page (mandatory) providing general information about the candidate and the applicant.
  2. A motivational letter (mandatory, at maximum 2 pages) in which the applicant explains why the nominee should win the Award and how he/she complies with the assessment criteria mentioned in the assessment criteria in this Call for Nominations.
  3. Supporting documentation (optional, at maximum 5 pages) containing information relevant to the award, such as a short narrative CV of the nominee and supporting letters from third parties. A short description of the narrative CV can be found on the following web page.

See the brochure for more information.

Assessment procedure


Criteria

The committee applies the following criteria:

  1. The candidate makes an effort above and beyond duty to utilize his/her scientific findings to tackle a current and relevant societal problem and/or for an economic contribution.
  2. The candidate has taken inventive and effective steps of which it is likely that they lead to a solution to the relevant societal problem and/or economic contribution. The steps taken are substantiated and the first impact has been demonstrated.
  3. The candidate has a clear vision regarding the future steps that have to be taken in order to achieve more societal impact*. 
  4. The candidate creates, on his/her own initiative, a connection between science and society that is more than outreach and contributes to achieving societal impact. The candidate is therefore an example for other scientists.

*including economic impact

Procedure

The nominations are assessed in relation to the criteria by a committee. The Board of NWO Domain Science will make the decision regarding the winners. More details are given in the brochure.

To better reflect the official (dutch language) guidelines and to avoid misunderstanding the english translation of the brochure has been updated.