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Grant landscape in the Netherlands

The funding landscape in the Netherlands.


The Netherlands offers several sources of research funding. The main governmental funder is the Dutch Research Council (or Nederlandse organisatie voor wetenschappelijk onderzoek - NWO). With funding from the ministry of education, culture and science it is tasked with the distribution of around 900 million for research funding each year. The separate branch of the NWO is the department of care and medical sciences called (ZonMw) who receive funding mainly for the dutch ministry of health, welfare and sports. They focus mainly on the health and welfare sector in the Netherlands and related research. They together fund programmes to stimulate talent in the Netherlands.

NWO offers 5 main lines of funding

  1. Open Competition
    Curiosity-driven research
  2. Talent Programme
    Curiosity-driven, responsive-mode research aimed at research talent
  3. Knowledge and Innovation Contract/KIC
    Projects or programmes in partnership with external public and/or private parties
  4. Dutch National  Research Agenda
    Facilitate science making a contribution to economic and societal challenges
  5. Research infrastructure
    Realising large-scale infrastructure

ZonMw has a slightly different structure. They partner with NWO for the Talent line and Open competition, but next to this they have about 80 to 100 different funding instruments each year. 


Top sectors

The Dutch Economic affairs unit has issued 6 area’s, the so-called topsectors, which are of the utmost economic value of the Netherlands. To maintain a leading role in the world on these topics, research budget is issued for innovation. The Kennis and Innovation Convenant is agreed on every four years where all partners: government, universities, and private sector work together to innovate the Netherlands. The KIC budget is for a part distributed by the NWO in different funding opportunities.

Health Sector

The Dutch organization for specific health-related diseases also often have a research budget and stimulate research. For these specific grants you can always check the different websites of the health organisations. You can get an overview on the website of the Stichting gezondheidsfondsen