External Funding Opportunities


The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) is one of the foremost promoters of scientific research in the Netherlands. Over the years the Dutch research council has awarded funding to many scholars.

Researchers can apply for subsidies within large research programmes as defined by NWO or as part of a free competition; in the latter case the research object is put forward by the researcher. Personal grants (like the well-known Vernieuwingsimpuls) stimulate individual researchers. Other subsidies facilitate (international) cooperation, finance the use of large-scale facilities and enable investments. An overview of the many granting opportunities on offer at NWO is presented on their website.

Free Competition in the Humanities
The subsidy for free competition in the Humanities aims at research programmes consisting of a minimum of two tightly interconnected projects, resulting in a synthesizing end product. As a rule in this framework a senior researcher and a number of PhD and postdoctoral researchers collaborate on a specific research theme.

PhDs in the Humanities
The aim of this PhD programme is to attract young research talent in the humanities so as to counteract the trend of an aging scientific staff. Two types of PhD position can be applied for: standard PhD positions and PhD positions for lecturers. Proposals can only be submitted for PhD students who are selected by deans of the faculties involved. You can find ore information about PhDs in the Humanities on the NWO website. 

The aim of the Rubicon programme is to encourage talented researchers at Dutch universities and research institutes run by KNAW and NWO to dedicate themselves to a career in postdoctoral research. Rubicon offers researchers who have completed their doctorates in the past year the chance to gain experience at a top research institution outside the Netherlands (maximum of two years). The programme also offers talented researchers from abroad the opportunity to obtain grants to spend one year conducting research in the Netherlands.

Vernieuwingsimpuls/Innovational Research Incentives Scheme
This programme is directed at the promotion of innovation and encourages individual researchers to conduct their own research programme independently and to enter and remain committed to the scientific profession. The Innovational Research Incentives Scheme is subdivided into three parts: Veni (for researchers who have recently taken their PhD), Vidi (for more experienced researchers who want to develop their own innovative line of research and appoint one or more co-researchers) and Vici (for senior researchers to build their own research group).

European Union/ERC

The European Union makes financial support for research available chiefly through calls for proposals, which are issued for each specific programme of the Framework Programme. The Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), which will run until 2013, is subdivided into four programmes. The 'Cooperation' programme supports research cooperation in a number of key thematic areas, addressing specific sectors. 'Ideas' funds investigator-driven research through a newly created European Research Council (ERC). The 'People' programme supports training and researchers' career development, while 'Capacities' funds the coordination and development of research infrastructure, regional research clusters, international cooperation and closer ties between science and society.

The above mentioned European Research Council (ERC) provides ERC Starting Grants and ERC Advanced Grants enabling excellent scholars at different levels of seniority to pursue an international research line of their own. Particularly the setting up of frontier research projects is encouraged.

Important contacts

Writing research proposals for funding agencies requires considerable investments in time and effort. It is common practice to involve colleagues from the start in the planning and designation of a research project.

In the preparation process the director of research of the your institute offers guidance and assistance. He or she comments on versions of the proposal and is instrumental in the training of applicants who are invited for an interview at a funding agency. 

In the Faculty of Humanities a special expert committee evaluates proposals prior to their submission at a funding agency. All applicants are invited to make use of the expertise of this committee. Secretary of the committee is Drs. A.M. Hendriks, who can provide information on the committee’s meetings and on the deadlines for handing in a pre-final version of a proposal.

As far as the financial aspects of a proposal are concerned all applicants are considered to consult the project controller of their institute when drawing up the budget of their project. It is compulsory to get his/her approval before sending the proposal to a funding organization.

Candidates with projects that include parts connected to data storage and the setting up of databases are urgently requested to get in touch with Dr. R.W.N. Goedemans in time. Technical support from the Faculty of Humanities can only be called in prior to the finalization of the proposal.

In case applications will be submitted to the European Union/ERC assistance is provided by the Leiden University Research and Innovation Services (LURIS). Please contact A.K. Groeninx van Zoelen.

Last Modified: 28-05-2013