Consortia that are interdisciplinary and cover the full breadth of the knowledge chain are invited to submit research proposals that express the broad and innovative character of the Dutch Research Agenda (NWA). Proposals should fall within one or more NWA routes and address one or more of the 140 cluster questions. The starting point for this is the Portfolio for Research and Innovation.


The aim of the NWA-ORC 2020/21 call for proposals is to encourage research and innovation focused on the portfolio of 25 routes and the 140 corresponding cluster questions in the NWA. This research will be set up and carried out by interdisciplinary consortia that will include representatives from the full breadth of the knowledge chain as well as relevant societal partners, including industry. The added value of the consortium will be evidenced by the joint approach to the research, with the individual strengths and expertise of each participant demonstrably reinforcing those of the others. Which knowledge partners are involved and which societal partners are relevant will depend on the objectives of the project.

Who can apply

Proposals should be submitted by a consortium in which the various types of research in the knowledge chain (fundamental, applied and practice-oriented) must be represented. There are four categories of participant within a consortium:

  • Main applicant;
  • Co-applicant(s);
  • Co-funder(s)
  • Cooperating partner(s) (optional)

The main applicant submits the application on behalf of the consortium. More information about the four categories of participants as well as specific requirements regarding who can apply, can be found in paragraph 3.1 of the call for proposals.

What to apply for

In this round, proposals can be submitted in the following budget ranges:

  • 500,000 – ≤ 2,000,000 euros;
  • > 2,000,000 – ≤ 5,000,000 euros;
  • > 5,000,000 – ≤ 10,000,000 euros.

The budget range is determined by the funding requested from NWO. The budget is built up using the NWO-wide standardised building blocks, the so-called modules. Seven modules are available in this call:

  • Personnel costs;
  • Material costs;
  • Investments;
  • Knowledge utilisation;
  • Internationalisation;
  • Money follows Collaboration;
  • Programme management.

Extensive information about the modules can be found in annex 6.2 of the call for proposals.


Co-funding is obligatory in each proposal. The participating co-funders should jointly contribute at least 10% of the total project budget in the form of co-funding, either in-cash or in-kind.   The conditions regarding co-funding can be found in paragraph 3.5 of the call for proposals.

When to apply

The NWA-ORC 2020/21 funding round has three phases and therefore has three deadlines.

  • The deadline for online submission of an initiative via the NWO-website is on 1 October 2020 at 14:00:00 CEST.

Submitting an initiative is required to be able to submit a pre-proposal. After submission of the initiative, the main applicant – or another participant in the consortium – has to take part in a matchmaking event of the indicated primary NWA-route.

  • The deadline for submission of pre-proposals is on 14 January 2021 at 14:00:00 CET. A pre-proposal may only be submitted if an initiative has previously been submitted.
  • The deadline for submission of full proposals is on 24 June 2021 at 14:00:00 CEST. A full proposal may only be submitted if a pre-proposal has previously been submitted.

Read more about this call and the documents needed on the NWO website.

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