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Funding Programmes by Career Stage

Your funding needs might change as you advance through your career. Below we detail the opportunities available for every career stage.

For all possibilities listed below, your local grant advisor can share more information and help you to identified the opportunity best suited to your research goal.

From PhD to Early Assistant Professor

When you are early in your academic career, you might want to focus on research funding that allows you to set up your own research line, independent of your supervisor. Individual grants such as the Veni from the Dutch Research Council (NWO) and the Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) are the perfect opportunity.

If you simply want to test out an idea, the NWO XS grants within the Science (ENW) and Social Sciences and Humanities (SGW) domains might be of interest to you.

There are also opportunities to gain experience abroad. The perfect instruments for this are the NWO Rubicon and the Marie Curie Post-Doctoral Fellowships

In addition, many smaller discipline-specific grants and fellowships are available to help you fund the start of your research career.

From Assistant Professor to Associate Professor

In the intermediate stage of your career, you might want to set up or expand your own research group. The NWO Vidi and the ERC Consolidator grants can help you to do this.

You might also want to look at collaborative grants. A good starting point is the NWO Open Competition. It provides opportunities to collaborate with academic partners in the form of the ENW and SSH M instrument, as well as the opportunity to work with private partners under the Open Technology Programme.

If you aim to collaborate on a very specific topic with a high focus on impact, you will find great opportunities within the Societal Challenges of Horizon Europe.

From Late Associate Professor to Professor

Opportunities for individual, free research at this career stage come in the form of the ERC Advanced Grant and the NWO Vici. These grants will help you maintain and build your own research group.

In this stage you will probably have some experience working on a collaborative grant. The NWO Open Competition provides instruments for larger scale collaborations through the ENW XL and the SSH L instruments. If you are focused on ground-breaking scientific impact, consider the ERC Synergy instrument. This will provide you with the opportunity to work on high-risk, high-gain research with a small number of academic partners.

For collaborative grants that provide the opportunity to do impact-focused research, look at the NWA and KIC programmes of NWO. The NWA is focused on creating societal impact, while the KIC proves opportunities to create economic impact. Also have a look at the Societal Challenges within the Horizon Europe programme if you want to collaborate on specific topics.

If you are looking for larger-scale collaborations, you might want explore opportunities like the Zwaartekracht, Summit Grant or Long Term Programmes from NWO. These instruments may have an internal selection procedure, contact your local grant advisor before starting preparations.


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