About ZonMw

Working with knowledge to boost good health for all: that is what ZonMw is about. That is the mission which we have been pursuing for the past decades.

Using knowledge to improve public health

Innovations in health, care and wellbeing can help us live healthier and prevent us from getting sick, lead to new treatments and medicines, and ensure that the right care is available in the right places. But our health is also increasingly intertwined with broader societal issues.

These challenges require different kinds of knowledge and science. To face them, we need to harness the full range of the knowledge chain, from fundamental research to implementation projects. This calls for close collaboration across disciplines and accessible data and research results.

By identifying knowledge requirements, facilitating knowledge development and encouraging the use of this knowledge in practice, we continue to respond to the changing world around us. We help increase the relevance, quality and impact of research and accelerate breakthroughs to make good health accessible to everyone.

Connecting force that brings about innovations

We bring together people and organisations to address relevant societal and scientific issues affecting health, care and wellbeing. In doing so, we work closely with a wide range of stakeholders: from researchers to healthcare providers, social workers and support staff, and from policymakers to patients, citizens and experts by experience. We can only make a difference if we work together, which is why ZonMw aims to be a connecting force that brings about innovations in care, health and wellbeing.

Together we ensure that knowledge has a greater impact on improving health and wellbeing for everyone, always keeping in mind our core values: accuracy, accessibility, assertiveness and – last but certainly not least – cooperation. Because we can only contribute to a world in which good health is universally attainable if we are all pulling in the same direction.

The core activities of ZonMw

Together we ensure more impact from knowledge in the improvement of health and well-being for everybody. To make this possible, we focus on three core activities:

  • We programme and fund health research and innovation in care – Together with our contractors and stakeholders, we determine which knowledge and activities are needed, design programmes for these and fund the development of this knowledge. For this, we bring together researchers from different disciplines and from various countries.
  • We encourage impact – We connect people and organisations to further develop knowledge about care, health and well-being and to help implement that knowledge in practice so that the research results of programmes and projects are actually used in practice.
  • We define the areas where knowledge is needed - Due to our collaboration with, amongst others, researchers, care providers and policymakers, we can identify where there is a need for more knowledge. We bring this to the attention of researchers, contractors, people in the field, education professionals and citizens. In doing this, we facilitate the utilisation of knowledge to solve scientific and societal issues concerning care, health and well-being.

And we always do that with our core values in mind: meticulousness, accessibility, resourcefulness and connectivity.

ZonMw: The connecting force that drives innovation

The added value of ZonMw is its connecting force. We connect people and organisations for working on relevant societal and scientific issues that influence health, care and well-being. We work closely together with, amongst others, researchers, care providers, caregivers, policymakers, clients, citizens and experiential experts. Because we can only make a difference by working together.

Our contractors

Our most important contractors are the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) and the Dutch Research Council (NWO). Other ministries – whether or not together with the Ministry of VWS – are contractors of programmes at ZonMw as well. Examples are the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (IenW) in the areas of microplastics, climate impact and health, or the Ministry of Justice and Security (JenV) and the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK) in the area of erratic behaviour.

In addition, we have several (co-) funders in programmes such as (health) funds and Health~Holland. With co-funders, we not only fund and programme together but we also jointly harmonise other processes, such as socially responsible licensing and how to enhance impact. Besides which, we make use of each other's networks to ensure that the results of projects can be further developed. And we are a partner in international programmes that receive their funding from the European Commission. ZonMw plays an active role in these as a stakeholder in governance organisation and the drawing up of international strategic research and innovation agendas, funding, training and communication.


Many of the issues we now face in healthcare are not unique to the Netherlands. ZonMw therefore also carefully examines the important international issues and whether we can collaborate on these with other parties. That allows us to consolidate knowledge and resources to solve these issues.

As a partner, we contribute to various initiatives, some of which are funded by the European Commission. ZonMw plays an active role in these as a stakeholder in the establishment of the governance and the drawing up of international strategic research and innovation agendas, funding, training and communication.

You can also submit proposals to various international funding rounds via ZonMw.


Independent government body

ZorgOnderzoek Nederland (Care Research Netherlands, Dutch abbreviation: ZON) was established by law in 1998 (ZON Act). Since 2001, there has been a partnership between ZON and the Medical Sciences (Dutch abbreviation: MW) domain of the Dutch Research Council (NWO). This partnership is called ZonMw and constitutes an independent self-governing organisation.