The coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) causes an infectious disease, COVID-19, which has held the entire world in its grip for many years from the beginning of 2020 onwards. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, we have funded many studies in our COVID-19 programme into, for example, vaccines, care for patients, prevention, long COVID, but also into the societal consequences of the coronavirus crisis and COVID-19.

Research programmes

We distinguish 3 focus areas that COVID-19 research programmes contribute to. All COVID-19 projects include one of these areas: Treatment, diagnostics and vaccination, Care, prevention and dissemination, and Societal dynamics and impact on society. On the COVID-19 programme page, you can read more about the (sub)programmes and projects.


In long COVID, also referred to as post-COVID syndrome, people continue to experience symptoms for a long period of time after a COVID-19 infection. There is a need for more knowledge about this clinical picture. On the long COVID page, you can find out which studies are being done into Long COVID.

Excess mortality

In 2020 and 2021, there was excess mortality that cannot be explained yet. More people died than expected. This cannot be explained in full by referring to COVID-19 alone. ZonMw funds research into this excess mortality during the coronavirus pandemic. More information about the projects and FAQs can be found on the page Excess mortality.

COVID-19 vaccination

The studies into COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination focus on generating knowledge that can be directly used for patients and by those treating them in the Netherlands. All studies into the COVID-19 vaccination can be found on the page COVID-19 vaccination. ZonMw also commissions research into vaccination against other diseases.

COVID-19 and mental health

During the coronavirus pandemic, it quickly became apparent that the coronavirus and the coronavirus measures had an effect on people's mental health. ZonMw has therefore funded research to identify which groups experienced extra difficulties, how an appropriate provision of care and support can be set up, and which lessons need to be learned. All information about this can be found on the page COVID-19 and mental health . ZonMw funds also funds other projects into mental health and these can be found on the mental health page

Organisation of healthcare

COVID-19 had a negative impact on the entire healthcare system in the Netherlands. Everywhere people and healthcare providers encountered each other, things happened differently. Policymakers and healthcare professionals often had difficulty adapting the organisation of the provided healthcare to this situation. To discover how we can handle this better in the future, ZonMw facilitates research into the organisation of healthcare during a pandemic. Read more about the organisation of healthcare during the current coronavirus pandemic.

The impact of deferred care

ZonMw supports research that studies the impact of deferred care as a consequence of the current coronavirus pandemic. Read researchers’ blogs or listen to the 2 podcasts on the page Deferred care.

Contamination and spread of COVID-19

ZonMw also funds research into contamination and spread of COVID-19. Within these research projects questions are answered such as what is the role of children and schools, but also for example how to prevent contaminations in public spaces? Many research projects have already been completed, you can read about the results on Contamination and spread of COVID-19. (Translation available soon)

Specialised medical care

Together with the Netherlands Federation of Medical Specialists, ZonMw has set a knowledge agenda for research into the treatment of COVID-19 patients. The knowledge agenda highlights gaps regarding the care for these patients. More information about the  current projects can be found on the page Specialised medical care. Within the COVID-19 program, research is being done on various topics into the treatment and diagnostics of COVID-19. On this page you will find an overview of themes and the associated projects.

Strengthening employees' mental fitness

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many workers are in need of additional support to strengthen their mental fitness; to help them cope with long-term health issues, for instance, or altered working patterns including homeworking and hybrid working. The Workers’ mental fitness programme provides interest-promoting parties with the opportunity to obtain support and tools from specially selected professionals for their constituencies. In addition, promising and innovative interventions can be deployed and evaluated in labour organisations.

All projects made FAIR

Researchers who apply for funding from ZonMw will be requested to manage their research data, make it suitable for use and share it. By doing this, they will contribute to future and innovative research. All data from the COVID-19 projects are made FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) and can be found on the data portal More information about Open Science in COVID-19 research can be found here.

Our knowledge partners in national and international research

Although the programme initially focused on the Dutch situation, the international character of the coronavirus crisis and the global effects of the measures against it require a broader, global approach. ZonMw continuously aligns with the WHO Coordinated Global Research Roadmap: 2019 novel coronavirus, and with COVID-19 Research Project Tracker by UKCDR & GloPID-R | UKCDR, an international network of research funding bodies with a focus on infectious outbreaks. Also read about the collaboration between ZonMw and GloPID-r on FAIR metadata (Pandemic PACT – Global research collaboration for infectious disease preparedness and Summary of Annecy Tool Development Meeting)

We will incorporate the lessons learned into the programme Pandemic Preparedness . Pandemic preparedness means that we are well prepared for future pandemics caused by outbreaks of microorganisms.


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