The latest Enabling Technologies Hotels Call closed on 29 August 2017. Dr Sander Hougee, Programme Officer Life Sciences and Health at ZonMw, gives a sneak preview of the response to the call.
Technology Hotels are expert groups that offer their high-end technologies and the associated expertise and infrastructure to researchers who do not have access to such facilities at their home institute. Life scientists can obtain funding to perform a research project at a Technology Hotel through the ZonMw/NWO Enabling Technologies Hotels (ETH) programme. The latest call of the programme closed on 29 August.
Hougee: “We received 164 project proposals, which is more than three times as many as in the previous call. This rise in enthusiasm is probably partly due to the fact that the budget of the 2017 programme was twice the size of the previous call. We are quite happy with this result. We will award approximately sixty projects with a maximum of EUR 30k each. Each proposal will be evaluated by two reviewers. The entire review committee consists of 27 Dutch scientists. We expect to be able to announce the list of awarded projects mid-December 2017.”
The 2017 call was the first to welcome applications of projects outside a public-private partnership. Hougee: “This has been a longstanding wish of the programme committee. We also heard this wish in the evaluation of the programme that we performed amongst applicants in 2016. So, in the 2017 call, as a pilot, it was possible to submit an application without a company as co-applicant in so-called ‘early career scientist projects’. Here, the main applicant had to be a scientist at a Dutch academic research organisation who obtained a PhDin the period 2009-present. It was not necessary to involve a company as co-applicant in these project proposals. With these eligibility criteria, the call meets the wish of the programme committee and contributes to the top sector Human Capital Agendas to provide career and development opportunities for scientists. We received 87 of these early career scientist applications, so this extension of the programme has been received with great enthusiasm.”
The 2017 call was also open to public-private projects, i.e., collaborations between academic and industrial scientists. Projects in this category were asked to include the company as co-applicant. The main applicant was a scientist at a Dutch academic research organisation. Hougee: “We received 77 of these applications.”
DTL’s searchable catalogue of Technology Hotels enables you to quickly locate the expert group that you need for your research. Merlijn van Rijswijk, Technologies Programme Manager at DTL: “Several new expert groups have registered themselves as Technology Hotels in the past few months. In addition, the DTL core team has performed a quality check of the information on the Technology Hotel pages. As a result, the DTL website now contains detailed and up-to-date information about 130+ Technology Hotels. We are very pleased with the changes that have been made in this call, i.e., that the programme is now open to academic collaborations and that companies can also act as Hotels.”
Meanwhile, ZonMw and NWO are looking into the future. “It is too early to comment on the details now, but we are discussing the possibility to have a follow-up of Enabling Technologies Hotels in 2018 or 2019,” says Hougee.
ZonMw and NWO have set up the ETH programme in collaboration with DTL to stimulate open access of Dutch research facilities. The programme contributes to the aims of the Topsectors Life Sciences & Health, Agri & Food, and Horticulture & Starting Materials.