About this programme

New round ZonMw Open Competition starts on 20 February 2020

The second round of the new programme ZonMw Open Competition will open On 20 February instead of 23 January. The deadline for the first phase of project ideas will be 16 april 2020. The deadline for submitting full proposals will also shift, namely to 15 September. The most important reason for these changes is a substantive sharpening of the call for proposals. Read more


The aim of the ZonMw Open Competition is to create space for excellent, curiosity-driven, groundbreaking science. The grant offers excellent research groups the opportunity to renew their line of research, enter into new collaborations and perform studies of exceptional quality in the field of health.

Research groups of excellent quality can use a grant of € 750,000 to revitalise the substance of and collaboration on their line of research. In view of its aim of revitalising lines of research the ZonMw Open Competition is specifically intended for combinations of research groups.


In the ZonMw Open Competition applicants may request funding for staff, material, equipment, investment, valorisation/impact and internationalisation. The Investment module includes the possibility of an extra grant for medium-sized infrastructure. The investment should be between € 100,000 and € 250,000, and be intended for funding innovative scientific equipment, for example. Matching funding is required for such extra infrastructural investments.


The expected outcome of projects will primarily be to deepen scientific understanding (increased knowledge, development of models and theories) in new collaborations between research groups. ZonMw believes this boost to science will prove a driver of innovation in the longer term.

In summary, the ZonMw Open Competition is about:
•    innovative, groundbreaking science with a broad knock-on effect on science and/or society,
•    innovative collaboration between research groups (synergy), and
•    studies that ZonMw regards as good health research.

In line with the process of harmonisation and simplification of funding instruments across the board at NWO, the ZonMw Open Competition replaces ZonMw’s TOP Grants and Medium-sized Investments programmes.

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