About this programme


Plastic waste is globally polluting oceans, rivers, soil and air. Large environmental plastic waste disintegrates and breaks up into small plastic particles of micro and even nano size. Other sources of micro and nano plastics in the environment stem from tire wear, fibres released when washing synthetic clothes and small plastic particles added to cosmetics such as some toothpastes. This ongoing pollution of water is threatening the circular loop of water as a clean source for drinking. Small plastic particles can be consumed by accidental swallowing of toothpaste, by consuming polluted seafood (particularly filter feeders such as mussels and oysters) or even by inhalation of polluted air.


The purpose of the programme Microplastics & Health is to gain insight into the interaction and effects of small plastic particles at a cell or organ level in humans. At the same time the purpose is to (further) develop innovative methods of measurement and deliver preliminary results on which further research can be based.

Multidisciplinary breakthrough projects

In order to achieve the programme goals there will be an open round for research projects, in which several short breakthrough projects can be funded. Breakthrough projects are by nature  high risk-high gain, the focus being to develop an innovative idea until a proof of concept. Projects are generally fundamental in nature and at the beginning of the knowledge-chain. The (further) development of methods of measurement can only be successful if research groups from different disciplines work together on projects. International collaboration is possible. The projects will be monitored intensively by a monitoring committee and project leaders will be in contact with each other if it is of added value.

The deadline for submitting a proposal  has passed. The submitted proposals are being evaluated by expert reviewers.

More information?

Send an email to MicroplasticsHealth@zonmw.nl

The research programme Microplastics & Health is a cross-over between the Topsector Life Sciences & Health and Topsector Water and is organised in collaboration with NWO.  Private co-funding has been contributed by the Gieskes Strijbis Foundation.

Relevant publications

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