ZonMw tijdlijn Mental Health https://www.zonmw.nl/ Het laatste nieuws van de tijdlijn van Mental Health en-gb Thu, 03 Dec 2020 18:23:20 +0100 Thu, 03 Dec 2020 18:23:20 +0100 TYPO3 news-6571 Wed, 25 Nov 2020 14:46:10 +0100 Pre-announcement: new round of ZonMw Open Competion in the fall of 2021 https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/pre-announcement-new-round-of-zonmw-open-competion-in-the-fall-of-2021/ Fall of 2021 researchers can apply again for the ZonMw Open Competition. Originally the start of a new call for proposals was February 2021, but as a result of the COVID pandememic the current round is prolonged. This has consequences for the following calls, so we had to take measures and adapt the schedule. More information and the exact time table with deadlines for the new call for proposals will follow in 2021.

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.

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news-6527 Thu, 19 Nov 2020 12:00:00 +0100 Award for RAPDIF https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/award-for-rapdif/ On 19 November, during World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, ZonMw awarded a Parel (Award) to Dr. Henk Schallig, parasitologist at Amsterdam UMC. He received the award for the RAPDIF study, which developed better tools and knowledge for tackling fever and malaria in Africa. One of the biggest causes of fever is malaria, a disease that kills hundreds of thousands of people in Africa every year, the majority of them children under the age of five. The RAPDIF study found that the diagnosis and treatment of fever in young children in Africa is often inadequate. Rapid malaria tests are not reliable enough and, in the absence of a proper diagnosis, children with fever are often treated with both anti-malaria drugs and antibiotics. The antibiotics were found to be of no benefit in no fewer than 50 to 90% of cases.

New rapid test

The RAPDIF researchers approached the problem from two angles: making rapid malaria tests more reliable, and identifying other causes of fever. The study was performed by a group of Dutch and Burkinabe researchers in Burkina Faso. Together, they succeeded in developing a new rapid malaria test that is no less than a hundred times more sensitive that the current rapid tests. Local health workers were found to have more faith in the new test. A follow-up study involving 5700 children and adults in five African countries will show whether the new malaria test works on a large scale.

Bacterial diagnostic test

The RAPDIF team also discovered that, besides malaria, fever in young children is commonly caused by four types of bacteria: E-coli, Salmonella typhi, Pneumococcus and Streptococcus. The researchers worked on a rapid diagnostic test to detect these bacteria in blood, but this is a difficult technical challenge. Provided they secure funding, they hope to enable a rapid test for these bacteria which, combined with the rapid malaria test, would allow fever to be treated in a much more targeted way. Children could be given the correct treatment, either anti-malaria drugs or antibiotics.

International research

This would also help curb antimicrobial resistance. ‘Infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance are good friends, travelling the world hand in hand, with no regard for borders or differences between people’, Henk Schallig explained. ‘The fact that we received this award for our work underlines the importance of international research into resistance. Knowledge gained in other parts of the world is very important for the Netherlands, and vice versa. The ZonMw and NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Development grant for our RAPDIF study contributed a huge amount of extra knowledge about use of medicines, diagnostics and resistance, and also about capacity-building in Burkina Faso. For our team in Burkina Faso and the Netherlands, the Parel is a huge encouragement to continue this work, and that is just what we plan to do.’

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news-6513 Mon, 16 Nov 2020 17:56:31 +0100 Recent publications from international AMR projects with Dutch participation https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/recent-publications-from-international-amr-projects-with-dutch-participation/ On behalf of the Netherlands, we are part of the international partnership Joint Programming Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance (JPIAMR), currently a collaboration between 28 member countries. Many projects funded under the framework of the JPIAMR already resulted in outstanding publications that range over One Health areas (Human, Animal, Environment). Here we highlight three projects. These projects are co-funded by ZonMw, with Dutch coordinators and/or project partners that recently published their results. Below are the summaries of the highlighted publications across the priority topics of the JPIAMR Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA).

WGS snapshot of MDR Klebsiella pneumoniae strains from WWTPs

A publication in PlosOne, 2020 from the project AWARE reported genomic characterization of 47 multi-drug resistant, carbapenem resistant and ESBL-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae isolates from hospitals and receiving wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in Southern Romania. The presented results enrich the knowledge of the epidemiological context of ESKAPE pathogens at national and European level, a major step in the implementation of reliable surveillance and actions plans.

Priority topic SRIA: Environment
Call on Transmission Dynamics, 2016
Consortium coordinator: Ana Maria de Roda Husman, Centre Infectious Disease Control, RIVM, Netherlands.
Including partners from: Netherlands, Sweden, Romania, Germany, Australia, Switzerland
Involved funders: ZonMw, SRC/FORMAS, ANCSI, BMBF/DLR

A digital antimicrobial stewardship smartphone application

AB-Assistant published a study protocol to evaluate the impact of digital antimicrobial stewardship smartphone application on quantity and quality of antimicrobial drug prescribing for the hospital setting in BMJ Open, 2020. This study is now registered for an international randomised, multicentre, clinical trial. (Trial registration number: NCT03793946, ClinicalTrials.gov registry).

Priority topic SRIA: Interventions
Call on Prevention and Intervention strategies to Control AMR infections, 2017
Consortium coordinator: Annelies Verbon, Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Erasmus University Medical Center, Netherlands.
Including partners from: Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada, Romania, Czech Republic
Involved funders: ZonMw, SRC, SNSF, CIHR

COM-Blockers reduce the spread of virulence factors and antibiotic resistance

The project COMBINATORIALS published an article in Cell Host & Microbe, 2020 where they identified potent competence inhibitors in Streptococcus pneumoniae, called COM-blockers. These compounds disrupt proton motive force, block natural competence (COM) and interrupt intraspecies horizontal gene transfer and exchange of antibiotic resistance. Such strategies might minimize clinical spread of antibiotic resistance.

Priority topic SRIA: Therapeutics
Antimicrobial Resistance through the JPIAMR, 2015
Consortium coordinator: Typas Athanasios, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Genome Biology Unit, Germany.
Dutch project partner: Jan-Willem Veening, Molecular Genetics Department, University of Groningen
Including partners from: Germany, Netherlands, France, Sweden
Involved funders: DRL, ZonMw, ANR, SCR
The entire list of the publications from the projects and networks supported under the JPIAMR framework is also available on the webpage: www.jpiamr.eu/scientific-articles

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news-6442 Thu, 05 Nov 2020 09:08:00 +0100 161 researchers awarded a NWO Veni grant worth 250,000 euros https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/161-researchers-awarded-a-nwo-veni-grant-worth-250000-euros/ The Dutch Research Council (NWO) has awarded a Veni grant worth up to 250,000 euros to 161 highly promising young scientists. The grant provides the laureates with the opportunity to further elaborate their own ideas during a period of three years. The Veni laureates will conduct research on a variety of subjects such as the impact of social networks on democracy, the development of a biosensor that contributes to the revelation of fingerprints, and sustainable hydrogen that benefits the energy transition. The Veni will also be employed to investigate the shared focal point of common diseases and rare diseases, metabolic potentiation of vaccines, and the dynamic prediction, monitoring and recommendations for late effects after breast cancer.

25 of the 161 rewarded researchers will contribute to innovation and new knowledge for health care and medical research.

Veni is part of the NWO Talent Programma which ZonMw executes for the domain of Health Care and Medical Reserch

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news-6430 Wed, 04 Nov 2020 09:20:00 +0100 81 researchers receive NWO-Vidi grant worth 800,000 euros https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/81-researchers-receive-nwo-vidi-grant-worth-800000-euros/ The Dutch Research Council has awarded 81 experienced researchers a Vidi grant worth 800,000 euros. The grant enables them to develop their own innovative line of research and set up their own research group in the coming five years. With the grant the Vidi laureates will do research on a variety of subjects including computational models that help understand social tipping points and ways to stronger assess climate adaptation policy. The Vidi will also help researchers develop a new system that gives robots an awareness of their physical limitations, even after failures. Another research will focus on the development of advanced computer models to improve the treatment of heart rhythm disorders.

15 of the 81 rewarded researchers will contribute to innovation and new knowledge for health care and medical research.

Vidi is part of the NWO Talent Programma which ZonMw executes for the domain of Health Care and Medical Reserch

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news-6418 Wed, 28 Oct 2020 13:57:36 +0100 Participation in research https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/participation-in-research/ In the research world, everybody now knows that good research goes hand-in-hand with the input of peer experts. But how can that participation best be realised? We asked Christine Dedding who, as Associate Professor at Amsterdam UMC, is specialised in participation and co-creation. ‘We need to go and discover and shape things together.' Let’s start with the basics. What is participation?

‘The core idea of participation is that we all possess valuable knowledge. The policymaker, but also children, young people, the elderly, people with a disability or illness, everybody. You can only produce policies that work and interventions that are effective if you do justice to everybody’s knowledge and expertise. That means not only listening carefully, but especially working together too. As far as I’m concerned, participation is not a method, but a value that says something about how we relate to each other.’

What does that yield?

‘Policy and interventions that connect with the complex reality of people. I get irritated by sentences like: “they’re not motivated” or “they can’t do it”. We often hear that from people behind desks in institutes. It is far too easy for policymakers, advisers or researchers to talk about people in this way. However, that does not do justice to the knowledge and expertise of the people concerned. Such a view of reality is far too limited to be able to develop good policy.

An example. I’m working together with colleagues in a project about digital inequality. This concerns people affected by poverty who are struggling to find their way in the digital world. Our Pavlovian response to this is: we must train these people. But if you take the time to carefully study the complex living environment of those people, you’ll see that this is not a solution. A lack of money means pressure and stress.

How are you going to pay for the groceries? How are you going to buy those long wanted shoes for your son? On Monday there is language training, on Tuesday debt counselling and then on Wednesday yet another training to improve your digital skills? With all of those financial worries on their minds, of course people don’t have the time for that. You will only acquire new knowledge if you investigate together and learn together. That gives rise to policy that genuinely connects with people’s realities.’

But isn’t there far more attention for participation in research nowadays?

‘Yes, there certainly is. The philosophy has taken root and is encouraged by ZonMw, for example. That’s fantastic. But I sometimes wonder whether we’ve lost sight of the original goal of participation.
By doing justice to everybody’s knowledge and expertise, the founders of the philosophy wanted to realise positive changes in society. And then especially for the have-nots, therefore those people in vulnerable circumstances who are neither seen nor heard. Despite the attention for participation in research, that group is still heard too little.

I mainly see a lot of focus groups. Then you invite people into your system, which is comfortable for researchers and institutes. Furthermore, the handful of people in such groups never represent the necessary diversity. They’re often well educated and feel at ease within the system in which we have learned to work. Those are not the people we’re trying to help.’

So what should we be doing?

‘Less focus on making decisions over the heads of people and instead really meeting the people concerned and collaborating with them. Preferably in the living environment of the people we’re trying to help. That is where new knowledge arises, not in meeting rooms.

Therefore every project starts by examining who the people are that the research is investigating, what motivates them and what their needs are. First of all, we need to find those people, in a community centre or wherever else they may be found. Then you can get to know and trust each other, which costs time, and only then can you start to build something.’

And that is when the research question arises?

‘Ideally, yes. However, if the research question was already formulated from behind a researcher’s desk, then I hope that this happened in interaction with the people it concerns.’

How does participation acquire a concrete form in that research?

‘Yes, I often hear that question. My disappointing answer is always that I don’t really know. That is indeed the crux of the problem. Because you need to go and discover and shape things together. You cannot say: one size fits all. Even I begin by asking the same basic questions each time. Who is it about? What is needed here? And how can we help each other? It is an interactive process of building, thinking, reflecting and taking the next step.’

But are there keys for success?

‘Fortunately, yes. Invest in the meeting and avoid organising it in a formal setting. Go and cook or take a walk together, or do something else that is appropriate to the project. Be creative in the methods that you use. Participation all too often gains a verbal form. And with that, we unintentionally exclude a lot of people.

By asking questions, we do not always reach the deeper emotions. For example, work with photography or go and build with Lego. This is the only way other types of knowledge and emotion can emerge. By doing something together instead of just talking, a different type of conversation develops.’

What does that mean for the role of the researcher?

‘That role revolves far more around helpfulness in facilitating a learning process. You always participate as a researcher, of course. That means analysing what happens and thoroughly recording that.
Furthermore, I not only publish in academic journals, but I also devise ways and tools for sharing knowledge in everyday practice. Only then will changes and improvements occur. If you have spent time together and learned from each other, then implementation is a far more natural process. Via the people with the experience and knowledge, it will end up where it needs to be.’

What does participation require from researchers?

‘Creativity. And if you’re not that creative, then involve other people who are. It requires flexibility. And because you do not always know who you will meet or what you will do, it also requires courage. Knowledge and expertise about the philosophy is also important. Because if you genuinely understand why participation is important then, in turn, you will gain more courage.

We have started the School for Participation (website in Dutch) to better explain participation and the underlying sources of knowledge. We also organise participation cafes. There researchers can present dilemmas so that they can together make progress in the learning process. Because it’s a process that can make you feel uncertain. After all, how do you do things if there’s no blueprint?’

How do you hope participation in research will develop further?

‘We need to keep on learning. ZonMw has done a really good job at boosting participation among researchers and project applicants. This phase has borne fruit, and everybody knows it is important and desirable. Now we need to critically examine who is involved and in particular: who is not involved. We also need to consider whether the ultimate objective of societal change for those who cannot easily provide input and be heard is firmly at the fore.

In the project I mentioned earlier about digital inequality we found, for example, that we need to make use of different systems. Because these citizens affected by poverty are busy with surviving and do not have time for yet another training. The professionals - who are paid to do this - must learn to design in such a way that these people can also make good use of what we offer. From this perspective, the question who lacks certain skills should not only be asked about users, but about the commissioning bodies and the designers of the research as well.’

So rethinking things?

‘Precisely. And that requires a joint learning process that starts with the meeting, there where people live.’

Author and photography Marieke Kessel

news-6415 Wed, 28 Oct 2020 10:47:58 +0100 New research into promotion of the health potential of people in a lower socioeconomic position https://www.nwo.nl/en/news-and-events/news/2020/10/new-research-into-improved-use-of-health-potential-of-people-in-a-lower-socioeconomic-position.html How can the health potential of people in a lower socioeconomic position be better engaged and promoted? This is the key question in a new call for proposals from the NWA. news-6374 Mon, 19 Oct 2020 09:04:20 +0200 Largest study ever on research integrity launches, aimed at all researchers in the Netherlands https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/largest-study-ever-on-research-integrity-launches-aimed-at-all-researchers-in-the-netherlands/ The National Survey on Research Integrity (NSRI) is being distributed to nearly 40,000 researchers in the Netherlands starting today. The survey marks the starts of not only the largest study ever conducted, worldwide,on research integrity, but also the first and largest study to target the entire research communityin the Netherlands, acrossall disciplines. The survey seeks to sketch as accurate and complete a picture as possible of theissues that can foster or hinder research integrity, such as open science practices, competitiveness, trust in published studies, work pressure, and questionable and responsible research practices.

“We are living in a time when scientific research and outcomes are essential to making decisions that affect the general populationand our country’s welfare,” said professor Lex Bouter, project leader for the NSRI. “There is much at stake, and it is imperative that those who are relying on science can also trust our research practices.”

The NSRI is one ofthe projects in the Fostering Responsible Research Practices (FRRP) programme, conducting “research about research”and underwritten by the Dutch organisations ZonMw, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), and their partners. ZonMw, NWO and their partners are investing a total of 3.8 million euros over five years to realise the four pillars of the FRRP programme, of which the NSRI is one of.

According to FRRP: “By means of the NSRI, we will gain insight into the nature and causes of questionable research practices. The results will be used to implement substantiated improvements.

"Why research integrity –and why now?"

Different to ethics, research integrity generally refers to the principles and standards whose purpose it is to ensure validity and trustworthiness of research,” according to Gowri Gopalakrishna, the post-doc researcher on the NSRI team. “It has become an urgent topic not only in the Netherlands, but also worldwide, especially with the open science movement.”

Accelerated scientific publishing during the Covid-19 pandemic is an example that Bouter, Gopalakrishna and their team have cited as a reason to bring research integrity topics to the front of researchers’ attention, noting that the first four months of the pandemic resultedin muchmore related scientific publishing than in 2003 with the outbreak of SARS.

“The rapidly increasing number of publications combined with the urgency to quickly understand the new pathogen presents a significant challenge for maintaining the integrity of the underlying evidence base, and to ensure that research is conducted according to global standards of research integrity,” Gopalakrishna and Bouterargue in a commentarywritten in June 2020 for British Medical Journal Opinion.

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news-6307 Tue, 06 Oct 2020 16:37:10 +0200 Powerful US research funder unveils strict open-access policy https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02793-5?utm_source=Nature+Briefing&utm_campaign=f99132318c-briefing-dy-20201002&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c9dfd39373-f99132318c-43672369 One of the world’s richest biomedical research organizations, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), announced on 1 October that it will require scientists it funds to make papers open access (OA) as soon as they are published — a change to its current policy, which allows a delay of up to one year before results must be free to read. news-6296 Tue, 06 Oct 2020 13:25:00 +0200 Overview of AMR-related resources and services https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/overview-of-amr-related-resources-and-services/ It is with pleasure that we share the public report on the survey set out to create an overview of resources and services related to antimicrobial resistance research. We would like to thank everyone who provided input, participated and/or shared the AMR survey. We are very delighted with the interesting insights it provided. Public report and dashboard – make sure to check it out!

It is with pleasure that we share with you two things:

  1. The public report of the survey results. View the public report
  2. A selection of the results are now also presented in an interactive and user-friendly dashboard that can be used by the entire AMR research community. View the interactive dashboard.

We could not have done this without the AMR community!

Next steps

Another survey will be set out to collect more detailed information about individual resources and services, and to address issues related to their findability, reuse, sustainability, and quality. For the next survey we strive to use a machine-readable metadata scheme, ensuring that the input is documented according to a standardised & community-agreed description, is interoperable, and remains up-to-date!

Feel free to share

You are more than welcome to further distribute the public report and dashboard within your network.

This is an initiative by ZonMw (the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development) on behalf of the consortia JPIAMR and VALUE-Dx.

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news-6207 Mon, 21 Sep 2020 10:25:40 +0200 16 Starting science talents go to top foreign institutions thanks to Rubicon https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/16-starting-science-talents-go-to-top-foreign-institutions-thanks-to-rubicon-1/ 16 researchers who have recently received their PhDs can do their research at foreign research institutes thanks to a Rubicon grant from NWO. The Rubicon programme gives young, highly promising researchers the opportunity to gain international research experience. They investigate responses among other topics the plumbing of miniature kidneys, breastfeeding and healthprotecting, protecting kidneys on the ICU and the role of cholersterol in Alzheimer’s disease.  

Top institutions

For many researchers, experience abroad is an important step in their career. Thanks to the Rubicon grant these young researchers can do their research at top institutions such as Oxford and Harvard. The laureates depart to different destinations: seven laureates are going to the United States, four to the United Kingdom, two to Germany and the rest of the individual candidates are going to Australia, Israel and France.

More information

Read the complete news item of NWO
Overview of the granted Rubicon 2020-1 round

Source: NWO


news-6284 Tue, 08 Sep 2020 14:00:00 +0200 COVID-19 funding round for the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/covid-19-funding-round-for-the-caribbean-part-of-the-kingdom-of-the-netherlands/ Within the COVID-19 Programme, ZonMw and NWO have opened a funding round that is specifically intended for the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Reason for funding round

The coronavirus crisis has had a huge impact on the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. Measures that have been taken worldwide, such as travel restrictions, have led to the loss of tourism to these countries. The considerable dependence on this sector, combined with the small scale of operations in the region, has resulted in many residents no longer having an income. At the lower side of the labour market, in particular, many jobs have been lost. Vulnerable groups in society are the worst-hit.

Solutions through research

There is no simple solution to this complex issue. Research is needed to offer government bodies and residents of the Caribbean part of the Kingdom a way out of this crisis and possible future crises too. How do you ensure that societies and economies become resilient? What works and what does not? The focus is on two subjects:
-    Protecting vulnerable groups in society;
-    Building up a more diverse and accordingly more resilient economy.
As part of the COVID-19 Programme – focus area Societal Dynamics -  this funding round therefore focuses on these two subjects.

Planning and budget

From 8 September 2020 onwards, research proposals can be submitted to ZonMw by the universities of Aruba, Curaçao and St. Martin. A total of € 500,000 is available and applicants can apply for a maximum of € 250,000 per project. The intended maximum duration of the projects is 18 months. The deadline for submitting proposals is 27 October 2020. The projects can start at the end of November.

More information

•    See the call for proposals COVID-19: Societal dynamics in the Dutch Caribbean
•    Read more about current and completed studies into COVID-19
•    Go to the page about the COVID-19 Programme

news-6102 Tue, 01 Sep 2020 09:41:36 +0200 Animal-free innovations for better COVID-19 research https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/animal-free-innovations-for-better-covid-19-research/ This summer, 40 research projects into the coronavirus pandemic and the consequences of thisstarted with funding from the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. We rapidly need a lot of knowledge about the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the disease COVID-19. Animal-free models can play a role in that because the results can be better translated to humans and yield outcomes faster. Five projects with animal-free research will therefore start. In April of this year, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport made 40 million euros available to ZonMw and NWO for research into the coronavirus pandemic and the consequences of this for society, such as the illness COVID-19. The research results should become available as quickly as possible for everybody who has an interest in this illness: doctors and nurses, national and municipal governments, care providers and citizens. With animal-free innovations, research can be done better and faster. And that is vitally important now: the committee of the ZonMw research programme More Knowledge with Fewer Animals therefore made extra funding available to realise projects with such animal-free innovations within the research programme COVID-19. ‘I’m proud of the performance delivered by everyone involved, applicants and assessors, because an awful lot of work was realised in a short space of time’, says Dick Tommel, chair of the committee More Knowledge with Fewer Animals.

The Dutch Society for the Replacement of Animal Testing also made funding available for this call for proposals. ‘Many animal experiments are performed for research into COVID-19. We will almost certainly see that in the figures’, says Debby Weijers of the Society. ‘With this initiative, we want to contribute to COVID-19 research without animal experiments. For this disease in particular – and similar diseases in the future – we hope to achieve a lot with human models. That is because these models reveal far more accurately how the disease progresses in humans. Also, with human models, we can personalise the research, for example by using stem cells or computer simulations based on patient data. With such approaches, we can better investigate why the virus makes certain groups more ill than others. Animal models will not be able to provide an answer to these and other questions.’

Exemplary projects

In this special round, embedded in the COVID-19 call for proposals, five projects were selected that make broader use of existing animal-free innovation or make the development of new animal-free innovations possible.

A heparin puff against coronavirus infection? - Theo Geijtenbeek (Amsterdam UMC)

Theo Geijtenbeek, Professor of Molecular and Cellular Immunology at Amsterdam UMC, will lead research into the possible preventive effect of the anticoagulant low molecular weight heparin against SARS-CoV-2. Already, COVID-19 patients are now immediately administered heparin by means of injections when they are hospitalised in order to prevent blood clots. But Geijtenbeek and his group discovered that this drug also blocks the binding of the virus to cells and consequently prevents infection. Now they want to investigate whether inhaling heparin can have a preventive effect so that, for example, healthcare personnel can use a heparin inhaler to protect themselves from infection. The first step in the research is innovative, says a proud Geijtenbeek. Volunteers will be asked to inhale heparin via the nose. Subsequently, the researchers will remove some nasal mucosa cells (just like during a coronavirus test) and will subsequently expose these cells to the virus to investigate the antiviral effect of heparin. Geijtenbeek: ‘We want to do it in this way to prevent the need for animal experiments and so that we can enter the clinical phase earlier. And time is an important factor in this pandemic’. In addition, the research group will make use of a dynamic human cell model to further investigate the effect of heparin on the coronavirus infection.

A broadly applicable dynamic model – Robbert Rottier (Sophia Children’s Hospital)

A dynamic cell model is a research setup that the consortium led by Robbert Rottier, senior researcher at the Pulmonology Department of the Sophia Children’s Hospital, will use for their research. Static lung systems are used a lot in today’s coronavirus research. The disadvantage of these models is that they only simulate the functioning of human lung cells to a limited extent. Therefore, Rottier’s team, together with professor Roman Truckenmüller from Maastricht University and the MERLN Institute, will produce a closed dynamic system. They will use an existing bioreactor to simultaneously culture human cells from both the epithelium of both the respiratory passages and blood vessels. By transporting microfluids through this, a dynamic system will arise. That can be used to better study the development and progression of our infections such as COVID-19. Through the collaboration with Truckenmüller, an expert in the area of nanotechnology and biochips, and the MERLN institute, this system can also be rapidly produced at a commercial scale and made available to laboratories. The team is also working on a protocol so that the model can be used without the need for extra training. According to Rottier, working on animal-free innovations has additional advantages: ‘Since we started working on this type of innovation, we have increasingly looked for alternatives within the research group, and our use of laboratory animals has decreased.’

Combining human cell models with genetic characteristics – Jeffrey Beekman (UMC Utrecht)

Working on animal-free innovations can make researchers more aware of how they do their research. It is also what Jeffrey Beekman, Professor of Cellular Disease Models at University Medical Center Utrecht discovered. ‘Before this, I did not particularly focus on animal-free research, but the call for proposals and writing the proposal has made me more aware of this. I now pay more attention to the materials I work with, such as the human cells that originate from individuals and the serum that I use to allow those cells to grow. That serum often has an animal origin.’ For research into COVID-19, Beekman and his research team will use cell models to study how the coronavirus infection works in vivo on various organs: upper respiratory passages (nose), lower respiratory passages (lungs), intestines and kidneys. ‘By combining these models with unique genetic characteristics of the cell donors, you can compare the different tissues and discover factors that influence the effects of the coronavirus and the efficacy of the drugs used against it’, says Beekman. ‘In the case of COVID-19, that is particularly important because the virus affects various organs.’

Microchips as mini-patients with COVID-19 – Andries van der Meer (University of Twente)

How can you simulate a COVID-19 patient so that you can investigate why some patients develop blood clots? That was the question which Andries van der Meer, Associate Professor in Applied Stem Cell Technology at the University of Twente, and his team will tackle. Some 10-30% of people with COVID-19 who are hospitalised, end up developing blood clots. Consequently, this group of patients has a far worse prognosis. The basis for the project is a model of mini-blood vessels on a microchip developed by the University of Twente. By adding blood plasma from patients to this model, Van der Meer and his team hope to develop models of COVID-19 patients. These models can then be used to simulate the development of blood clots. To realise this, they sought collaboration with Saskia Middeldorp, Professor of Internal Medicine at Amsterdam UMC, and Christine Mummery, Professor of Developmental Biology at Leiden University Medical Center. For the research, it is vital that material from different patients with and without COVID-19 is used. Because why do some COVID-19 patients suffer from these clots and hypoxia, whereas others do not? These individual models will function as mini-patients on which treatments and drugs can be tested in the second phase. For Van der Meer, the use of these human models is a logical step: ‘The technology has developed in such a way over the past 5 to 10 years that we can now make models that closely resemble humans and consequently make a fast “turn-over’ towards patients. The reflex of using animal models in medical research is deeply rooted. However, with the extra tools that are now at our disposal, we can do exciting things that have added value and are animal-free.’

Better insight into lung damage due to COVID-19 – Pieter Hiemstra (Leiden University Medical Center)

Patients recover slowly from COVID-19, and it seems that both the virus and the immune system’s response to the virus cause damage to the alveoli. How do the cells that cover the respiratory passages and alveoli, the epithelial cells, respond to the virus and how does that response contribute to lung damage? These are the questions that Pieter Hiemstra, Professor of Cell Biology and
Immunology of Lung Diseases, will tackle together with his colleagues from Leiden University Medical Center. For the research, the team will make use of tested human cell models, organoids andconventional culture models. In the first phase, epithelial cells from, among other things, the nose and alveoli will be cultured to examine what the virus does with the different cell types.

news-6091 Mon, 31 Aug 2020 09:43:46 +0200 Open Access: more impact from research https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/open-access-more-impact-from-research/ Open Access publishing ensures that research is quickly and easily accessible. During the coronavirus pandemic, the importance of that has become clearer than ever before. For example, doctors and patients search for information about the treatment of COVID-19. To increase the impact of knowledge, ZonMw will tighten the guidelines for Open Access with effect from 1 January 2021. What will change? Better research and more impact through Open Access

Sharing publications and data in a quick and accessible manner (Open Access) helps science, healthcare and education to progress. Doctors, patients, policymakers and professional practitioners can immediately make use of the most recent insights and data. The quality of research and data improves because colleagues can immediately examine the results published and can reproduce experiments in their own lab. It also improves national and international collaboration between researchers. Furthermore, It becomes clear at an earlier stage if something does not work, which means that research can then be adjusted or stopped. For example, it was mainly thanks to Open Access publications that the efficacy and safety of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19 patients was quickly shown to be inadequate. Jeroen Geurts, chair of the board of ZonMw: ‘The coronavirus pandemic has very clearly underlined the importance of Open Access publishing’.

Implementation of Plan S

Since 2013, ZonMw has required researchers to make all publications that emerge from research that is partially or entirely funded by ZonMw available in Open Access form. A study by the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) reveals that in 2018 that was already the case for 60% of publications. ZonMw wants to accelerate this positive development. In mid-2019, ZonMw endorsed Plan S for Open Access. This plan has been drawn up by cOAlition S, an international collaboration of research councils, with the aim of realising 100% Open Access. Just like NWO, ZonMw will implement the guidelines from Plan S this year.

Direct 100% Open Access from 1 January 2021 onwards

The principles of Plan S apply to all call proposals that ZonMw publishes with effect from 1 January 2021. Therefore, compared to 2020, ZonMw will further tighten the guidelines. In practice, this means, for example, that there is free access to the publications and no embargo period between the date of publication in a journal and the publication being freely accessible online. Publication will also be under a Creative Commons licence, enabling sharing/reuse of results. Also retainment of copyright by authors or institutes will be aimed for.

Obstacles to overcome

Many researchers already publish in Open Access form but not in all cases and not always directly. The implementation of Plan S will therefore provide researchers from ZonMw projects opportunities but also obstacles that need to be overcome. For example, researchers experience that large sums sometimes have to be paid for Open Access publishing. That problem is currently being worked on, for example through national agreements between universities and publishers. ZonMw will also examine possible solutions to this problem. Rob Diemel, ZonMw coordinator Open Science: ‘ZonMw wants encourage Open Access via several routes so the project leaders can make their own choices. For example, in new funding rounds from 2021 onwards, applicants can include a post in the project budget for publication via the so-called full golden route (publications that are immediately free and accessible for everybody ). We will also facilitate the green route by offering researchers access to a repository that is frequently used worldwide. This will lead to the more rapid spread of research results and will offer researchers greater visibility.’

Open Access to utilise knowledge in society

Even though the transition from publishing behind paywalls to Open Access is a difficult process, Jeroen Geurts also sees that researchers are increasingly embracing Open Access: ‘Of course, researchers also feel the need to allow their findings to be used by society. In the case of COVID-19 research programmes, you can see that there is a considerable amount of expertise in the Netherlands to counteract the medical and non-medical negative effects of COVID-19. Rapid access to each other’s research and being able to make use of each other’s research is vitally important for researchers, especially if they are working in a race against the clock.’

Recognising and rewarding researchers

Open Access also requires a different way of recognising and rewarding researchers. Open Access publications are easy to find, are cited more often and have a greater reach. It is important that researchers are rewarded for the quality of their research and its importance for science and/or society, and not for controversial indicators such as the journal impact factor and H-index. Therefore, from 2021 onwards, the DORA (Declaration on Research Assessment) principles will be used in the assessment and selection of ZonMw funding proposals. Amongst other things, that should lead to another way of recognising and rewarding researchers.

Requiring but also informing and facilitating

During the course of 2020, ZonMw will mainly focus on implementing the guidelines from Plan S and informing and advising researchers and project teams about the Open Access publication of their research. The ZonMw Open Access team will also facilitate this implementation by including the guidelines and the processes and thoroughly preparing ZonMw employees for these changes so that they can help applicants. All of the information can be found on the ZonMw website and, of course, if you have any questions, you can contact the employees of the Open Access team.

More information

news-6072 Wed, 26 Aug 2020 09:00:00 +0200 Societal effects of COVID-19 examined https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/societal-effects-of-covid-19-examined/ 20 new research projects will soon begin to investigate the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on Dutch society. 11 more projects will receive funding after additional administrative steps. These research projects will focus on the impact of the measures taken, the resilience of society, and the economic consequences for society. Thanks to the quick start and short duration of the projects, the studies can provide relevant knowledge in the short term. Effectiveness and impact of measures

Projects that are part of this theme will examine the effectiveness and impact of the measures taken and of the strategies in response to the coronavirus crisis. The projects range from research into the well-being and sustainable deployment of healthcare staff to research into the effect of the measures taken on the constitutional rights of vulnerable plaintiffs in particular, and their confidence in the justice system. Other examples are research into the lessons that we can learn from the measures taken by other European countries, and research into the preferences for introducing COVID-19 apps in the Netherlands.

Human resilience and society

Within this theme, the research mainly focuses on groups who during the coronavirus crisis have been disproportionately affected by the consequences of the measures taken in either the social or societal spheres. For example, research will be done into the educational disadvantage experienced by underprivileged (primary school) pupils and also new vulnerable groups that have arisen (such as sole proprietors and people with a temporary job, including many young people). Furthermore, the mental and physical long-term effects on former COVID-19 patients and healthcare employees will be investigated.

Consequences and solutions for the economy

Research into the economic resilience focuses on the effect of the crisis on various sectors of the economy, the labour market and support measures. For example, one study focuses on strengthening the regional economic structure with the aim of increasing the national economic resilience in the long term. In addition, research will be done into to what extent and in what way sectors in regions are affected by the corona crisis and what explains the differences in resilience and agility of regions.

COVID-19 Programme

More information about the projects will soon be available on the ZonMw website. These research projects are starting in the context of a large action and research programme concerning the new coronavirus that ZonMw set up in collaboration with NWO in May. Research projects into the diagnostics, treatment and prevention of the coronavirus began last month. In addition, more than 50 collaborations have been established within this programme between research institutions and civil society organisations.

More information 

news-6016 Fri, 07 Aug 2020 13:42:01 +0200 ZonMw’s approach to optimize reuse of COVID-19 related data https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/zonmws-approach-to-optimize-reuse-of-covid-19-related-data/ Under the urgency of the outbreak of the corona pandemic, we take a number of actions to enable researchers in ZonMw’s COVID-19 projects to create FAIR data that can be used by humans as well as machines. As a result, data become findable through computer search, and accessible for learning-algorithms (comparable to the Personal Health Train concept). The results of the activities are available for the entire research community of COVID-19. VODAN for COVID-19 patient data

In spring 2020, ZonMw commissioned the GO FAIR initiative and its VODAN (Virus Outbreak Data Access Network) Implementation Network to make COVID-19 related data FAIR.  As a result, real world COVID-19 patient data become available for research, under well-defined conditions and with patient privacy well protected.

In summer 2020, the VODAN project delivered a proof of concept of a working VODAN infrastructure to open up COVID-19 patient data via so called FAIR Data Points: VODAN-in-a box. It is made up of a number of components:

  1. A semantic data model based on the case report form (CRF) following the WHO standards;
  2. Localized VODAN FAIR Data Points (FDP’s), where the (meta)data of the machine-readable eCRF files could be hosted. Several FDP’s have been installed, in the Netherlands, USA and on the African continent (funded by the Philips Foundation).
  3. A user-friendly data-entry-wizard, allowing data stewards in the local clinic or hospital to capture patient data in the CRF.
  4. Creating/updating the metadata on the installed VODAN FDP’s, “link” the patient data and indicate if the data can be shared.
  5. A simple tool to allow queries to “visit” the (meta) data across multiple FDP’s, thereby performing analysis based upon certain characteristics of the recorded patients.

FAIR data services and a national COVID-19 data portal

As a next step, building on the knowledge and deliverables from VODAN, ZonMw has commissioned the GO FAIR Foundation and the Health-RI Foundation to develop FAIR data services and a national COVID-19 data portal. These services will support researchers in the creation of FAIR research outputs, and to find and reuse COVID-19 related observational data from Dutch health care providers (taking privacy and other ethical, legal and social issues in to account).

An advanced approach for creating FAIR data

The FAIR data services will function as a three-point FAIRification Framework, where FAIR metadata are crafted for each project (1) as part of the overall COVID-19 Programme FAIR Implementation Profile (2) which then configures the FAIR Data Point (3) where COVID-19 Programme research outputs can be easily discovered and reused. The planned national COVID-19 data portal will form a human friendly interface to the metadata and observational hospital data.

Data experts collaborate with domain experts

A crucial aspect of the FAIRification approach is that domain experts collaborate with data experts in order to include the standards, technologies and infrastructure that match the research community, in this case COVID-19. We will therefore facilitate that COVID-19 researchers and data stewards from ZonMw projects make use of the three-point FAIRification Framework, with the support of the FAIR data experts from GO FAIR and Health-RI.

Workshops and training

Researchers and data stewards from ZonMw’s COVID-19 projects are invited for a workshop series in autumn 2020 for an introduction to the FAIRification framework, and to take part in tailoring the framework to the needs of the COVID-19 research community.
In addition, data stewards from the ZonMw projects will be trained by and get support from the FAIR data experts of GO FAIR and Health-RI. Support through the data steward community will be organised within the Data Stewardship Special Interest Group (DSIG).

Taken together, by taking part in these activities, researchers and data stewards create – as a minimum - FAIR metadata for their research data. They thereby allow other research on COVID-19 to directly benefit from their activities, and accelerate solutions for the corona crisis. In a broader sense, they contribute to a growing knowledge base on FAIR data, enabling innovative research methods.

More information

news-5961 Tue, 21 Jul 2020 12:27:58 +0200 Innovative research awarded funding in COVID-19 Programme https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/innovative-research-awarded-funding-in-covid-19-programme/ Within the COVID-19 Programme, a total of 40 projects have now been awarded funding. In addition, 12 more projects will receive funding after additional administrative steps. In this programme, research will start that focuses on the effects of the measures against the coronavirus pandemic. This concerns a substantial financial injection in the Dutch research field. With this funding, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, together with ZonMw and the Dutch Research Council (NWO), is focusing on the rapid introduction of innovative measures that emerge from these projects. Research across the full breadth of healthcare

An effective approach to the coronavirus pandemic is associated with many knowledge requirements and research questions. The COVID-19 Programme has three focus areas:

  • Predictive diagnostics and treatment
  • Care and prevention
  • Societal dynamics

Predictive diagnostics and treatment

Within focus area 1, “Predictive diagnostics and treatment”, 17 of the 22 eligible projects were awarded funding. Several of these projects focus on new or existing therapies and their modes of action. Other projects focus, for example, on acquiring insights into the microbiome, immunity, predictive parameters and individualised treatments.
An example of such a project is: A phase 2 clinical study necessary for the clinical development of the drug lanadelumab against COVID-19 from Dr R. Brüggemann and Dr F. van de Veerdonk from Radboudumc. In this project, it will be investigated whether the intravenous administration of lanadelumab can prevent and reduce the need for the external administration of oxygen – necessary due to lung oedema – during the COVID-19 infection.

Animal-free innovations

Besides the 22 projects stated, 5 projects within focus area 1 will do research into the development of new or broader applications of existing animal-free innovations. The ZonMw programme “More Knowledge with Fewer Animals” and the Dutch Society for Replacement of Animal Testing made more than 2 million euros available for this. The ultimate aim is more relevant health and healthcare research for people.

Care and prevention

Within focus area 2, “Care and prevention”, 20 of the 25 eligible projects were awarded funding. These projects focus on the organisation of care and vulnerable citizens. In addition, there is specific attention for care providers. The focus is on:

  • The impact of behaviour and behavioural changes on the spread of the virus
  • The consequences of the measures for the individual or the specific vulnerable groups
  • Spread of the epidemic and measures to prevent this

For example, there is the project “TRACE II: Patient outcomes after postponed elective operations during the COVID-19 pandemic” from Dr D. de Korte-de Boer and Prof. Wolfgang Buhre (Department of Anaesthesiology and Pain Medicine at Maastricht University Medical Center+). In this project, the effect of postponing non-acute operations during the COVID-19 pandemic will be investigated by a consortium of 10 institutions, including 4 university hospitals and 5 peripheral hospitals.

Palliative care

Within focus area 2, five projects in the programme “Palliantie. More than care” are eligible for funding. Three of those have now been awarded funding. The projects focus on support and grief counselling for the family and friends of people who have died. There is also attention for the impact of social isolation due to COVID-19 on intra- and extramural care for people with dementia in the palliative phase.

Duration and budget

The COVID-19 Programme has been funded by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and NWO. For this action and research programme a total of 40 million euros has been made available for grants for practice and research projects. At the end of August, the granting decision will be taken for the proposals from focus area 3 “Societal dynamics”. All projects will start in September 2020.

Exceptional situation

The coronavirus crisis has had a considerable impact, also on public health and healthcare. There is a huge demand for new knowledge and practical solutions to limit the negative consequences of the pandemic. Research is needed to learn from the negative and positive experiences, both now and in the longer term. Therefore, on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, and in collaboration with NWO, we prepared an action and research programme in March 2020 that, amongst other things, resulted in the COVID-19 Programme. The speed with which this was realised was an enormous challenge for the grant applicants, NWO and us.

More information


news-5908 Tue, 07 Jul 2020 09:46:53 +0200 Belgium and the Netherlands (BeNeFIT) launch a new call for proposals for clinical trials in October https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/belgium-and-the-netherlands-benefit-launch-a-new-call-for-proposals-for-clinical-trials-in-october/ The Belgian Health Care Knowledge Centre (KCE) and ZonMw, the Dutch organisation for health research and care innovation, are continuing their collaboration, and in October will again call on the research community to submit proposals for clinical trials. Belgium and the Netherlands entered into an agreement at the end of 2017 to jointly invest in comparative, practice-oriented clinical studies. The aim of BeNeFIT (Belgium-Netherlands Funding of International Trials) is for Belgian and Dutch hospitals to jointly conduct non-commercial, practice-oriented research that is relevant for patients, healthcare providers and policy makers in both countries. The 5 first clinical trials will be launched soon.

Health care questions relevant to both countries

The effectiveness of existing health care interventions is not yet sufficiently compared in clinical studies (e.g. comparison between medication and surgery, or between operating and not operating). Moreover, much research is not practice-oriented, which means that the results are not immediately usable in daily medical practice. Comparative, practice-oriented studies nevertheless contribute to better patient care and a more efficient use of public resources.
In the Netherlands, the government therefore funds such studies through the ZonMw programmes ‘Rational Pharmacotherapy’ and 'Efficiency Studies'. In Belgium, Minister of Health Maggie De Block commissioned the KCE in 2015 to initiate and follow up a programme for such clinical trials. As a result, KCE Trials was created.
KCE Trials and ZonMw joined forces 3 years ago under the name 'BeNeFIT'. After all, many questions are relevant to healthcare in both countries. By working together, clinical trials can be carried out faster and more efficiently and researchers and the financing government organizations can strengthen each other and learn from each other.

5 joint clinical trials in the starting blocks

In early 2018, the two organisations made a joint call to the Belgian and Dutch research communities to submit research proposals that were relevant to patients, healthcare providers and policymakers from both countries.
This call resulted in 38 study proposals. After thorough selection, this resulted in 5 clinical trials, which will start soon: a study on (1) the treatment of wheeze symptoms in young children (KIWI), (2) the treatment of invasive Aspergillus (fungal) infection (DUET), (3) dose reduction of the new generation biologics in psoriasis (BeNeBio), (4) evaluation of surgery in elderly with traumatic acute subdural hematoma (RESET ASDH) (5) the impact of high versus standard enteral protein provision on functional recovery after a stay in intensive care (PRECISE). The first results of these studies can be expected in 2023.

Researchers can again submit proposals in October

In October 2020, KCE and ZonMw will launch a new call for study proposals. With a budget of up to 9 million euros, BeNeFIT will again fund studies with patients in both countries.
If you would like to be kept informed about this call, you can:

More information

ZonMw: via benefit@zonmw.nl
KCE: via trials@kce.fgov.be

news-5750 Tue, 02 Jun 2020 11:00:00 +0200 Heading for 100% Open access: NWO and ZonMw on the right track, but further steps are needed https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/heading-for-100-open-access-nwo-and-zonmw-on-the-right-track-but-further-steps-are-needed/ In 2018, 68% of the publications resulting from NWO funding were Open access. The percentage for ZonMw was 60%. These are the findings of an analysis published today by the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS). NWO and ZonMw are aiming for 100% Open access. Achieving this target will require an extra effort and further steps. On behalf of NWO and ZonMw, CWTS analysed how many NWO and ZonMw publications were Open access between 2015 and 2018. The CWTS also looked at the different types of Open access (gold, green, hybrid, etc.). Since 2009, NWO has been committed to ensure all publications resulting from NWO funding are made available in Open access. In 2015, NWO made further agreements on this with the State Secretary at the time, Sander Dekker. CWTS used the bibliographic database Web of Science and Unpaywall for its analysis.

The study’s most important findings are as follows:

  • Between 60% and 70% of the publications published between 2015 and 2018 are available as open access, either via a repository (green route) or in a fully Open access journal or hybrid journal.
  • 80% of the publications of NWO institutes are openly available, mainly via the green route.
  • On average, Open access publications funded by NWO and ZonMw have a higher citation impact than publications behind a paywall.

Stan Gielen (chair of NWO): “These are excellent figures. They show that we were on the right track in 2018 with almost 70% Open access. To achieve 100%, we will have to step up our efforts, however. From 1 January 2021 onwards, we will introduce Plan S. As the CWTS report demonstrates, a more stricter way of monitoring compliance might  help in that respect. Where publications are not available in Open Access at the end of the project, we are going to request researchers to correct that by depositing their publications through their institutional repository. Remember that with the Taverne amendment, copyright law gives every Dutch author the right to openly share their work. So there is absolutely no reason whatsoever not to do that.”

Jeroen Geurts (chair of ZonMw): “At ZonMw, we will also use 2020 to tighten up our Open access policy. The principles of Plan S will apply to all calls for grants open from 1 January 2021 onwards. And we will actively help researchers to make Open access publishing possible.”

This CWTS analysis only concerns Open access publications from NWO and ZonMw. The report is a baseline measurement that will be carried out annually from now on. VSNU publishes figures on Open access publications throughout the Netherlands.

More information:


news-5744 Fri, 29 May 2020 14:33:32 +0200 Update COVID-19 Programme: many applications https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/update-covid-19-programme-many-applications/ The interest for our calls for proposals within the COVID-19 Programme is considerable. In the past few weeks, we were pleased to receive many applications. In this update, you can read about the current state of affairs and the planning for the coming period. The COVID-19 Programme is a collaboration between ZonMw and NWO, and funds research that focuses on the effects of the coronavirus crisis and the measures taken against the coronavirus pandemic. Knowledge, practical solutions and research are urgently needed because limiting the negative consequences of the pandemic is a top priority.

Considerable interest

The funding rounds of the three focus areas yielded a lot of project ideas. We received 120 grant applications for the funding possibility Science for professional practice.

  • From 1 to 14 May, the bottom-up funding round was open for the submission of project ideas for focus area 1, Predictive diagnostics and treatment, and focus area 2, Care and prevention. We received 189 project ideas for focus area 1 and 306 for focus area 2
  • From 8 to 25 May, the bottom-up funding round for focus area 3 Societal dynamics was open. We received 508 project ideas for this
  • From 8 to 25 May, the funding round Science for professional practice was also open. A total of 120 research proposals were received for this

Granting Urgent Research Questions

Previously research groups were invited for the route Urgent research questions. From this route two proposals for focus area 1, Predictive diagnostics and treatment have provisionally been assessed and selected for granting. Two other proposals for focus area 2, Care and prevention also have been granted. At this moment three proposals for urgent research questions are being worked out in a full proposal for focus area 3, Societal dynamics and will be assessed soon.


The next step for the three focus areas is the assessment of the proposals by the committees. If the committee issues a positive advice, then the applicants will receive an invitation to elaborate their project idea into a research proposal. At that moment, FAQs about this will be published on our website.
The selection procedure for the research proposals for Science for professional practice will start shortly.

The most up-to-date information about the process and the planning can be found on the various programme pages (only in Dutch):

  • Focus area 1: Predictive diagnostics and treatment
  • Focus area 2: Care and prevention
  • Focus area 3: Societal dynamics
  • Science for professional practice

More information


news-5702 Thu, 14 May 2020 14:35:55 +0200 Will you help us with the knowledge agenda Microplastics and Health? https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/will-you-help-us-with-the-knowledge-agenda-microplastics-and-health/ ZonMw aims to identify the knowledge gaps around microplastics and health, as input for a knowledge agenda for future research. To gain all the needs and opinions, we need your help. Will you fill in the internet consultation? In 2019 ZonMw started the first international research program on micro- and nanoplastics, called Microplastics and Health. Since then, fifteen one-year research projects have started. Although these first projects produce promising initial results, many questions remain unanswered. More research is needed.

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management has commissioned ZonMw to develop a knowledge agenda on microplastics, environment and health. This knowledge agenda will be the foundation for a sequel on the current Microplastics and Health research program.

Internet consultation

For this knowledge agenda, we want to identify the needs and questions from different perspectives. Researchers, policy makers and practice professionals are asked to provide their input through the internet consultation. Do you have relevant input from a policy, research or practice perspective? Please fill in the internet consultation! This is possible until May 24th, 2020.

Participation in the internet consultation

Microplastics and Health program

Little is known on the health risks of microplastics, while the exposure to smaller plastic particles will only increase in the upcoming decades. Trough air, by water and food, microplastics reach our body, which is also shown by the presence of microplastics in human stool. Among others, the Health Council of the Netherlands and the World Health Organisation (WHO) emphasise the need for research on micro- and nanoplastics.

For this reason, ZonMw has started the research program Microplastics and Health. The knowledge agenda will describe how research can fill the knowledge gaps. Knowledge about which microplastics might affect human health is essential for the development of solutions in innovations and policy. For more information about the program and the current fifteen projects, please visit the Microplastics and Health website.

news-5679 Fri, 08 May 2020 16:56:00 +0200 COVID-19 Programme call “Science for professional practice” open https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/covid-19-programme-call-science-for-professional-practice-open/ From today onwards, research institutions together with (public) institutions and businesses or local governments can jointly submit funding proposals to quickly tackle a practical problem related to the coronavirus crisis and the measures taken against that. Given the need to act urgently, the deadline for submitting proposals for this call is 25 May 2020, at 12.00 hours CEST. Practice-oriented problems

Organisations such as care organisations, companies, schools, local governments and public transport companies face practical problems as a consequence of the coronavirus crisis and the measures taken against this. Combining knowledge from science and professional practice can give rise to research questions that can reduce or solve practical problems within a short space of time.

Call for proposals

This brief call for proposals is open for two weeks for applications from collaborations between research institutions (universities, universities of applied sciences, institutes) and (public) institutions, businesses or local governments. Scientific organisations within a collaboration can apply for funding to deploy scientific expertise or action research within the collaboration’s activities, operational processes or local policy that are aimed at tackling a problem related to the coronavirus crisis. A maximum of €25,000 is available per application for projects with a maximum duration of 6 months.

Planning funding round

The following timetable applies to this funding round:

  • Deadline submission project idea: 25 May 2020, 12.00 hours CEST

  • Granting decision: 5 June 2020

  • Latest starting date: 22 June 2020

The COVID-19 Programme

The research programme COVID-19 focuses on research aimed at the effects of the coronavirus crisis and the measures taken against the coronavirus pandemic. There are three focus areas:
1.    Predictive diagnostics and treatment
2.    Care and prevention
3.    Societal dynamics
Calls for proposals for research aimed at these areas were published online on 1 and 6 May 2020.

More information




news-5667 Thu, 07 May 2020 12:03:00 +0200 COVID-19 Programme call for proposals “Societal dynamics” now open https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/covid-19-programme-call-for-proposals-societal-dynamics-now-open/ The call for proposals for the focus area “Societal dynamics” within the COVID-19 Programme is now open. Consortia, research groups and independent researchers from several disciplines can submit ideas for research aimed at the societal effects of the coronavirus pandemic and of the (intended) measures against it. Given the need to act urgently, the deadline for submitting ideas is 25 May 2020, at 14.00 hours. The COVID-19 Programme

The action and research programme COVID-19 focuses on research aimed at the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the measures taken against it. There are three focus areas:
1.    Predictive diagnostics and treatment
2.    Care and prevention
3.    Societal dynamics

This call for proposals concerns only focus area 3 “Societal dynamics”, and the total budget available for grants is €6.5 million. The call for proposals for focus areas 1 and 2 was published on 1 May 2020 and has a deadline of 14 May 2020 at 14.00 hours. Further information about this call can be read here (will soon be available in English).

Focus area societal dynamics

The focus area “Societal dynamics” concerns broad, societal issues in which several scientific disciplines are involved. For example, it concerns answers to questions such as: What are the societal consequences of the coronavirus crisis? Which social and economic problems have been exposed or have arisen as a result of this? But also: which positive effects does the crisis have? Which restart scenarios exist after a shorter or longer period of economic and widespread societal disruption? What can we learn from the crisis for the future?

Invitation to submit research ideas

With this call for proposals, consortia, research groups and individual researchers are invited to submit ideas for research projects to generate knowledge about the Dutch and worldwide impact of the coronavirus crisis and the measures taken against this. The research focuses not just on the challenges during this pandemic but also on the situation after the coronavirus crisis. Furthermore, the research relates to the priority themes described below.

Priority themes

A multidisciplinary expert panel chaired by Jet Bussemaker (former Minister for Education, Culture and Science) has put forward the following priority themes for which proposals on the associated subjects can be submitted:
1    Research into the effectiveness and impact of measures/strategies in response to the coronavirus crisis
Subjects: reliability and legitimacy of the government and science during a crisis, the conditions for technologies, linked to the “opening” of society, the effects of the 1.5 m measure, differences between European countries.
2    Research into the resilience of society
Subjects: vulnerable groups, social inequalities as a result of the measures taken, home education, psychological effects and emotional well-being, citizen initiatives.
3    Research into the economic resilience
Subjects: the economic effects of the lockdown for different sectors, reopening sectors of the economy, working from home.

These things need to be investigated with the highest urgency. Project ideas must relate to one or more of these themes. The themes and subjects are explained in greater detail in the call text.

Planning funding round

The following timetable applies to this funding round:

Deadline submission project idea 25 May 2020, 14.00 hours (CEST)
Receipt advice from the committee Around 18 June 2020
Deadline submission full proposal 29 June, 14.00 hours (CEST)
Receipt comments from referees 6 July 2020
Deadline submission rebuttal 8 July 2020, 12.00 hours (CEST)
Decision Around 23 July 2020
Latest starting date 3 August 2020

The English version of the call for proposals will be published on the ZonMw website shortly.

More information







news-5648 Fri, 01 May 2020 16:40:44 +0200 Call for proposals COVID-19 Programme (‘second wave’) open for project ideas https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/call-for-proposals-covid-19-programme-second-wave-open-for-project-ideas/ The call for proposals for two focus areas within the COVID-19 Programme has now been published. Research groups can submit proposals for research aimed at the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the measures taken against it. In view of the need to act urgently, the deadline has been set at 14 May 2020. Three focus areas

The programme has three focus areas:

  1. Predictive diagnostics and treatment
  2. Care and prevention
  3. Societal dynamics

The call for proposals concerns the first two focus areas.

Focus area 1: Predictive diagnostics and treatment

Research in this focus area concerns the (further) development of (predictive) diagnostics for individualised treatment and for the prevention of COVID-19-related symptoms in the early, acute and recovery phases. It concerns research that is urgently needed into new or existing therapies and their modes of action, and on obtaining insight into, amongst other things, the microbiome, immunity, predictive parameters and individualised treatment.

The focus area has four themes:

  1. Treatment
  2. Diagnostics of infection
  3. Risk analysis and prognostics
  4. Virus, immunity, immune response and pathogenesis

Focus area 2: Care and prevention

The emphasis within this focus area lies on obtaining insights and lessons learned that contribute to an improved, substantiated response towards the current pandemic, and the safeguarding of these improved approaches and processes in the care system of the future. Various types of research are possible: evaluation pathways, action research, effect studies, facilitation pathways, efficacy research in the case of postponement of treatment/avoidance of care, organisation of care issues, development of epidemiological models, and inventories.
To achieve this, collaboration between research groups, disciplines and relevant stakeholders is the starting point for obtaining these insights in an efficient manner and for realising an adequate preparation for a future pandemic.

The focus area has three themes:

  1. Organisation of care and prevention
  2. Care and prevention for vulnerable citizens
  3. Transmission and epidemiology

Focus area 3 and policy and professional practice boosts:

The call for proposals for focus area 3 Societal dynamics and the funding instrument policy and professional practice boosts will be published on 6 May 2020. Therefore keep an eye on the ZonMw grant calendar (open calls for proposals).

The following timetable applies to the funding round for focus areas 1 and 2:

Deadline submission project idea
Receipt advice selection committee
Deadline submission full proposal
Receipt comments from referees
Deadline submission rebuttal
Latest starting date

14 May 2020, 14.00 hours
Around 5 June 2020
15 June 2020, 14.00 hours
22 June 2020
24 June 2020, 12.00 hours
Around 9 July 2020
30 July 2020


More information



news-5616 Sat, 25 Apr 2020 11:56:32 +0200 Details COVID-19 research programme (“second wave”) now online https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/details-covid-19-research-programme-second-wave-now-online/ Today we published the COVID-19 research programme (“second wave”). The programme has three focus areas:

  1. Predictive diagnostics and treatment
  2. Care and prevention
  3. Societal dynamics

For each focus area, an expert panel will prioritise the research subjects in a very short space of time. The composition of these expert panels will be published next week on the programme page of ZonMw. Once the expert panels have determined the research subjects, the focus areas in the calls for proposals will be elaborated. The programme has three funding possibilities: urgent research questions track, bottom-up funding track and policy and professional practice boosts track. Within the urgent research questions track, the projects must be assessed and started very quickly. That requires a strongly abridged procedure. For this track, ZonMw will invite research groups to submit a proposal. The bottom-up funding track will be open for a short time (two weeks) for the submission of project ideas within the themes prioritised by the expert panel. This track will also use an accelerated procedure. For the policy and professional practice boosts, the programme has a budget for small projects and studies up to a maximum of €25,000. How this track will be given form has yet to be determined.
Further information about focus areas and the funding instruments can be found in the programme text.


The current timetable is given below. For the most recent timetable, please see the programme page.

  • We will shortly invite the research groups for the urgent research questions track. The first grants within this track will be announced in mid-May.
  • The call for proposals for the bottom-up funding track focus areas 1 and 2 will be published on the ZonMw and NWO grant calendars no later than 1 May.
  • On 6 May, we will publish the call for proposals for the bottom-up funding track focus area 3 and for the policy and professional practice boosts on the ZonMw and NWO websites.
  • It is expected that the first projects from the bottom-up funding track will be granted at the end of June/start of July.

More information

(all the information will be available in English before 1 May)

news-5614 Fri, 24 Apr 2020 14:04:00 +0200 Funding opportunity for Gender in Research Fellowships withdrawn https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/funding-opportunity-for-gender-in-research-fellowships-withdrawn/ Due to the constantly changing situation regarding the corona virus (COVID-19) pandemic, the funding opportunity for Gender in Research Fellowships has been withdrawn. The ZonMw Gender and Health Knowledge Program was to provide the Gender in Research Fellowships for PhD-students and post-doctoral researchers to attend the Gender and Health course and participate in the Gender in Research workshops at the Erasmus Summer Programme from 17-21 August 2020 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Unfortunately, due to the measures regarding the containment of the corona virus (COVID-19), the Erasmus Summer Programme 2020 cannot take place in it’s original (physical) form. This means the Gender in Research Fellowships also cannot be awarded as originally planned this year and is withdrawn.

The Erasmus Summer Programme together with the ZonMw Gender and Health Knowledge Program are exploring possibilities to host the Gender and Health Course and Gender in Research workshops and provide Gender in Research Fellowships in a different format. Please keep an eye on our news page for further information.

More information


news-5590 Mon, 20 Apr 2020 11:35:04 +0200 Start research programme COVID-19 (“second wave”) https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/start-research-programme-covid-19-second-wave/ Due to the considerable impact of the coronavirus crisis, there is a major need for medical and societal solutions and answers. Therefore, ZonMw, on behalf of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, will shortly start the research programme COVID-19. This will be realised in collaboration with the Dutch Research Council (NWO) and as a follow-up to the “first wave”. The aim of this programme is to contribute to controlling the consequences of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the short and long term, to generate new knowledge about prevention, treatment and recovery from this infectious disease, and to investigate the broader societal issues concerning this pandemic. It is expected that the programme will be published at the end of April. In view of the considerable interest of the research into the coronavirus crisis, we would like to inform you in advance about the anticipated main lines of the programme.

Grant possibilities for research into coronavirus (COVID-19)

The programme will be funded by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and NWO. A budget of € 27 million has been made available for grants for research and practice-oriented projects. In this new programme, there will be room for various types of research (from fundamental to action research). Besides knowledge and practical solutions to limit the negative consequences of the pandemic, research is needed to learn from the negative and positive experiences, both now and in the longer term.

Three major focus areas covered in this COVID-19 research programme

This programme will concentrate on three major focus areas:

  1. Predictive diagnostics and treatment
  2. Care and prevention, including transmission 
  3. Societal consequences of the coronavirus crisis and the measures to prevent these

A further explanation of the focus areas will follow when the programme is announced (see timetable).
An expert panel is currently being formed for each focus area, made up of various experts from the field. These panels will contain scientific experts and experts from everyday practice. The panels will have the task of prioritising research subjects (or themes) within their focus area.


For each focus area, ZonMw will make grants available in three tracks:
For example, the ultrafast track will make funding available for questions that need to be tackled very urgently, also because the answers are needed for the control measures in this phase of the pandemic. For this track, invited proposals will be submitted as soon as possible. The second track is thematic, bottom-up funding rounds for research proposals. The third track is the so-called policy and practice boosts and is aimed at small projects and studies. This track is aimed at the (fast and brief) tackling of concrete policy questions and providing practice boosts.

It is expected that more detailed information about the COVID-19 programme will be made available on the ZonMw grant calendar at the end of April.


  • At the end of April, the programme text for the entire programme will have been completed.
  • The announcement of the programme will take place via a news release at the end of April/start of May.
  • The awards for the urgent research proposals will be announced at the end of May.
  • The thematic funding rounds will be opened at the end of April/start of May.

More information


news-5575 Wed, 15 Apr 2020 13:44:44 +0200 First approved research projects subsidy scheme COVID-19 https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/first-approved-research-projects-subsidy-scheme-covid-19/ Eight projects that will have a direct effect on the course of the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) and public health will soon be starting. This is the first result of the commission of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport to ZonMw to finance critical research with a direct impact on the current corona pandemic. Top priority, quick action needed

Subjects have been inventoried and prioritised by an expert panel. Eight topics have been given top priority because they may have a direct impact on public health. Specific researchers were then asked to submit a research proposal on these topics. This (very) short application procedure was chosen because it was necessary to act quickly. Subsidies were granted to eight studies. A total budget of 5.5 million euro has been made available for this.

Funded projects

The projects that received an incidental subsidy cover the following subjects:

  1. 1Investigation into the course of the disease, long-term prognosis, cross-reactivity, re-infection, and the course of the immune response over time in relation to prognosis. To this end, a cohort of persons who have recovered from COVID-19 (RECoVERED study) will be followed.
  2. Research into carrier status, burden of disease and transmission from and to children (CoKids study).
  3. Research in the field of hospital epidemiology to support infection prevention measures (COCON study)
  4. A pharmacotherapeutic trial with anakinra in COVID-19 patients in intensive care (ANACOR-IC).
  5. Mapping virus evolution, spreading and transmission via sequencing to predict transmission routes.
  6. Social science research into the impact of social isolation on vulnerable populations and what support vulnerable groups need.
  7. Trial of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine treatment in patients admitted for moderate to severe COVID-19 (ARCHAIC study).
  8. Drug development: studies into the safety and efficacy of antibodies to the coronavirus.

Almost all of the projects involve partnerships between several university medical centres, universities and other research institutions. It is important that they can start as soon as possible. More detailed project information can be found at https://www.zonmw.nl/en/about-zonmw/coronavirus/research-on-corona-and-covid-19/

Action and research programme COVID-19 and other grant possibilities

In addition to the incidental subsidies already provided, there are more granting possibilities. In order to meet the high demand for solutions and answers, ZonMw will soon start the research programme COVID-19 on behalf of VWS and together with NWO. This programme is aimed at preventing or reducing the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, combating the pandemic and the social dynamics resulting from the pandemic. In this programme we make use of various granting mechanisms, including more open calls for proposals. These calls will appear on the ZonMw subsidy calendar. More information will follow in April.

Besides these initiatives, a scheme aimed at small projects with practical solutions for material shortages and other practical problems in and outside hospitals had also recently been started. In addition, the SET scheme was expanded. Both schemes have since been closed to new applications. The Virus Outbreak Data Access Network (VODAN) implementation network was also launched.

Important: Open access publications, especially at this time

Researchers are obliged to make all publications arising from scientific research that has been subsidised in whole or in part within this scheme immediately accessible through Open Access (without embargo) with an open license. In this way, we share new knowledge, that can contribute to improving public health regarding COVID-19, as quickly as possible. In addition, research results produced within this programme should be shared in line with the Joint statement on sharing research data and findings relevant to the novel coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak.

More information about ZonMw and the coronavirus

news-5570 Tue, 14 Apr 2020 15:38:56 +0200 18 starting science talents go to top foreign institutions thanks to Rubicon https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/18-starting-science-talents-go-to-top-foreign-institutions-thanks-to-rubicon/ 18 researchers who have recently received their PhDs can do their research at foreign research institutes thanks to a Rubicon grant from NWO. The Rubicon programme gives young, highly promising researchers the opportunity to gain international research experience. Within the domain medical Sciences there are 10 young researchers  who received a Rubicon grant:

Faster and more efficient drug research

Dr R.P.A. (Ruben) van Eijk (m), University Medical Center Utrecht -> United States, Stanford University, Center for Innovative Study Design, 12 months. It costs a lot of time and money to develop drugs. The researcher will produce innovative mathematical models to more rapidly determine whether an experimental drug works and is safe. That will enable researchers to use the resources they have more efficiently in the future.

Detecting the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease with very frequent digital measurements

Dr R. J. (Roos) Jutten (f), Amsterdam UMC -> United States, Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital, Department of Neurology, 24 months. Obtaining insights into early abnormalities caused by Alzheimer’s disease is vital for research into preventative treatments. My research aims to improve the detection of the very first memory problems caused by Alzheimer’s disease with the help of new computer tests that will be taken very frequently among people at home.

Eating around the clock?

Dr I.W.K. (Imre) Kouw (f), Maastricht University -> Australia, Royal Adelaide Hospital, ICU Research, 24 months. Intensive care patients are usually fed continuously and deteriorate considerably during their admission. Eating around the clock has negative effects in healthy people. The researcher will examine how tube feeding at set times influences the blood sugar levels and gastrointestinal function of intensive care patients.

The professional profile of the eosinophil

Dr S.T.T. (Sjoerd) Schetters (m), Amsterdam UMC -> Belgium, VIB, Inflammation Research Center, Ghent, 24 months. Asthma is often caused by eosinophils, immune cells that cause damage to the lungs. New drugs knock out these cells, but it is also clear that some eosinophils also play a beneficial role in our body. The researcher will investigate whether different types of eosinophils are present during diseases such as asthma and whether it is safe to eliminate all of these.

Pain &stress: From the past to the present

Dr A. (Aleksandrina) Skvortsova (f), Leiden University -> Canada, McGill University, Pain Genetics Lab, 24 months. Previous experiences influence our pain sensitivity. This project will investigate the role of stress in the relationship between past and present pain, and whether the pain experience can be reduced by reducing stress.

Thyroid hormone and sugar metabolism in the liver

Dr A.H. (Anne) van der Spek (f), Amsterdam UMC, Location AMC -> United States, Cornell University, Weill Cornell Medicine, 15 months.Thyroid gland patients have a higher chance of developing diabetes. However, the relationship between thyroid hormone and sugar metabolism in humans is not yet clear. The researcher will study the influence of thyroid hormone on the processing of sugar in human liver cells.

Protection against sudden cardiac death for those who really need it

Dr F.V.Y. (Fleur) Tjong (f), University of Amsterdam -> United States, Stanford University, Stanford Medical School Cardiovascular Medicine, 12 months. An ICD is implanted to “reset” the heart if there is a risk of the heartbeat suddenly becoming so irregular that the patient would otherwise die. However, it is not always clear who is at genuine risk. Artificial intelligence can help to determine this and form a guideline for treatment.

A prosthesis with feeling: what does that feel like?

C.S. (Ceci) Verbaarschot, MSc (f), Radboud University -> United States, University of Pittsburgh, Rehab Neural Engineering Labs, 24 months. Prostheses now exist that allow people to move and have sensory experiences. This artificial sense is achieved by electrical stimulation of the brain. This project will investigate how this feels and which properties of feeling can be achieved by brain stimulation.

How do intestinal bacteria influence our response to medication?

Dr C.G.P. (Carlos) Voogdt (m), Utrecht University -> Germany, EMBL, Heidelberg, 24 months. Intestinal bacteria can change medicines taken before these reach their target. The researcher will determine which bacteria are responsible for this, how they do this exactly, and the consequences of this bacterial activity for our intestinal cells.

Towards precision psychiatry

Dr T. (Thomas) Wolfers (m), Radboud University -> United States, Harvard University Medical School & Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, 24 months. Treatments for psychological problems can only be improved if we understand the mechanisms underlying the problems. Thanks to my new method, we will be able to describe mechanisms for each individual patient.

Directly to


Source: NWO

news-5529 Fri, 03 Apr 2020 14:01:00 +0200 Additional investment for accelerated research programmes on corona https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/additional-investment-for-accelerated-research-programmes-on-corona/ Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport Hugo de Jonge informed the House of Representatives on Wednesday 1 April that the cabinet is allocating a total of €42 million for research on the most urgent corona-related research questions. It is estimated that these additional funds will enable some 80 to 100 research issues to be investigated. It is important that these resources are made available in a well-coordinated but also quick and simple manner. A substantial part of the €42 million will be awarded by ZonMw and NWO, who will work closely together to this end in research programming. 1. Fast incidental funding round for COVID-19 (‘first wave’)

Right after the coronavirus was detected in the Netherlands, incidental funding was used for targeted and urgent research on ways of combating the COVID-19 pandemic. This was funded by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (€4 million) and ZonMw (€1 million); NWO has joined as well, making €1.5 million available.

The funding involves:

  • Medical research: monitoring recovering patients, the transmission of the virus to and from children, hospital epidemiology, the development of medication that can be used in the (very) short term, antibodies and virus evolution. Socio-scientific research proposals that examine the impact of social isolation and its consequences have also been prioritised. These projects have already been launched or will begin shortly. These studies are being coordinated by ZonMw.
  • Behavioural research: research on social distancing and its impact on the spread of the virus. This is being coordinated by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).

It is also possible to apply for a small financial compensation (€7,500 to €15,000) for creative solutions for practical (hospital) care (dutch). For example for medical devices or to help care and assistance providers give vulnerable groups the right care and assistance. ZonMw is doing its utmost to respond to applicants within a week to ensure that creative solutions can be put into practice as quickly as possible.

A total of €6.5 million has been made available by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, ZonMw and NWO for this initial research.

2. COVID-19 research programme to be launched shortly (‘second wave’)

ZonMw and NWO are currently developing an additional research programme in close consultation with the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and the field. This new programme will provide space for different types of research (action research, applied and fundamental research) on subjects similar to those in the accelerated incidental funding round, but which will also focus on the (broader social) consequences of the crisis and measures to be taken in the longer term.
The grants will be awarded in the near future. The entire programme will run until the end of 2024 at the latest, for monitoring and completion of all pathways.

A total of about €20 to 25 million has been made available for this type of research by NWO, ZonMw, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.

3. Fast-track data NWO research

To acquire data that can only be collected now, during the crisis, the NWO domains Social Sciences and Humanities, Science, and Applied and Engineering Sciences are developing a so-called ‘fast-track data’ request. Researchers can apply for funding for research that requires real-time data acquisition on issues emerging as a result of the crisis, data that can help to manage the crisis, or that can increase the learning capacity of society during a pandemic.
To ensure that the data can be collected as quickly as possible, NWO is doing its utmost to give applicants the go/no go within one working week. Researchers will make data and an initial analysis of this data openly accessible as soon as possible. Medical and care-related subjects are excluded from this enquiry. The call is already open and can be found here. (English version will be made available as soon as possible).

In total, NWO is making €1.5 million available for this call: each NWO domain is contributing €0.5 million.

For all information about funding opportunities for research on corona and COVID-19, please consult the research page www.zonmw.nl/coronaonderzoek. More information about research opportunities, the procedure and approach of the COVID-19 research programme will soon be published here.

Read Minister De Jonge’s Letter to Parliament here.