ZonMw tijdlijn Prevention https://www.zonmw.nl/ Het laatste nieuws van de tijdlijn van Prevention en-gb Mon, 10 Aug 2020 10:31:29 +0200 Mon, 10 Aug 2020 10:31:29 +0200 TYPO3 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.


news-5511 Tue, 31 Mar 2020 14:26:37 +0200 New deadline ZonMw Open Competition pre-proposal : 16 June 2020 https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/new-deadline-zonmw-open-competition-pre-proposal-16-june-2020/ ZonMw extends the deadline for submission of the pre-proposal for ZonMw Open Competition 2020 from 16 April to 16 June 2020 before 14:00. As a result the granting process will take longer. We will publish a revised time schedule on our website soon. As a result of the Corona crisis the current situation is demanding a lot of everybody, especially for those in the medical sector. As a result of the measures ZonMw has taken, the deadlines for the current granting processes have been extended.

More information


news-5491 Fri, 27 Mar 2020 07:35:52 +0100 Fellowships Gender in Research summer course https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/fellowships-gender-in-research-summer-course/ After a successful first edition last summer, ZonMw and Erasmus MC will again offer an interesting joint course program on gender, health and research, as part of the Erasmus Summer Program 2020 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. From 17-21 August, (inter)national experts and guest speakers from a multitude of disciplines will come together to share their knowledge and research expertise with the next generation of researchers from all over the world. Through the Gender and Health course and the Gender in Research workshops, participants are provided with the latest knowledge on critical health issues for women and men trough the life cycle and new skills on why and how to include sex and gender considerations in all phases of the research cycle.

For international researchers

The ZonMw Gender and Health Knowledge Program offers 20 Gender in Research Fellowships for PhD-students and post-doctoral researchers to participate in the joint Gender and Health course program. These fellowships are not just for Dutch young researchers. International researchers are also very welcome to apply for a fellowship. Interested? Read more about the fellowship on our Funding Information page and submit your application before May 28th 2020, 14:00hr.

More information

news-5463 Thu, 19 Mar 2020 08:31:09 +0100 Replication Studies third round: repetition of important research https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/replication-studies-third-round-repetition-of-important-research/ For the third time, NWO is funding projects so that the research of others can be repeated. This time it concerns seven studies covering the area of the social sciences, humanities and health research and healthcare innovation. By funding replication NWO wants to contribute to increasing the transparency of research and the quality of how results are reported. The funding instrument aims at cornerstone research that in the past formed the basis for follow-up research or have assumed an important place in education, policy-making or the public debate.

More information

news-5459 Wed, 18 Mar 2020 12:02:15 +0100 Consequences COVID-19 outbreak for subsidy rounds ZonMw https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/consequences-covid-19-outbreak-for-subsidy-rounds-zonmw/ The very exceptional situation surrounding the coronavirus outbreak has consequences for the process surrounding ZonMw's grant applications. We consider it necessary to take appropriate measures in order to align with the measures instituted by the cabinet. We are committed to giving everyone the same opportunity to submit applications, do research or participate in committees or as reviewers for our rounds. The current situation places  many extra demands on our applicants, project leaders, committee members, reviewers and project and research participants. We have taken the following measures to spare them.


We have cancelled all meetings until Junil 1. It is possible that a meeting has been postponed. Please consult our agenda for new dates.

Grant applications

New subsidy rounds will not open until April 13. The situation will be reassessed in early April and a possible additional decision will follow. The submission deadline for all outstanding grant calls with a submission date from 17 March until the end off April has been extended by two months. The submission dates will be adjusted as soon as possible. Keep an eye on the subsidy calendar for the up-to-date submission dates.

Ongoing research

The deadline for submitting progress and final reports has been extended by three months. Where necessary, a budget neutral extension can be requested. If you have any questions about this, please contact the relevant programme manager.

Funding rounds in collaboration with NWO

These measures do not apply to the NOW Talent Scheme, Rubicon and NWA subsidy rounds. The NWO measures apply to these programmes.

Interview rounds and assessment meetings

All interview meetings from 17 March until the end off April will be canceled and rescheduled at a time to be determined later. Assessment meetings regarding grant applications that have already been submitted will take place via Skype or by telephone. These meetings can only take place if the required quorum is met.


The measures mentioned above do not apply to the following programmes:

  • The deadline of 17 March 2020 for submitting grant applications for the call for the “Care Evaluation and Appropriate Use (ZE&GG)” research will be maintained.
  • The deadline of 7 April 2020 for the submission within the call for funding for Promising Care, which is being carried out by the Healthcare Institute, will be maintained.
  • The ZE&GG Inclusion Accelerator call will open as soon as possible.


Depending on current developments, additional measures may follow. In early April, it will be decided whether the above-mentioned measures will also be applicable in  May and June.

news-5545 Fri, 13 Mar 2020 11:14:00 +0100 Start datanetwork coronavirus https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/start-datanetwork-coronavirus/ We have commissioned the GO FAIR Initiative to implement the first steps of VODAN. VODAN stands for Virus Outbreak Data Access Network. This implementation network aims to shape data about the current corona virus outbreak in a way that makes them accessible for learning-algorithms (according to the Personal Health Train principle). Infectious disease and data

For this task, GO FAIR and ZonMw are calling on experts in the fields of infectious disease and data to participate. ZonMw is a member of GloPID-R, a world wide collaboration of research funders in the field of ‘preparedness’ for outbreaks of infectious disease. ZonMw and other funding agencies hope to contribute with this commission to the solution of the current crisis caused by this virus and the infectious disease COVID-19.

Personal Health Train

According to the principle of the ‘Personal Health Train’, data remain where they were generated and can be ‘visited’ for certain research questions. The administrators of the data determine the conditions under which the data may be consulted for certain questions. This way, data are made available for research in an equal, yet controlled manner. This approach might have come just in time to be of immediate use for de COVID-19 epidemic. Furthermore, it will significantly contribute to the preparedness of countries for future epidemics of this scale.

Role of ZonMw

We fund healthcare research and stimulate healthcare innovation. We have extensive experience in the fields of infectious disease and data, both nationally and internationally.

More information:

Stay up to date about all the developments related to the corona virus.


news-5492 Fri, 13 Mar 2020 10:52:00 +0100 Meetings cancelled due to coronavirus https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/meetings-cancelled-due-to-coronavirus/ Did you register for a ZonMw-related meeting? Please check if it’s still taking place; it might have been postponed or cancelled because of the corona virus (COVID-19). You can find the up to date news about events on the Agenda page of our website (only available in Dutch).

Because of the corona virus pandemic and the new measures announced by the national government, ZonMw has cancelled all meetings and conferences. In accordance with the government measures, this will apply at least until June 1. It will be decided per meeting or event whether it will be cancelled, postponed, or held via a digital communication tool. Please contact the organiser of your meeting for more information.

In this way, ZonMw aims to help with counteracting the spread of the corona virus.

Stay up to date about all developments around the corona virus on our website.

news-5419 Mon, 09 Mar 2020 12:28:09 +0100 11th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/11th-world-congress-on-alternatives-and-animal-use-in-the-life-sciences/ The 11th World Congress on Alternatives and the Use of Animal in the Life Sciences will explore the latest in 3Rs R&D and has a multidisciplinary programme covering more traditional themes as well as very latest issues and novel developments in the field of alternatives to animal testing in the life sciences. More information


news-5410 Thu, 05 Mar 2020 08:30:04 +0100 Partnership Human Measurement Models 2.0: for health research on diseases and prevention https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/partnership-human-measurement-models-20-for-health-research-on-diseases-and-prevention/ NWO Domain Applied and Engineering Sciences (AES), the Association of Collaborating Health Foundations (SGF), ZonMw and Top Sector Life Sciences & Health (LSH; Health~Holland) together make 5.55 million euros available for the development and validation of human measurement models. Through public-private partnerships within the research programme a contribution is made to science that becomes more effective for human and is less dependent on laboratory animals. Background

Every day, millions of people have to deal with the consequences of serious and sometimes life-threatening diseases. NWO Domain AES, the SGF, ZonMw and Top Sector LSH are committed to contribute to better and longer healthier lives for everyone. Scientific research, to develop better treatments for example, is crucial. Research models based on human material such as cells and tissues, or computer models based on human data, are expected to resemble humans better than animal models. The more closely a research model resembles the human situation, the sooner the corresponding research results can be applied in practice.
Targeted funding is being made available in the programme Human measurement models, which has been set up by SGF, NWO Domain AES, ZonMw and Top Sector LSH. In 2019, the first funding round of the programme took place, entitled “Human measurement models. Towards better human measurement models”. The current (second) call “Human measurement models 2.0: for health research on diseases and prevention” will open in March 2020.

Aim and objectives

The aim of the programme Human measurement models is to facilitate the development of new, more efficient human measurement models for health research to ensure that research results can be applied better and faster in humans. The focus of the programme’s second call is to develop innovative human measurement models for disease research or the prevention of diseases, including toxicity studies. The results from health research and any developed model has to be applicable for multiple diseases, and has to have an impact for multiple patient groups.

Call for proposals

At the beginning of March 2020 a call for proposals that contribute to the aim of the programme will be opened on this website. Depending on the type of research (fundamental, industrial or experimental) and the contributions from private and public parties within the collaborative project, funding between 0.5 and 1 million euros can be requested per research project.

Applications can be submitted until mid-June 2020 by a consortium consisting of at least two research organisations and at least two for-profit enterprises. More information about the conditions and the assessment procedure will be made available in the call for proposals.

Network meeting cancelled

As a consequence of the measures because of the Corona-virus outbreak, the information and network meeting on April 2nd has been cancelled. We will monitor the situation in the coming weeks and will schedule an alternative date for the meeting as soon as possible. We will keep you informed via our website and social media.

More information

news-5348 Thu, 20 Feb 2020 13:00:00 +0100 32 scientists to receive NWO Vici grants worth 1.5 million euros https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/32-scientists-to-receive-nwo-vici-grants-worth-15-million-euros/ 32 leading scientists will each receive 1.5 million euros from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). This Vici grant will enable them to develop an innovative line of research and set up their own research group in the coming five years. Vici is one of the largest scientific grants for individuals in the Netherlands and targets advanced researchers. The Vici laureates will examine the role played by curiosity in child development, which changes give rise to congenital heart diseases, and how a mixed provision of languages influences the language acquisition of children. Another research project will focus on the neurobiology of Parkinson’s disease with the aim of detecting the disease earlier. Researchers will also develop a revolutionary engine that converts renewable fuels into clean energy.

These are the projects for the domain of the medical sciences:

Immunity throughout the body

Dr. J.A.M. (José) Borghans (f), UMCU - Immunology
Current insights into the human immune system are almost exclusively based on studies of the blood, a place where only a minority of immune cells reside. By combining experimental work with mathematics, this research unravels how long-term immunological memory is maintained by immune cells throughout the body.

Novel tactics to combat a silent but dangerous intruder; non-alcoholic steatohepatitis

Prof. dr. S.W.C. (Saskia) van Mil (f), UMCU - Center for Molecular Medicine
Millions of people live with the silent liver disease non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, putting them at high risk for developing liver failure and cancer. Presently, no treatment is available. To address this need, researchers will selectively target the Farnesoid X Receptor to develop a highly effective therapy without side effects.

Genetic heart disease – what goes wrong?

Prof. dr. E. (Eva) van Rooij (f), Hubrecht Institute
Genetic heart diseases are caused by a mistake in your DNA and are characterised by several disease driving changes in the heart that contribute to the progression of the disease. To date very little is known about the exact mechanisms that drive these changes. The goal is to discover what causes these pathological changes to occur to potentially contribute to the development of enhanced therapies.

From Headache to Heartache

Dr. A. (Antoinette) Maassen van den Brink (f), Erasmus MC – Dept. of Internal Medicine
Migraine is a highly debilitating disease, especially in women. Moreover, it is a major cardiovascular risk factor. We will study why specifically women get more migraines, how to specifically treat women and how to mitigate that cardiovascular risk in migraine, taking into account potential cardiovascular risks of antimigraine medication.

Towards treatment of Intellectual Disability and Autism disorders

Dr. A. (Annette) Schenck (f), RUMC, Department of Human Genetics
Intellectual disability and autism are frequent and currently untreatable disorders. The researchers will use an ancient, highly conserved form of learning and the fruit fly as a model to investigate the neurobiology of these disorders and develop effective translational treatment strategies for subgroups of patients.

Keeping up appearances

Dr. N.M. (Nina) van Sorge (f), UMCU – Medical Microbiology
Bacteria are all covered by a thick cell wall, predominantly composed of sugars. The pathogen Staphylococcus aureus can cover itself in different ‘sugar coats’. Microbiologists think that recognition of these different sugar coats is a key factor in immune defense and for the development of new antibiotics and vaccines.

More information


news-5306 Tue, 11 Feb 2020 11:39:34 +0100 Human Measurement Models 2.0: for health research on diseases and prevention https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/human-measurement-models-20-for-health-research-on-diseases-and-prevention/ NWO Domain Applied and Engineering Sciences (AES), the Association of Collaborating Health Foundations (SGF), ZonMw and Top Sector Life Sciences & Health (LSH; Health~Holland) together make 5.55 million euros available for the development and validation of human measurement models. Through public-private partnerships within the research programme a contribution is made to science that becomes more effective for human and is less dependent on laboratory animals.


Every day, millions of people have to deal with the consequences of serious and sometimes life-threatening diseases. NWO Domain AES, the SGF, ZonMw and Top Sector LSH are committed to contribute to better and longer healthier lives for everyone. Scientific research, to develop better treatments for example, is crucial. Research models based on human material such as cells and tissues, or computer models based on human data, are expected to resemble humans better than animal models. The more closely a research model resembles the human situation, the sooner the corresponding research results can be applied in practice.

More information

news-5270 Tue, 04 Feb 2020 12:35:20 +0100 Computer model helps predict rejection of donor kidneys https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/computer-model-helps-predict-rejection-of-donor-kidneys/ Sometimes a donor kidney is rejected years after it is transplanted. Researchers at Radboudumc teaching hospital in Nijmegen are developing a computer model that can predict this process, so that those cases can be treated properly. They are working closely with a number of partners in the Netherlands and abroad. A glass plate with slices of tissue from biopsies of a donor kidney lies on the table. These biopsies were taken for further investigation after the patient’s kidney function declined. Senior lecturer and computer scientist Jeroen van der Laak and PhD student Meyke Hermsen, both of Radboudumc’s Pathology department, explain that up to now, pathologists would always study this kind of thin-section under a microscope. They demonstrate the fact that this will soon be a thing of the past in Nijmegen by showing me an image on a laptop. Kidney biopsies digitalised using a special scanner appear on the screen. ‘Next year our department is going completely digital’, says Van der Laak. ‘This will have a major impact on our infrastructure and procedures. One change will be a bigger role for computational pathology.’

Computational pathology

Researchers in Van der Laak’s computational pathology group are attempting to analyse and interpret digital cross-sections of biopsies using computer algorithms to aid diagnosis and treatment. With support from the ERACoSysMed programme, an international network of grant providers which includes ZonMw (see box), they are focusing on chronic rejection processes after kidney transplants, which are associated with interstitial fibrosis and tubular atrophy (IFTA), in which vital kidney tissue is replaced by non-functioning tubuli and scar tissue. The project has been named SysMIFTA because of its use of systems medicine to decipher the processes that lead to IFTA.

Kidney transplants have become steadily more successful over the years thanks to better matching between patient and donor, and the advent of more effective medication. Hermsen says that this means that acute rejection is now less common. ‘Unfortunately, we know less about the incipient processes that lead to IFTA. It can cause a donor kidney to be rejected years after transplant, meaning the patient has to be added to a waiting list that is already long. In SysMIFTA we are trying to get a picture of the rejection process. We have developed neural networks that help us analyse kidney tissue. Use of these models to teach a computer is known as deep learning.’

Training the algorithm

In deep learning, a computer algorithm is trained by being exposed to many examples of recognisable components. For SysMIFTA the model had to learn all the tissue structures in a kidney biopsy. It is now so successful that Van der Laak and Hermsen are also investigating whether the model can provide support for pathologists. Besides recognising structures, the focus in the SysMIFTA project is now also on detection of macrophages and T-helper lymphocytes which might together play a key role in the emergence of IFTA.

Van der Laak says that this study has only been possible thanks to close collaboration with international partners, because the mathematical model receives input from so many angles to help it make a good prediction. ‘SysMIFTA is a European project. We are working with centres in Germany, France and Italy. A centre in Israel is also participating. We in Nijmegen can use our own analytical techniques to study what macrophages are present in a transplant biopsy, where they are and how this relates to the outcome with the donor kidney. Other groups are looking, for example, at cell culture experiments, studying the polarisation of macrophages under certain conditions, like low oxygen resulting from the transplant. The results from the different groups are brought together in the mathematical model, the idea being that together we can offer more information than each discipline separately. So we complement each other nicely.’ The collaboration has now extended beyond ERACoSysMed. TU Eindhoven, Amsterdam UMC and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, USA are also working with Nijmegen. ‘The idea is for our models to be universally applicable,’ says Van der Laak, ‘so that all patients all over the world can benefit.’

More efficient

‘But we’re not there yet’, Hermsen points out. ‘The models can already recognise a lot but there is room for improvement. And we will have to consult with pathologists first to look at where our models can have most benefit. The algorithm can quantify a lot of structures, but we could for example remove structures not needed for a good diagnosis from the analysis.’ She is convinced it could eventually save pathologists a lot of time. ‘Pathologists will not only be able to work more efficiently, they will also make more objective diagnoses. And of course we hope that SysMIFTA will enable us to identify donor kidney rejection sooner and prevent it from happening. That is our ultimate goal.’

About ERACoSysMed

ERACoSysMed (ERA-network Cofunding of Systems Medicine) is a network that organises funding rounds to promote systems medicine in Europe. Systems medicine uses mathematical models and large quantities of clinical and biological data to enable more personalised care. Tailor-made treatment will be more effective and should have fewer side effects. To this end, ERACoSysMed encourages clinical practitioners, biologists, bioinformaticians, geneticists and pharmacologists to work together on an international basis. ZonMw is closely involved with this integrated approach, organising meetings and workshops, for example, to make participants more aware of the potential and usefulness of systems medicine.


news-5269 Tue, 04 Feb 2020 11:56:57 +0100 Co-conspirator cell of aggressive paediatric cancer discovered https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/co-conspirator-cell-of-aggressive-paediatric-cancer-discovered/ What makes recurrent adrenal tumours in children resistant to chemotherapy? Researchers at Amsterdam UMC have managed to shed some light on the problem. What makes recurrent adrenal tumours in children resistant to chemotherapy? Researchers at Amsterdam UMC have discovered an anomalous doppelganger of the known tumour cell, thanks to a database in which researchers around the world have deposited ‘a huge amount’ of data.

Neuroblastoma is a form of cancer that occurs only in young children. Around thirty new patients develop the disease each year in the Netherlands, when the cells that produce adrenalin in the adrenal glands go awry. The treatment has barely improved over the past twenty years, says Rogier Versteeg, head of the Oncogenomics department at Amsterdam UMC. His department is trying to fathom why recurrent neuroblastomas are so aggressive, as the current chemotherapy works only for a time. In almost 60% of patients over the age of eighteen months the tumour returns within a few years. A new course of chemotherapy generally fails, so the young patient dies. ‘We have never understood why such a recurrent tumour cell suddenly becomes resistant,’ says Versteeg. ‘We always thought it was the same type of cell.’

International approach

The department in Amsterdam is working closely with neuroblastoma experts at academic hospitals in Heidelberg, Berlin and Ghent. The alliance has been made possible by ERACoSysMed, a network of which ZonMw is also a member. ‘This is a fantastic collaboration’, says Versteeg. ‘Together we have determined the DNA sequence and other features of hundreds of neuroblastomas. We now know for example that this tumour has few mutated genes, and that it is probably a matter of an imbalance in the activity of perhaps a thousand genes. This has to be tackled internationally, as it’s a relatively rare tumour. You need large groups of patients for research.’

Huge collection

One important tool that has allowed this collaboration to run smoothly is the R2 platform, a database with analysis software that the Oncogenetics department developed under the leadership of molecular biologist and bioinformatician Jan Koster. R2 allows cancer researchers all over the world to enter, analyse and interpret biological and clinical data on all kinds of tumours. Versteeg says it is used ‘an enormous amount’, so it now contains a huge collection of data on tumours. Not only about their DNA and RNA, but also their epigenetics: the histones that surround the DNA and determine whether or not it is activated. 

‘We hope we will eventually find a way to get rid of neuroblastomas for good.’

The joint study of neuroblastomas has led to an important breakthrough that may have something to do with the epigenetics of the tumour cells, Versteeg suspects. ‘We have discovered that neuroblastomas do not consist of a single type of tumour cell, as we thought, but of two kinds. They have the same DNA but look very different. So these are two different phenotypes that have different genes switched on and also have a different metabolism. One type, which we already knew of, has all the characteristics of a differentiated cell designed to secrete adrenalin. The other closely resembles embryonic precursor cells of these adrenergic cells. These primitive cells are unfortunately highly resistant to chemotherapy. We think that it is this cell type that survives in the body after treatment and returns in large numbers a few years later.’

Changing hats

Just why these primitive cells should be resistant Versteeg does not know. There are still a lot of unanswered questions. He also thinks it is strange that neuroblastoma cells ‘change hats’ so often, as he calls it. ‘Both types of cell can switch phenotype. That’s very strange. Normally, cells have a single direction of differentiation. In this case, however, they can go in both directions. It is not clear why this is so.’ What he does know is that the discovery of the aggressive primitive cells also provides an opportunity to develop a therapy that kills them.

Promising trials

The researchers have already found several new drug treatments that have an impact either on the primitive cells or on the differentiated cells. Again, this was achieved using the R2 database. Versteeg does not want to mention any names as yet, but the drugs work well in the lab. The first trials in mice were also positive, he says. ‘We add the substances to the tumour cells and immediately analyse the effect on all 20,000 genes. We can only do this using computer programmes – a method known as systems medicine. We hope this method will allow us to find a way of getting rid of neuroblastomas for good. But that will take a few years.’

About systems medicine

ERACoSysMed (ERA-network Cofunding of Systems Medicine) is a network that organises funding rounds to promote systems medicine in Europe. Systems medicine uses computer models and large quantities of clinical and biological data to enable more personalised care. Tailor-made treatment will be more effective and should have fewer side effects. To this end, ERACoSysMed encourages clinical practitioners, biologists, bioinformaticians, geneticists and pharmacologists to work together on an international basis. ZonMw has organised two calls for proposals, six awareness events and five workshops as part of ERACoSysMed.

Written by: John Ekkelboom

news-5263 Mon, 03 Feb 2020 14:34:25 +0100 Contribute your ideas about research into research and responsible research practices https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/contribute-your-ideas-about-research-into-research-and-responsible-research-practices/ Improving the quality of science and scientific knowledge requires knowledge about how the science system and the various cultures within science work. However, what could be the solution for one scientific discipline does not necessarily work for another research field. ZonMw and NWO are therefore asking you to contribute ideas about what is needed to improve the quality of research within your research field. You can do that using the position paper “Promoting Responsible Research Practices”.

Make a contribution

The position paper “Promoting Responsible Research Practices” can be found on the ZonMw website. You can submit your suggestions, if you so wish, anonymously, via the digital form. Contributions can be submitted until 16 March 2020.

Current state of affairs

On 31 October 2019, Joeri Tijdink presented the position paper “Promoting Responsible Research Practices” during the meeting of the research programmes Fostering Responsible Research Practices and Replication Studies. In this paper, Serge Horbach, Michèle B. Nuijten, Gareth O'Neill and Joeri Tijdink describe the knowledge we already have and which research themes have not yet received enough attention to make responsible research possible. ZonMw commissioned the authors to perform this study so that it would be clear what we can jointly do to improve the quality of research and to build a robust and resilient science system.

Science-wide research into research

During the meeting, participants gave input on the paper. They were mainly researchers from the biomedical sciences, psychology and social sciences. However, the input of researchers, project leaders, employees and administrators from research institutions from all research fields is needed to obtain a science-wide picture of existing research and themes that have not yet been sufficiently investigated. ZonMw is therefore organising a consultation round to further refine the position paper and to describe as many knowledge gaps as possible.

Next steps

The authors will use the contributions to further refine the overview of existing knowledge and subjects that have not yet received sufficient attention. This document will provide the basis for new initiatives in line with the research programmes Fostering Responsible Research Practices and Replication Studies.

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news-5258 Mon, 03 Feb 2020 09:38:06 +0100 9 million euros for fundamental research by interdisciplinary research teams in the medical domain https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/9-million-euros-for-fundamental-research-by-interdisciplinary-research-teams-in-the-medical-domain/ Twelve research projects will soon start with innovative research lines and new collaborations between various research groups in the first round of the ZonMw Open Competition. Amongst other things, these projects will work on improving immune therapies against cancer, the role of genes in ageing processes, and anxiety disorders and insomnia. The projects will jointly receive more than nine million euros from this first round of the programme ZonMw Open Competition. This programme aims to create opportunities for outstanding curiosity-driven (groundbreaking) research. The funding enables excellent research groups to renew their research lines that contribute to health research. Another important requirement is that they realise new collaborations between different research groups.

Three of the twelve research groups have also requested funding within their projects for investments in infrastructure, such as scientifically innovative equipment. From 20 February onwards, funding in the programme ZonMw Open Competition can once again be applied for.

Projects with investments in infrastructure:

Biomechanical precision diagnostics in osteoarthritis

Project team: prof. S.M.A. (Sita) Bierma-Zeinstra (Erasmus MC), prof. J. (Jaap) Harlaar (TU Delft) and dr E.H.G. (Edwin) Oei (Erasmus MC).

Revealing HIV hiding places: functional characterization of the HIV reservoir in CD32a+ T cells

Project team: prof. B. (Ben) Berkhout (Amsterdam UMC Location AMC), dr A.O. (Alexander) Pasternak and dr J. (Jeroen) den Dunnen (Amsterdam UMC Location AMC)

TRIPLET: TaRgeted therapy and Imaging in experimental PLacEnTa insufficiency

Project team: prof. R.M. (Raymond) Schiffelers (UMC Utrecht), dr A.T. (Titia) Lely (UMC Utrecht) and prof. G.J. (Gustav) Strijkers (Amsterdam UMC).

Other projects:

Defining H3K9 methylation regulatory pathways in monocyte and macrophage function in cardiovascular disease

Project team: prof. M.P.J. (Menno) de Winther (Amsterdam UMC) and prof. M. (Michiel) Vermeulen (Radboud University Nijmegen).

Diaphragm protective mechanical ventilation in critically ill patients: the role of positive endexpiratory pressure

Project team: prof. L.H. (Leo) Heunks (Amsterdam UMC Location VUmc), dr J.T. (Tim) Marcus (Amsterdam UMC Location VUmc), prof. H.G. (Henk) Granzier (University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ) and prof. A.N. (Aart) Nederveen (Amsterdam UMC Location AMC).

Embryonic checkpoints - releasing the brakes on IVF

Project team: dr D. (Derk) ten Berge (Erasmus MC), dr N.C. (Nicolas) Rivron (Austrian Academy of Science) and dr E.B. (Esther) Baart (Erasmus MC).

Exploring Bacterial Cytological Profiling to find novel antibiotic leads

Project team: prof. L.W. (Leendert) Hamoen (University of Amsterdam) and dr J.C.N. (Jerome) Collemare (Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute).

Molecular engineering of healthspan extension leveraging genetics of aging-resilient animals

Project team: prof. E. (Eugene) Berezikov (University Medical Center Groningen), prof. E.A.A. (Ellen) Nollen and prof. C.F. (Cor) Calkhoven (University Medical Center Groningen).

Obesity during pregnancy: the role of the microbiome in maternal pregnancy and foetal complications

Project team: dr M.M. (Marijke) Faas (University Medical Center Groningen), dr S. (Sam) Schoenmakers and prof. R.P.M. (Régine) Steegers-Theunissen (Erasmus MC).

Optimizing the design of dendritic cell vaccine immunotherapies

Project team: prof. I.J.M. (Jolanda) de Vries (Radboud University Medical Center), prof. G. (Geert) van den Bogaart (University of Groningen), dr S.I. (Sander) van Kasteren (Leiden University), dr G. (Gerty) Schreibelt (Radboud University Medical Center) and dr M. (Martijn) Verdoes (Radboud University Medical Center).

REAL-HEARING: Real life measurement of the influence of hearing loss and listening effort on stress systems

Project team: prof. S.E. (Sophia) Kramer (VU University medical center), dr A.A. (Adriana) Zekveld (VU University medical center ) and prof. J.C.N. (Eco) de Geus (VU University).

REMOVE: Resolving Emotional Memories Overnight

Project team: prof. E.J.W. (Eus) van Someren (Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience) and prof. M. (Merel) Kindt (University of Amsterdam)

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news-5221 Mon, 27 Jan 2020 10:58:12 +0100 Oncode researchers gain access to Organoid technology thanks to collaboration with KNAW https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/oncode-researchers-gain-access-to-organoid-technology-thanks-to-collaboration-with-knaw/ Thanks to an agreement between the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and Oncode Institute, the organoid technology will become available to all 800+ cancer researchers that are part of Oncode. The KNAW collaborates with its institutional partner UMC Utrecht on organoid technology. Thanks to this agreement with Oncode, researchers receive a license to conduct research on organoids for the first time in the Netherlands. Licenses for the use of this technology

Growing and researching organoids is a technology developed by Oncode researcher Hans Clevers. Clevers works - among others - at the Hubrecht Institute (KNAW) and the UMC Utrecht and is a professor at Utrecht University. The KNAW manages the licenses for the use of this technology together with UMC Utrecht. For the quality of cancer research, it is a unique step that unlimited research for academic purposes is now possible. The use of organoids allows researchers to analyze tumor growth with limited amounts of tissue from patients, to investigate genetic instability and to test new drug combinations. Cancer researchers who are not affiliated with Oncode that are interested to use this technology can contact KNAW.

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