ZonMw tijdlijn Translational research https://www.zonmw.nl/ Het laatste nieuws van de tijdlijn van Translational research en-gb Fri, 17 Sep 2021 18:55:35 +0200 Fri, 17 Sep 2021 18:55:35 +0200 TYPO3 news-7668 Tue, 07 Sep 2021 10:03:00 +0200 More than 80% of publications funded by NWO and ZonMw Open Access https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/more-than-80-of-publications-funded-by-nwo-and-zonmw-open-access/ In 2020, 85% of the publications resulting from NWO funded research were Open Access. For ZonMw, this percentage is 83%. These are the findings from the biennial Open Access Monitor carried out by CWTS at the request from NWO. NWO and ZonMw are strongly committed to the transition to Open Science. Since the introduction of NWO's Open access policy in 2009, great progress has been made. NWO and ZonMw continue to strive for 100% Open access to publications and for research data to be shared according to the maxim “as open as possible as, closed as necessary”.

The main findings of the CWTS-report are:

  • Of the articles published in 2020 arising from NWO funding, 85% are openly accessible: either through the publisher's platforms (gold route) or through a repository (green route). For ZonMw this figure is 83%. That’s an increase of 17% and 23% respectively, since the previous monitor in 2018.
  • The proportion of publications in full gold journals as well as the number of publications in hybrid journals is increasing. The latter as a result of the VSNU's successful Open access agreements with large and medium-sized publishers.
  • In terms of the overall Open access score, there are no major differences between universities. Between disciplines, however, there are differences in the preferred routes. Researchers in the natural sciences tend to choose the green route more often. In the biomedical sciences, publishing in full gold open access is more common.

Caroline Visser, responsible for Open Science in NWO’s  Executive Board of NWO: "It is fantastic that 85% of the research funded by NWO is now openly available. Open Science leads to increased findability and visibility of research results and therefore to more impact, both in science and society. In collaboration with the Dutch universities and medical centers, we have achieved a lot and although - as often - the last steps may be the most difficult, we continue to strive for 100%. And that is realistic. After all, sharing an article via a repository is always an option. We are also going to put more effort into monitoring the compliance with our Open access requirements".  

“As research funders, Open Access is important to us,” adds Jeroen Geurts, Chair of the board of ZonMw and member of the board of NWO, “because it increases the impact of research, improves quality due to transparency, and promotes international collaboration. That is why we set requirements for the research we fund. But we are also taking steps to help researchers do this. That is why, on 1 April of this year, NWO and ZonMw became members of Europe PMC (PubMed Central), an Open Science platform that maintains a worldwide collection of scientific articles and other research results. Researchers from NWO and ZonMw-funded research in the field of life and medical sciences can now share their publications with a worldwide audience in one central place. This membership of Europe PMC is the next step towards 100% Open Access publishing”.

Open Science is the movement that stands for research practices that are more open and participatory, wherein publications, data, software and other forms of scientific information are shared at the earliest possible stage and made openly available for reuse. Open Science leads to more impact, both on science and on society. NWO and ZonMw believe that publicly funded research should be openly available and therefore actively contribute to the transition to Open Science. In that context, they both joined cOAlition S in 2019, a consortium of international research funders with the aim to accelerate the transition to 100% Open Access. NWO's Plan S-based Open Access policy entered into effect as of January 1, 2021.

More information



news-7605 Thu, 12 Aug 2021 09:00:00 +0200 Challenge for Create2Solve can now be submitted! https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/challenge-for-create2solve-can-now-be-submitted/ ZonMw invites industry, research institutions and legislative bodies to formulate a challenge for Phase 0 of the call for proposals Create2Solve. In the initiative Create2Solve, the challenges from industry with animal-free innovations take centre stage. In the following phase, knowledge institutions and private partners will work on a project to come up with a solution fot the challenges. While the pharmaceutical, medical technologies, chemical, cosmetics and food industries are increasingly seeking solutions to improve, for example, their prediction of clinical efficacy and/or risk and safety assessments without the use of animals, the solutions are still insufficient. These organizations can now submit challenges for which they wish to develop an animal-free solution until 6 January 2022. Subsequently, the parties concerned will come together in a matchmaking meeting this autumn so that afterwards, they can formulate the challenges together and turn them into a call for proposals. With this approach, ZonMw encourages the development of animal-free innovations with impact that must lead to marketable methods, models and/or services.

The phases of Create2Solve

Create2Solve consists of three phases. Phase 0 has now started:

•    Phase 0: ‘Request for Challenges’

Industry, legislative bodies and research institutions submit challenges aimed at solving current problems so that innovations can be realised in an animal-free manner. By doing this, they request development of a animal-free solution to a problem, for which currently animal models are insufficient and no fitting alternatives are present. Two challenges will be selected and will result in a call for proposals.

•    Phase 1: ‘Proof-of-concept projects’

Knowledge institutions, together with small and medium enterprises (SMEs), can submit a proposal for a proof-of-concept project for animal-free solutions for the challenges. The committee of experts will select a maximum of three projects per challenge. These will start in Phase 1 and have a duration of eight months.

•    Phase 2: ‘Elaboration solution – research projects’

Two selected proof-of-concept projects, one per challenge, will further develop their animal-free innovation into a prototype. The duration of the research project is four to five years.

Funding and duration

The funding for Create2Solve is made available by the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, the Dutch Research Council and the Dutch Society for the Replacement of Animal Testing. For each proof-of-concept project, a maximum budget of € 100,000 is available for a period of eight months. For the research projects, a maximum budget of € 900,000 is available per project for a maximum period of five years.

More information

With the call for proposals Create2Solve, which is part of the programme ‘More Knowledge with Fewer Animals’, ZonMw is organising demand-driven research into animal-free innovations.

•    Request for Challenges
•    Create2Solve is an initiative of the programme More Knowledge with Fewer Animals

news-7560 Wed, 28 Jul 2021 16:10:00 +0200 Call for grant applications ‘Action research on dementia care in the Dutch Caribbean’ open for submission https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/call-for-grant-applications-action-research-on-dementia-care-in-the-dutch-caribbean-open-for-submi/ The call for grant applications ‘Action research on dementia care in the Dutch Caribbean’ has been opened at the ZonMw website. The deadline for submission is 21 september 2021, at 14.00 The call for grant applications focuses on dementia care in the Dutch Caribbean. The research must focus on developing and using knowledge to provide sustainable solutions for dementia care that are relevant to formal and informal healthcare practice, people living with dementia and their loved ones. There should be an alignment with existing local initiatives for dementia care and dementia support in the region.

Who can apply for a grant

ZonMw invites a yet-to-be-formed partnership to submit an application. The partnership will involve relevant parties within dementia care in the Dutch Caribbean. In this grant round, funding can be requested for action research in the field of dementia. Action research involves both research and implementation. Close collaboration is required between practitioners, people with dementia and their loved ones, informal carers, government and research.

Budget and deadline

For this grant round, €250,000 is available. One project will be approved. The closing date for applications is 21 September 2021, at 14.00.

More information

If you have any questions about the procedure or substantive questions, you can e-mail dementie@zonmw.nl or contact Marjolein Scholten (+31 70 3495335) or Sophie Habets (+31 70 3495086).

news-7523 Mon, 19 Jul 2021 09:46:33 +0200 NWO launches new NWA call about acceptance of animal-free models https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/nwo-launches-new-nwa-call-about-acceptance-of-animal-free-models/ How can we encourage the acceptance and implementation of existing animal-free models? This is the key question in the new call published by the Dutch Research Agenda (NWA). Almost 2.9 million euros is being made available in this call for research by broad consortia of researchers and civil society partners. ZonMw is realising this Call for proposals in collaboration with NWO. Every day, people are exposed to numerous chemical substances which occur in products such as drugs and cosmetics and in the environment. A thorough safety assessment of a substance is necessary to protect people against its possible dangers.

Use of experimental animals is facing increasing criticism

Animal experiments are still frequently used for such assessments. However, this use of experimental animals is facing increasing criticism from both a societal and scientific viewpoint. Reasons for this include animal welfare and the translatability of the results from animals to humans. Several parties are committed to accelerating the transition to animal-free models for the safety assessment of substances.

Many animal-free models already exist. Yet despite this, the widespread use of animal-free models remains limited. Numerous parties from different domains are involved in this theme, such as society, science, legislation and industry. Each of these parties has its own motives, convictions and interests. The acceptance and implementation of animal-free models therefore require additional effort, flexibility and trust. By inviting all these parties to participate in consortia, we encourage the use of existing animal-free models for a more reliable prediction of the effects on human health.

More information about the Call 'Acceptance animal free models'


news-7495 Wed, 14 Jul 2021 09:14:00 +0200 78 researchers receive NWO-Vidi grant worth 800,000 euros https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/78-researchers-receive-nwo-vidi-grant-worth-800000-euros/ The Dutch Research Council has awarded 78 experienced researchers a Vidi grant worth 800,000 euros. 15 of these fall under the ZonMw field of activity. 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 how the motivation to maintain positive self-views distort memory, compromising the quality of financial decisions. The Vidi will also help researchers study the interactions between respiratory viruses and implications for vaccination policies. Another research will focus on the safety of bridges, based on satellite data.

NWO Talent Programme

Vidi is aimed at experienced researchers who have carried out successful research for a number of years after obtaining their PhDs. Together with Veni and Vici, Vidi is part of the NWO Talent Programme. Researchers in the Talent Programme are free to submit their own subject for funding. NWO thus encourages curiosity-driven and innovative research. NWO selects researchers based on the quality of the researcher, the innovative character of the research, the expected scientific impact of the research proposal and the possibilities for knowledge use.
A total of 402 researchers submitted an admissible research project for funding during this Vidi funding round. Seventy-eight of these have now received grants. That amounts to an award rate of 19%. See the online list of awarded grants for the 2020 round which contains the names of all of the laureates and brief summaries of their research projects

More information


news-7487 Fri, 09 Jul 2021 13:37:15 +0200 Follow-up of the InSight programme gives new impetus to scientific research https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/follow-up-of-the-insight-programme-gives-new-impetus-to-scientific-research/ The InSight (InZicht) programme will be continued in 2021. This means a new impetus for research for persons with visual disabilities. The goal of the InSigt programme is to fund scientific research that benefits persons with visual disabilities. The InSight Foundation (Stichting Inzicht) is responsible for this follow-up. The programme is funded by support foundations associated with Bartiméus and Royal Visio. ZonMw manages the programme.

Grant call

In August 2021, a grant call will be opened. Researchers and care institutions can then submit proposals for research projects.

Impetus for scientific research

The InSight Foundation and ZonMw are pleased that this continuation of InSight will enable them to continue and strengthen the focus on high-quality scientific research undertaken by care and research institutions.

ZonMw and the InSight Foundation will ensure that researchers within the field and beyond are well aware of the research being carried out. Researchers can thus take full advantage from the accumulated knowledge. Finally, the implementation of research results will be developed and strengthened in practice.

Persons with visual disabilities are closely involved in the design and implementation of the research projects.


The InSight Foundation has determined the focus and priorities for this follow-up programme, in conjunction with the ZonMw programme Expertisefunctie Zintuiglijk Gehandicapten. The programme builds on the earlier achievements of InSight. The focus is on scientific research that meets practical questions. In this way InSight optimally complements the Expertisefunctie Zintuiglijk Gehandicapten programme, which focuses on practice-oriented research.

Background information

The InSight programme has been in operation since 1998. ZonMw manages the grant calls and will ensure a careful assessment of the research proposals submitted. The assessment comprises the quality, and the relevance, of the proposals, so that the research fits the needs that live in the field.


Dick Houtzager, programme manager, or Rozemarijn Beemster, programme secretary, Inzicht@zonmw.nl, phone +31 70 3495322


news-7480 Thu, 08 Jul 2021 09:04:08 +0200 New planning for Veni rounds announced: uniformity across all domains https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/new-planning-for-veni-rounds-announced-uniformity-across-all-domains/ The new planning for the next Veni rounds has been finalised. In 2022, the planning for this NWO Talent Programme will be fully aligned, just as it was prior to the changes that took place last year as a result of the coronavirus crisis and hack at NWO. NWO also intends to introduce more uniformity in its procedures, which is a desire that has been expressed in the field for a long time. The mandatory preproposal phase will therefore apply to the Veni from now on, which is another step towards limiting the pressure during the application procedure. Joint starting date

NWO has carefully considered the best joint starting date for the new rounds in 2022, also taking into account the desire not to create an overlap of rounds or introduce new changes to the current evaluation procedures. The decision about the 2021 Veni for the ENW and ZonMw domains is planned for coming December, for Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) and Applied and Engineering Sciences (AES) domains is planned for April next year. NWO realises that the Veni applicants from the ZonMw and ENW science domains will have to wait longer than they had probably hoped.

The new Veni-planning for all domains is as follows:

  • Deadline for the (mandatory) preproposal is Tuesday 6 September 2022
  • Deadline for full proposals is Tuesday 24 January 2023
  • The decision about the Veni proposals for the 2022 round will take place in June 2023.

The cut-off date remains 1 January 2022. This means that the 2022 Veni round is open to researchers who will have obtained their PhD no more than three ago on 1 January 2022. Researchers who obtained their PhD between 1 January and 6 September 2022 are also eligible for this round.

More information

news-7392 Mon, 21 Jun 2021 11:42:00 +0200 ZonMw invests in bridge-builders between clinical practice and research https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/zonmw-invests-in-bridge-builders-between-clinical-practice-and-research/ Five young postdoctoral clinicians will set up their own line of research with a maximum grant of 200,000 euros per person from the Clinical Fellows programme. Their research projects are also aimed at building bridges between clinical practice and scientific research. The researchers will work on better treatment choices for patients in a preliminary stage of cervical cancer, better therapy choices for patients with intestinal diseases such as Crohn’s disease, more knowledge of the disease rheumatoid arthritis, a faster recovery from a stroke, and personalised counselling and care for parents who experience a premature birth.

This year, the ZonMw programmes Efficiency Studies and Good Use of Medicines each had extra budget to offer a Clinical Fellowship to one talented young medical specialist.

Overview of the projects (alphabetical order of surname):

  • Dr Edith van Esch (Catharina Hospital) - Validation and implementation of prognostic immunological factors for clinical responses to imiquimod therapy in patients with cervical high grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (Good Use of Medicines)
  • Dr Noortje Festen (UMC Groningen) - Improving treatment for IBD by translating basic biology into treatment choices
  • Dr Rachel Knevel (Leiden University Medical Center) - Using a big data approach to divide the syndrome Rheumatoid Arthritis into homogenous subsets
  • Dr Bob Roozenbeek (ErasmusMC) - Prehospital triage of patients with suspected stroke symptoms: development, implementation and evaluation of a decision support tool (Efficiency Studies)
  • Dr Joanne Verweij (Leiden University Medical Center) - On the limits of neonatal viability: the ethics of changing towards an individualized prognosis-based approach

A Clinical Fellowship is a personal incentive grant for postdoctoral and specialised clinicians who want to continue combining clinical work with scientific research. With this fellowship, a clinician can make a start with setting up an own line of research. The programme is aimed at clinicians who are more or less at the beginning of their scientific career.

More information

news-7361 Thu, 10 Jun 2021 14:35:00 +0200 Team science for groundbreaking fundamental research receives boost of 12.5 million euros https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/team-science-for-groundbreaking-fundamental-research-receives-boost-of-125-million-euros/ Sixteen research teams will set up innovative collaborations that contribute to innovation in science and healthcare for the longer term. Each team has received a maximum of 750,000 euros from the programme ZonMw Open Competition. The research groups will investigate, for example, the genetic factors of heart muscle diseases, better treatment of damage to the retina and the development of antibiotics against tuberculosis. With a view to team science, the programme ZonMw Open Competition is specifically aimed at innovative and groundbreaking combinations of two or more research groups. The projects and the teams are assessed against criteria such as creativity, groundbreaking research of high quality, and the utilisation of knowledge via transmission and implementation through, among other approaches, the participation of stakeholders in the broadest sense of the word. The composition of the teams and the synergy between the different research partners was another important element in the assessment. ZonMw is increasingly using the narrative CV in funding rounds, and it was now used for the first time to assess research teams. In a manner appropriate to the research question and design of the research project, researchers and research groups are assessed for research, education, and a good balance between individual talent and team science, scientific leadership, and contributions to Open Science. This form of assessment is part of the new Recognition and Rewarding.

Besides budget for personnel and material costs, funding could also be requested for knowledge utilisation, internationalisation and research infrastructure. Three research groups received an extra investment module of at most 250,000 euros for medium-sized infrastructure.

These are the sixteen research teams who will set to work with innovative collaboration and groundbreaking research (in order of application number):

Linking mTOR to deregulated GABA signaling in developmental epilepsy
Prof. E.M.A. (Eleonora) Aronica – Amsterdam UMC-AMC
Dr D. (Dirk) Schubert – Radboudumc

Epilepsy is a common neurological disease, affecting approximately 180,000 people in the Netherlands. Treating childhood-onset genetic epilepsies is challenging. This project brings together researchers with expertise in epilepsy, neuropathology and neurophysiology to elucidate the mechanisms underlying altered neuronal network function in epilepsy, using human brain tissue and human cell models.

New energy for genetic cardiomyopathy
Prof. ir J.P.W.M. (Jeroen) Bakkers – Hubrecht Institute
Prof. F.W. (Folkert) Asselbergs and dr M. (Magdalena) Harakalova – University Medical Center Utrecht
Dr F.M. (Frédéric) Vaz – Amsterdam UMC

Cardiomyopathies are life threatening diseases that can be caused by genetic factors such as the PLN mutation. In this project it will be investigated how the PLN mutation affects the energy metabolism of the heart by using novel disease models. The results will help to develop new treatment strategies.

Disturbed protein complexes on cancer cells leads to reduced therapy response
Prof. A.B. (Annemiek) van Spriel – Radboudumc
Prof. P. (Piet) Gros – Utrecht University

Protein complexes on the cancer cell surface can facilitate growth. The researchers are investigating the structure and organisation of protein complexes on the cancer cell surface. This research may provide prospects to make cancer cells more sensitive to immunotherapies.

Ready for the new T: resident cells for tumorimmunity
Prof. T. (Thorbald) van Hall – Leiden University Medical Center
Dr K.P.J.M. (Klaas) van Gisbergen – Amsterdam UMC

Cancers consist of more than just derailed cells but are intermingled with normal cells of the body, including those of the immune system. Immunotherapy activates such immune cell and thereby control tumor growth. We here will investigate the role of a new lineage of cells: tissue-resident memory T cells.

Navigating uncertainty in gender incongruence and differences in sex development (DSD)
Dr C.M. (Chris) Verhaak and dr A.J.M. (Anke) Oerlemans – Radboudumc
Dr W.J.P. (Wyke) Stommel – Radboud University
Dr M.A. (Marij) Hillen – Amsterdam UMC-AMC
Dr A.L.C. (Annelou) de Vries – Amsterdam UMC-VUmc

Transgender and intersex children, their parents, and healthcare providers face substantial uncertainty. This covers medical, psychological, ethical and communicative aspects regarding treatment decisions and longterm development of the conditions. This project aims to understand uncertainty and support children, parents and healthcare professionals in recognizing, discussing and coping with uncertainty.

Cornea regeneration instructed by molecular cell identity characterization
Dr H. (Jo Huiqing) Zhou – Radboud University
Dr M. (Mor) Dickman and dr V.L.S. (Vanessa) LaPointe – Maastricht University

The current treatment for cornea damage depends on stem cells in the patient's own healthy eye. No
treatment is available for patients with two injured eyes. Scientists will develop a novel regenerative
technology to convert patient's skin and mouth cells into cornea stem cells to restore vision.

Peeping through the cell wall of the tubercle bacillus
Prof. W. (Wilbert) Bitter – Amsterdam UMC-VUmc
Prof. Dr D.J. (Dirk) Slotboom – University of  Groningen

The tubercle bacillus is remarkably resistant to antibiotics due to its fortified cell wall. Now, we will unravel how this cell wall works in keeping up defenses while allowing transport of essential nutrients. We will use this knowledge to device new antibiotics.    

In search for the origin of our autonomic nervous system
Prof. A. (Andries) Kalsbeek – Amsterdam UMC
Prof. O.C. (Onno) Meijer – Leiden University Medical Center
Dr C.X. (Chun-Xia) Yi – Amsterdam UMC
Dr A. (Ahmed) Mahfouz – Leiden University Medical Center
Prof. E. (Eric) Fliers – Amsterdam UMC

The hypothalamus is a small brain area that controls all of our physiology via hormones and autonomic nervous system. Its neuro-endocrine neurons have been well-characterized since a long time. With the newest microscopes and molecular techniques researchers will now trace and characterize the neurons that control our autonomic nervous system.

Family matters: genes and behavior as the biological basis for a long and healthy life
Prof. P.E. (Eline) Slagboom – Leiden University Medical Center
Prof. D.I. (Dorret) Boomsma – Free University Amsterdam
Prof. W.M.M. (Monique) Verschuren – RIVM
Dr M. (Marian) Beekman – Leiden University Medical Center

The life expectancy raises globally but the increase in healthy lifespan is lagging behind. Longevity families traced in Dutch databases often display disease-free survival into exceptional ages. In this project, we will disentangle the social, behavioral and genetic mechanisms that protect against age-related disease and promote a healthy life span.

Targeting the Mesenchymal Cancer Cell Phenotype for Therapeutic Gain
Prof. ir. P. (Peter) ten Dijke – Leiden University Medical Center
Dr P.E. (Pouyan) Boukany – TU Delft
Prof. J.W.M. (John) Martens and prof. S. (Stefan) Sleijfer – Erasmus MC Cancer Institute

Most cancer patients die from malignant metastases, or because the patients have become insensitive to chemotherapy. In this project, we aim to identify and repurpose existing drugs to selectively change the behaviour of aggressive cancer cells into non-invasive and therapy sensitive cancer cells or benign fat cells.

Out in the cold!
Prof. P. (Patrick) Schrauwen – Maastricht University
Dr E. (Eric) Kalkhoven – UMC Utrecht
Dr J. (Joris) Hoeks – Maastricht University
Prof. S. (Sander) Kersten – Wageningen University and  Research Center

In type 2 diabetes, tissues such as skeletal muscle take up less glucose, leading to elevated glucose levels in the blood. This research explores if cold-induced shivering, a type of muscle contraction that heavily relies on glucose for fuel, can stimulate glucose uptake and improve glucose control in diabetes patients.

Dynamic symptoms networks - a novel paradigm to improve diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of multimorbidity
Prof. M.G.M. (Marcel) Olde Rikkert and Dr G.M.E.E. (Geeske) Peeters – Radboudumc
Prof. T.M. (Thomas) Gill – Yale School of Medicine
Prof. C.L.H. (Claudi) Bockting and dr R. (Rick) Quax – University of Amsterdam

The researchers aim to develop a novel theory to improve diagnosis and treatment of older people with complex health problems. Symptoms of diseases overlap and influence each other. The insights gained through this theory can inform doctors about the optimal strategy to treat patients with multiple concurrent diseases.

Recovery of the cell's energy factories for tissue repair in COPD: muscles to the rescue
Prof. I.H. (Irene) Heijink – UMC Groningen
Dr R.C.J. (Ramon) Langen and dr H.R. (Harry) Gosker – Maastricht University
Prof. E.M.J. (Sabeth) Verpoorte – University of Groningen

COPD is a severe disease characterized by lung and often also muscle damage. We will investigate a
novel concept where aberrant interaction between lung and muscle leads to defects in the cell’s energy factories and impaired tissue repair. By restoring these defects, we aim to improve lung and muscle function.

Autism exposed
Dr R.A. (Raymond) Poot – Erasmus MC
Prof. B. (Bas) Van Steensel – Nederlands Kanker Instituut
Dr H.H.H. (Hieab) Adams – Erasmus MC

The risk to develop a mental disorder such as autism or schizophrenia is determined by your DNA. The researchers apply a new method towards reading in the DNA whether somebody is susceptible and to better understand what goes wrong in the brain development of patients.

Beta cell stress and the exocrine pancreas: A cause/ consequence relationship?
Dr B.N.G.G. (Ben) Giepmans – UMC Groningen
Dr E.C.M.C. (Elizabeth) Carroll – TU Delft
Dr A. (Arnaud) Zaldumbide – Leiden University Medical Center

Evidence that the complete pancreas is affected in Type 1 diabetes is emerging. In zebrafish larvae the scientist microscopically study a cause-consequence relationship to understand whether the insulinproducing cells will be stressed by their neighbors involved in food processing, which may be a long-sought trigger for Type 1 diabetes.

The bicarbonate umbrella – a multiorgan protective mechanism in humans.
Prof. U.H.W. (Ulrich) Beuers – Amsterdam UMC
Prof. A.J. (Ton) Rabelink – Leiden University Medical Center

Patients with cholestatic and genetic liver diseases suffer from consequences of worsening liver function, but also liver-independent complaints. We identified bicarbonate secretion as protective mechanism for liver and bile ducts. We aim to characterize and manipulate the 'bicarbonate umbrella' in liver, bile ducts and other organs in a multidisciplinary approach.

More information

news-7243 Thu, 06 May 2021 14:57:54 +0200 Videocall app 123familie.nl winner of JAIN challenge 2021 https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/videocall-app-123familienl-winner-of-jain-challenge-2021/ An app that allows you to make video calls super easy, even if someone doesn’t have digital skills or suffers from forgetfulness or dementia. With this solution the 123familie app won the Dutch JAIN challenge on April 28th. This bi-annual challenge called for solutions based on artificial intelligence, which improve the quality of life and independence of people with dementia and their environment. And which could reduce the workload for professionals, relatives and caretakers. Simple recording function

The nominated solutions were assessed by a jury and a focus group of users, consisting mainly of informal caretakers. The 123familie.nl app, which stems from the Active & Assisted Living-project Kith&Kin, was praised by the jury of the JAIN Challenge for its user-friendliness. Especially the automatic pick-up function was appreciated for people in further stages of dementia. This function ensures that someone with dementia does not have to pick up the phone when it rings; the caller can connect remotely. However this function can also be switched off if it’s not necessary.

Other advantages of the app that where mentioned is that privacy is served by the fact that only family/friends with an entry code can make videocontact. Next to that the app can also be used on several devices, such as smartphones, tablets or a smart tv. So, there is no need to buy a special device.

news-7236 Tue, 04 May 2021 14:07:37 +0200 Special edition Quality in Care (KIZ) journal published and available in English https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/special-edition-quality-in-care-kiz-journal-published-and-available-in-english/ The latest special edition of Quality in Care (KiZ) is all about implementation and offers a preview of the European Implementation Event 2021. Effective interventions do not automatically find their way into healthcare practice. We now know that active, knowledge-based implementation is necessary to realize and accelerate improvement in health care practice. Implementation has become a field in its own right with a growing scientific knowledge base. And more and more professionals have become specialized in implementation.

Sneak preview

A new special issue of the magazine Quality in Care (KiZ) is entirely devoted to implementation. The issue is a sneak preview of the European Implementation Event on May 27 and 28, 2021. The EIE2021 offers a rich and diverse program that features implementation research and practical experiences from multiple countries, sectors, environments and disciplines.

A number of articles from the KIZ special have been translated into English for our international readers.

  • Event organizers Bianca Albers and Pauline Goense explain the importance of the event and highlight several interesting sessions and the new online format.
  • Keynote speakers Professor David Chambers, Professor Jet Bussemaker and Professor Paul Iske discuss the key messages that they will present during the event.
  • The magazine also contains an article about early career implementation professionals and their specific situation and needs. At the event special sessions have been organized for them.

Registration for the event is still open.

For more information, articles and EIE registration:

news-7210 Wed, 28 Apr 2021 14:09:19 +0200 Industry and science will jointly develop animal-free innovations https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/industry-and-science-will-jointly-develop-animal-free-innovations/ Two Dutch research groups and industry will jointly develop animal-free innovations via the ZonMw call Create2Solve. Over the next five years, the projects will focus on a 3D model of human brain cells and a better test method for potentially toxic substances. The projects will contribute to limiting the use of laboratory animals in both industry and science. The selected projects: a better test method for potentially toxic substances

One of the provisionally awarded projects is from Dr Nynke Kramer (Utrecht University, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences), in collaboration with the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and the private partners Vivaltes and Toxys. This project focuses on developing a robust animal-free test method to establish the toxic dose of poorly soluble substances. ‘If the reliability of animal-free test methods is increased, users will gain more confidence in these and use them as an alternative for animal experiments,’ says Kramer.

The project will provide a solution for Challenge 1: the problem that was previously defined by a consortium consisting of Shell, Sabic and LyondellBasell. As a result, the questions have been posed by the end-users. ‘The outcomes of the project are therefore also something that the end-users will genuinely benefit from’, says Kramer. ‘This approach could enable us to realise an animal-free era in toxicology sooner.’ The project will also considerably limit the number of animal experiments by focussing on more than just the science. James Wheeler, Senior Eco-Toxicologist at Shell, says: ‘Bringing together several parties creates an ideal situation for the successful implementation of animal-free innovations in practice, also at the international policy level.’

A 3D model of human brain cells

The second project provisionally awarded funding is from Dr Femke de Vrij (Erasmus MC) in collaboration with the private partner Core Life Analytics. It focuses on developing an animal-free 3D model with human brain cells that will contribute to drug development and research. ‘Especially for complex brain diseases that are difficult to investigate in laboratory animal models, it is vitally important to do research with human material’, says De Vrij.

Therefore, this project will provide a solution for Challenge 2, the problem defined by the consortium consisting of Charles River Laboratories and Danone Nutricia Research. The design of the project is regarded as promising for medical applications. By combining in-depth academic knowledge with the input of the application-oriented industry, models will be created that could be used for the successful development of new drugs. The collaboration with industry opens new doors as well. ‘The scaling up of experiments and large-scale data analysis are now possible, whereas usually, an academic research group does not have the capacity for this’, says de Vrij.


With the call Create2Solve, which is part of the programme “More Knowledge with Fewer Animals”, ZonMw and industry together undertake demand-driven research into animal-free innovations. With this, ZonMw supports the development of animal-free innovations with an impact that aim to provide marketable methods, models and/or services. The funding for Create2Solve has been made available by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV), the Dutch Research Council (NWO) and the Dutch Society for the Replacement of Animal Testing.

In July 2019, phase 0 of Create2Solve was completed. In this phase, two questions, so-called Challenges, from two consortia of companies were articulated in a call for proposals. For these Challenges, knowledge institutions could submit a project proposal in collaboration with a private partner. Three “proof-of-concept” projects were admitted to phase 1 in December 2019. Two of these projects, one per challenge in the current phase 2, have been selected to develop their proposals into an animal-free innovation, together with the private parties involved. Each of the project groups will receive one million euros and will be given a maximum of five years to realise the project.

Summaries of the projects

Project Challenge 1: Better in vitro Dosing (BID): Framework and technology development for improving the quality of in vitro data - Dr Nynke Kramer (Utrecht University, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences)

(Private) partners: Vivaltes, Toxys and RIVM
Challenge holders: Shell, Sabic and LyondellBasell

To reduce animal experiments, in vitro cell systems will be used to establish the toxic dose for a test substance. Generally, the nominal concentration (the amount of substance added divided by the volume of medium) is used to establish concentration-effect relationships. However, in humans and animals, that leads to poor predictions of the toxic dose of volatile, lipophilic and unstable substances because only a small fraction of these substances ends up in the cells. In this project, we will keep the evaporation, breakdown and bonding of these substances to plastic and plasma proteins in vitro under control by using small, closed glass pots and well collection plates that are dosed using a polymer (so-called partition-controlled dosing). We have developed a decision tree that clarifies under which conditions it is recommended to use these techniques.

Project Challenge 2: 3D MICro-brains: An animal-free human 3D cortical network platform for screening myelination and inflammation phenotypes. 3D Myelination & Inflammation Cortical network platform (3D MICro-brains) - Dr Femke de Vrij (Erasmus MC)

Private partner: Core Life Analytics
Challenge holders: Charles River and Danone Nutricia Research

Recent developments in induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology make it possible to implement
cell-type-specific human cell culture models for research and drug development. In this project, researchers will develop a 3D model with human brain cells that can simulate the brain’s complex structure in early development. These micro-brains (3D MICro-brains) will reduce the modelling of the frontal cortex to its essence in a format of, literally, a millionth of the normal brain volume. The platform contains all relevant brain cell types: functional neurons and glia in layered radial structures, including astrocytes, myelin-producing oligodendrocytes and microglia that play a crucial role in inflammatory processes in the brain. Furthermore, this model is entirely animal-free and thus contributes to the transition to animal-free research. Due to its scale and reproducibility, this platform is ideally suited for automated applications in drug development and research, which will be further elaborated with a company that will add automated, high-resolution image processing to this project.

More information:

news-7170 Mon, 19 Apr 2021 14:25:57 +0200 Pearl for data gold mine https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/pearl-for-data-gold-mine/ Which patients with cardiovascular diseases run the risk of a (new) heart attack, heart failure or stroke? What is the optimum personalised treatment? On 15 April, cardiologist Prof. Folkert Asselbergs (University Medical Center Utrecht) received the ZonMw Pearl for a data collection that contributes to answering these questions and for developing a self-management platform. Bridge-builder

The committee that awards the Pearl refers to Asselbergs as a bridge-builder who has contributed to a unique international collaboration. Currently, the genetic and clinical data of about 260,000 people from 64 hospitals have been stored in a standardised manner and made available for research. The international collaboration works with so-called federated data analyses, which leave the data in the original hospital. The analysis program visits all local data collections, so to speak, and only reports the conclusions. In this way, patients’ privacy can be guaranteed, and international collaboration becomes easier from a legal perspective too. That is because the patients’ personal data do not leave the hospital.

Initial results

It was found that not all genetic risk factors for the development of cardiovascular diseases contribute to an increased risk of recurring problems. A better understanding was also gained of individual differences in response to drugs and other treatments, as a result of which treatments can become increasingly personalised.



news-7109 Fri, 02 Apr 2021 10:29:33 +0200 Start research into the optimal use of COVID-19 vaccines for patients with immune system disorders https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/start-research-into-the-optimal-use-of-covid-19-vaccines-for-patients-with-immune-system-disorders/ Research groups will further investigate the effect of COVID-19 vaccines in patients with immune disorders, cancer or a transplantation. These research projects are part of the COVID-19 research programme, and each project has received a grant from ZonMw.
On behalf of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and in collaboration with the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), ZonMw is focusing in these studies on optimising the effect of COVID-19 vaccination in groups of patients who have an immune system disorder. This includes patients with malignancies, immune disorders and other patient populations not identified in previous studies.

The research to be funded supplements RIVM’s research in the context of monitoring and evaluating national vaccination programmes and also the research carried out by the vaccine manufacturers. The patients will be vaccinated as part of the government’s vaccination strategy against COVID-19. The new research projects will provide knowledge for patients and those treating them, and it will support an optimum use of vaccines in these groups.

Patients with an immune system disorder

The vaccines currently available are mainly, but not limited to, vaccines tested by the manufacturers on relatively healthy adults. Specific risk groups, such as people with certain diseases, obesity, Down’s syndrome, pregnant women and certain age categories (dependent on the maximum age of the people selected for the vaccine study) are only partly included in these studies. The registration authorities have approved the vaccines for these target groups as well. However, additional research into these groups is still needed to provide us with more insights into the immune response to vaccine antigens in patients with a less well-functioning immune system. Such a less well-functioning immune system could be due to birth defect or it could be caused by a transplantation or immune-modulating treatments (chemotherapy, immunotherapy).

Studies will initially focus on patients with autoimmune diseases who are treated with immunosuppressive drugs, patients with primary immune deficiencies or immune disorders, cancer patients (solid tumours) who are treated with chemotherapy and/or immunotherapy, patients with a kidney transplant and dialysis patients, lung transplant patients and people with Down’s syndrome. The RIVM will investigate the immune response in the general population, including the elderly.

Prepared for new pandemics

Within the ZonMw and RIVM projects, standardised protocols and measurement methods are used that have been internationally agreed upon. This means that overarching research across the different vaccines and populations is possible. The knowledge developed through national and international collaboration and analysis will ensure that we are better prepared for the use of vaccines in any possible new pandemics.

More information

•    Read more about research into the coronavirus and COVID-19

news-7074 Tue, 23 Mar 2021 16:00:00 +0100 Dutch minister adopts recommendations from ME/CFS research agenda and commissions research programme https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/dutch-minister-adopts-recommendations-from-mecfs-research-agenda-and-commissions-research-programme/ The Dutch Minister of Medical Care and Sport, Tamara van Ark, intends to ask ZonMw to carry out a biomedical research programme on ME/CFS. This was stated in a letter to the Dutch House of Representatives sent by Van Ark on the 23rd of March. There will be 28.5 million euros available to carry out a research programme with a duration of 10 years. In doing so, the Minister has adopted the most important recommendations from the ZonMw ME/CFS research agenda. This agenda was presented to the Minister of Medical Care and Sport (VWS) on the 23rd of December 2020. The research agenda was drawn up by a steering committee composed of representatives of patient organizations, practitioners and scientists from different fields of science. ZonMw facilitated the steering committee and used its knowledge, experience and network to steer the process in the right direction.

Enabling scientific breakthroughs

Jeroen Geurts, chairman of ZonMw, is pleased with the intended commission to ZonMw. ‘ME/CFS is a serious chronic illness for which there is no effective treatment. More biomedical research makes scientific breakthroughs possible that improve the lives of patients with ME/CFS. The ME/CFS research agenda was the first step in that process; I am pleased that we can take the necessary follow-up steps with this new programme.’

In drawing up the research agenda, cooperation between patients, therapists and scientists played an important role. This cooperation will be continued in the new programme, according to Geurts. ‘There are many different opinions about the causes and treatment of ME/CFS. In addition, only a small group of scientists in the Netherlands conducts research into the illness. Many therapists know little or nothing about the disease. Only by working together intensively can differences of opinion be bridged, so we can we really change the lives of patients.’

‘This cooperation is not limited to our national borders. By cooperating internationally, we can set up larger-scale research, share data and combine research resources. In this way, breakthroughs will come within reach more quickly.’

Next steps

Once we receive an official assignment from the Dutch government, ZonMw will begin preparations for a biomedical research programme on ME/CFS. The first scientific studies should start in early 2022. Topics that will be addressed in the preparatory phase include the participation of patientorganisations, the composition of the programme committee, the start-up of a patient cohort and the collaboration with foreign scientists.

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news-7064 Thu, 18 Mar 2021 16:58:45 +0100 Changing the game: on the assessment of researchers and their research https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/changing-the-game-on-the-assessment-of-researchers-and-their-research/ Today a consultation meeting of research performing organisations took place. The European Committee Research & Innovation organised this meeting. Several European research funders focused on the assessment of researchers and research teams. Jeroen Geurts, chair of ZonMw and ambassador for the Dutch initiative Recognition and Rewards, was there to represent the Dutch perspective. Jeroen Geurts started his contribution to the round table discussion with a short statement in which he highlighted the position paper Room for everyone’s talent: towards a new balance in the recognition and rewards for academics and gave some examples of activities to assess researchers not only on their research but also on education, a balance between individual and team science, leadership and clinical research. Examples were among other things the introduction of a narrative CV in the funding scheme ‘Talent programme’ of NWO and ZonMw, a national report about professionalising data stewardship by setting out guidelines for competences, training and education, and to make Open Science (open access and FAIR data) a standard item to be addressed in calls and application forms.

Jeroen Geurts: "Reasons for success in the Dutch Rewards & Recognition process were the early build of a strong coalition of RPOs and funders and a subsequent bottom-up process that enabled thorough, local implementation of the changes proposed. This way, we could change not only the rules, but the entire game."

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news-7082 Mon, 08 Mar 2021 14:57:00 +0100 Professionalising data stewardship with competences, training and education https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/professionalising-data-stewardship-with-competences-training-and-education-1/ As part of the National Programme Open Science (NPOS), the 'Professionalising data stewardship in the Netherlands' report was recently published. This report provides arguments for urgent decisions and activities to ensure adequate data steward capacity in the Netherlands, in order to realise the ambitions for Open Science. How are Open Science and FAIR data connected?

The Dutch National Programme Open Science (NPOS) has defined 3 key areas:

  • Open Access: making all research output (articles etc.) accessible for everyone without costs
  • FAIR data: making all research data FAIR: Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable
  • citizen science: promoting the involvement of citizens in science programmes

Within the key area of ‘FAIR data’ the current report focuses on the people who can help to turn FAIR data into reality - namely data stewards.

What is a data steward?

Data stewardship is a catch-all term for numerous support functions, roles and activities with respect to creating, maintaining and using research data. The core responsibilities and tasks vary from policy advising and consultancy, to operational, and technical, ICT-related tasks. Unfortunately, a data steward is not yet uniformly defined as most descriptions originate from the fast evolving landscape of Open Science, research data management and FAIR data, and thus share its newness and fuzziness.

In this report data stewardship is defined as 'the responsible planning and executing of all actions on digital data before, during and after a research project, with the aim of optimising the usability, reusability and reproducibility of the resulting data' (definition put forward by DTL).

Why do we need more data stewards?

In the past years it has become clear that there is a large need for and shortage of individuals with data stewardship expertise. Furthermore, a lack of formal education and training, a lack of awareness and recognition amongst researchers and the absence of a coordinated approach all hamper the professionalisation and expansion of this profession.

How many data stewards do we need where in the organisation and with what competences?

Each research-performing institute should ask these questions. This report helps to build the foundation to answer them. It provides an overview of the current situation of data stewardship in the Netherlands. It gives specific recommendations to multiple stakeholders, so that they can move forward with advancing FAIR data stewardship in their organisation. Furthermore, it draws attention to the urgent need for nationally coordinated implementation.

What next steps can organisations take?

In the report it is recommended that:

  • the defined data stewardship and research software engineer competences will be consolidated and implemented
  • the corresponding job profiles should be formalised via national job classification systems
  • tailored training programmes matching the required competences should be defined, developed and delivered
  • a data steward skills tool should be built, which then serves as a single point of reference for up-to-date information on competences, job profiles, and training opportunities, and allows for (self-)assessment and identification of career development options

The recommendations in the report are specifically tailored to the following stakeholders in the Netherlands:

  • local research organisations, such as universities, university medical centres, universities of applied sciences, and their board members, deans and HR managers
  • umbrella organisations, such as VSNU, NFU and VH and similar representative organisations
  • research-funding organisations, such as ZonMw and NWO
  • representatives of the researcher communities, such as PNN, the networking organisation for PhD candidates, and the local Open Science communities
  • service-providing, networking and training organisations, such as DTL, SURF, LCRDM, Health-RI, and RDNL

Over 30 representatives from numerous organisations participated and endorse the report

The NPOS-F project team consisted of over 30 representatives of multiple Dutch universities, university medical centres, universities of applied sciences and service providers. In addition, major stakeholders speaking for diverse organisations such as VSNU, VH, NFU, PNN, SURF and ZonMw were involved in this project. Thanks to active involvement of these partners and the practical applicability of the recommendations, the team is convinced that the necessary decisions and activities to ensure adequate data steward capacity in the Netherlands will be implemented in the near future.

NPOS, ZonMw, Open Science and FAIR data

This end report of the NPOS-F project team ‘Professionalising data stewardship’ is part of the NPOS FAIR data programme line. Authors of the report are representatives of DTL (Dutch Techcentre for Lifesciences), DANS (Data Archiving and Networked Services), Maastricht University, GO FAIR Foundation, ZonMw and LCRDM (National Coordination Point Research Data Management).

ZonMw aims at improving the scientific and social impact of research output, including research data. To gain impact from research data, one must be able to reuse them for verification of research findings, or for future research. To this end, ZonMw requires researchers to perform research data management and stewardship (RDM), and to share their data to contribute to future, innovative research. ZonMw’s procedures for RDM aim at creating data that are findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR), and high quality research projects.

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news-7008 Mon, 08 Mar 2021 12:06:45 +0100 Register now for 6th JPI HDHL conference on April 20 and 21 https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/register-now-for-6th-jpi-hdhl-conference-on-april-20-and-21/ The 6th international conference of the Joint Programming Initiative ‘A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life’ will take place digitally on April 20 and 21, 2021. In 2020 we reached a milestone: 10 years of JPI HDHL. This conference offers the perfect opportunity to discuss with our stakeholders how we can build on our experiences and achievements. While there are many lessons to be learned and shared, one of the main recurring issues is how nutrition often falls in the gap between the themes of health and food.  JPI HDHL stands for the need to bridge that gap, to ensure that nutrition research and policy receives the attention it deserves. This is part of the urgent, broader call for a food systems approach. Therefore, we will explore during our conference how a systemic approach can be implemented to create more impact; what does this mean for scientists? What does it mean at a policy level? And how can we better connect the two? Through topical keynotes, a panel, workshops and informal discussions we will cover these and other questions relevant to the future of food, nutrition and health research.

Programme in a nutshell

This year we are organizing a 2-day conference on the morning of April 20th and the afternoon of April 21st in a digital conference environment.

April 20, 10.00-13.30
We will kick-off our conference with Dr. Sébastien Treyer (Executive Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations) who will speak on connecting research to policy and the needs of society. Why is this important and how can it be strengthened? We will continue this topic with and interactive audience and panel discussion. The first day will conclude with several inspiration sessions; short talks about exciting developments relevant to the area of food, diet and nutrition.

April 21, 14.00-17.00
On the second day our keynote speaker is Professor of human nutrition John Mathers (Newcastle University, JPI HDHL scientific advisory board vice-chair). In his talk he will address the development of nutritional research in light of 10 years of JPI HDHL. He will reflect on the contributions of the JPI HDHL to the research field and the key issues for the future. The keynote will be followed by (interactive) workshops on a wide array of topics, including the intersection of physical activity and nutrition research and how to improve international collaboration.

Register now!

We look forward to welcoming you, because only through joint efforts can we move closer to achieving the aim of JPI HDHL in the next 10 years: the prevention of diet-related disease, for healthy people on a healthy planet. You can already register for one or for both days. After registering, you will be invited to choose your inspiration sessions and workshop in the upcoming weeks.  

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news-6980 Mon, 01 Mar 2021 08:48:58 +0100 6 scientists to receive NWO Vici grants for medical research and care innovation (ZonMw) https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/6-scientists-to-receive-nwo-vici-grants-for-medical-research-and-care-innovation-zonmw/ 6 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 in the field of medical research and care innovation and set up their own research group in the coming five years. Hack NWO

As a consequence of the hack of NWO, ZonMw and NWO can at this moment only announce the laureates who applied at ZonMw. It is not yet possible to say when the applicants who applied at NWO, will be informed about their Vici proposal.


Vici is one of the largest scientific grants for individuals in the Netherlands and targets advanced researchers. The Vici laureates will examine among other topics the role of ethnic descent on the risk of lifelong diabetes, spontaneous and inherited mutations in genes and new approaches to characterize how our immune system changes upon infection and how these changes drive virus evolution.


Of the 44 proposals applied at ZonMw, 15 (35%) were submitted by women and 29 (66%) by men. Overall, 1 female candidate and 5 male candidates were awarded a grant. The total award rate is 14 per cent.

Talent Scheme: about Vici

The Vici grant targets highly experienced researchers who have successfully demonstrated the ability to develop their own innovative lines of research, and to act as coaches for young researchers. Vici provides researchers with the opportunity to set up their own research group, often in anticipation of a tenured professorship.

The Vici grant is one of three funding instruments within the Talent Scheme. The other two instruments are the Veni grant (for recently graduated PhDs, up to 3 years after graduation) and the Vidi grant (for experienced postdocs, up to 8 years after graduation).

The Vici is part of the NWO Talent Programme. ZonMw is realising this round for the domain of medical research and healthcare innovation.

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news-6971 Fri, 26 Feb 2021 12:26:24 +0100 ZonMw will announce Vici laureates medical research and health innovation next week https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/zonmw-will-announce-vici-laureates-medical-research-and-health-innovation-next-week/ In the week of 1 March, ZonMw will announce which researchers who submitted a proposal in the domain medical research and health innovation will receive a Vici grant. That is possible because these applicants submitted their proposals to ZonMw and, as a result, the decision-making about their proposals is not affected by the hack of the NWO systems. Therefore, ZonMw can complete the decision-making process for its part of the Vici 2020 round. ZonMw will first inform the applicants about its decision and then publish the news about the laureates on its website. The awarding of Vici grants by NWO for the other domains (Applied and Engineering Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities, and Science) are currently delayed. The decision-making for these applications will be resumed once the NWO processes can be restarted. NWO is currently doing all it can to fix the problem as quickly as possible. It is not yet known how long this situation will continue. As soon as there is more clarity about the exact consequences of the situation for the funding programmes, this will be announced on nwo.nl.

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news-6897 Mon, 08 Feb 2021 10:28:00 +0100 Fellowships Gender in Research course https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/fellowships-gender-in-research-course/ After a successful first edition in 2019, ZonMw and ErasmusMC will again offer an interesting online joint course program on gender, health and research. The ZonMw Gender and Health Knowledge Program offers 20 Gender in Research Fellowships for early career researchers to participate in the course program. A Gender in Research Fellowship offers exclusive access to the full online course program. The course program is a two-part program: a ZonMw Gender in Research workshop in May and June and a Gender and Health course in late August organized by ErasmusMC as part of the well-renowned Erasmus Summer Programme. Exact dates will follow as soon as possible.

Throughout the course program, (inter)national experts and guest speakers from a multitude of disciplines will share their knowledge and research expertise with the next generation of researchers from all over the world. Over 5 sessions of 3.5 hours each, the ZonMw workshop will provide early-career researchers with new skills on how to include sex and gender considerations in all phases of the research cycle. The ESP Gender and Health course will offer participants the latest knowledge on critical health issues for women and men through the life cycle.

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 program. International early-career researchers are also very welcome to apply. Interested? Read more about the fellowship on our Funding Information page and submit your application before 18 March 2021, 14:00hr (CET).

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news-6872 Thu, 04 Feb 2021 10:15:23 +0100 ZonMw Open Competition: new funding round opens mid-June https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/zonmw-open-competition-new-funding-round-opens-mid-june/ In mid-June 2021, innovative teams of researchers can once again submit project ideas for the ZonMw Open Competition. With the current pandemic situation, everybody is under a lot of pressure. Therefore, instead of 2 months, we will give applicants 4 months of preparation time to submit their project idea once the funding round has opened. The deadline for submissions is mid-October 2021. ZonMw Open Competition is specifically aimed at enabling excellent research teams to realise innovations in their research lines with regard to both content and collaboration. The objective is to create room for team science that leads to synergetic, groundbreaking research of exceptional quality in and around fundamental research into healthcare and health innovation.

The ZonMw Open Competition is part of the NWO funding line Curiosity-Driven Research. ZonMw is realising this round for the domain of medical research and healthcare innovation.

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news-6825 Fri, 22 Jan 2021 18:05:29 +0100 Awarded projects JPIAMR Network Plus Call https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/awarded-projects-jpiamr-network-plus-call/ The intent of the call is to support networks to design and implement ways to support antimicrobial resistance (AMR) research considering at least one of the six strategic areas of the JPIAMR Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA): Therapeutics, Diagnostics, Surveillance, Transmission, Environment and Interventions. Seven networks including 146 partners from 35 countries have been recommended for funding. The total funding amount is approximately € 737.000. Two networks with Dutch coordinators have been awarded a grant by ZonMw. Both networks will start early 2021, with a duration of 2 years. All consortia are composed of at least 6 partners from 6 different countries.

Within this call, eligible costs include costs associated with international network building and collaboration. Examples are joint seminars, courses, workshops, joint conferences, and joint publications or other joint information dissemination.

JPIAMR-network for Integrating Microbial Sequencing and Platforms for Antimicrobial Resistance (Seq4AMR)

The potential utilisation of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) in combatting antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is being constantly refined, aided by the development of novel sequencing technologies, new protocols, algorithms and AMR databanks. In this respect, the Seq4AMR network will generate new synergies, identify AMR NGS gaps and solutions in applications and quality standards, develop and promote new teaching materials and publish an international Strategic Roadmap on NGS and AMR. To achieve this goal, Seq4AMR partners include interdisciplinary, One Health, international experts in the fields of antimicrobial resistance, software development, (open access) bioinformatics platforms, the applications of microbial genomics, DNA sequencing technologies, and microbial DNA databanks.


This project has two coordinators (shared), from the Netherlands and Sweden. The Dutch coordinator is John Hays (Erasmus MC). The network consists of 13 partners from 9 different countries.

  • The Netherlands: Erasmus University Medical Centre Rotterdam, Leiden Centre for Applied Bioscience and Leiden University Hospital
  • China: East China Normal Hospital
  • USA: Orion Integrated Biosciences Inc, SME
  • France: BioMérieux, large industry
  • Sweden: Chalmers University of Technology (CUOT) / University of Gothenburg
  • UK: Cambridge University and London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • Canada: McMaster University
  • Switzerland: Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics and SmartGene GmbH, SME
  • Austria: Ares Genetics GmbH, SME

JPIAMR Network T&CM alternatives for antibiotics worldwide: Global Initiative for Traditional Solutions to Antimicrobial Resistance (GIFTS-AMR)

Traditional and Complementary Medicine (T&CM) is often used in both animal and human healthcare and may contribute to reducing inappropriate antibiotic use or as alternative prevention or treatment.

The aims of the network are:

  1. To develop a global GIFTS-AMR network: to map and connect the research fields, research institutes, researchers and infrastructures in human and animal medicine involved in research on “Traditional Solutions to Antimicrobial Resistance” worldwide;
  2. To discuss and formulate a research agenda for at least one to three prioritised indications both in human and veterinary healthcare;
  3. Collaborate in funding applications.


This network has a Dutch coordinator, Erik Baars (Louis Bolk Instituut). The network consists of 23 partners from 17 different countries.

  • The Netherlands: Louis Bolk Institute and University of Applied Sciences Leiden
  • Austria: Private Medical University, Sigmund Freud University, Vienna and WissHOM
  • Belgium: Eurocam
  • Bulgaria: Medical University of Varna
  • China: Centre for Evidence-Based Chinese Medicine, Beijing University of Chinese Medicin
  • Germany: University of Witten-Herdecke, University Medical Centre Freiburg and Sustainable Business Institute
  • Ghana: University of Ghana School of Pharmacy
  • Hungary: University of Pécs
  • India: The University of Trans-Disciplinary Health Sciences & Technology (B. Prakash)
  • Italy: Coordination Center for Complementary Medicine of the Health Unit Tuscany North West and Foundation for Salutogenesis
  • Mali: University of Sciences, Techniques and Bamako Technologies (USTTB) Faculty of Pharmacy
  • Nigeria: National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research & Development
  • Norway: Norwegian Centre for Organic Agriculture
  • Spain: IAVH
  • Turkey: Uludag University
  • Uganda: Makerere University
  • UK: Univ. of Southampton, School of Primary Care, Population Sciences and Medical Education and Organic research centre

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  • Read more about this JPIAMR call on the JPIAMR website
news-6808 Tue, 19 Jan 2021 11:30:00 +0100 Access for researchers to worldwide open access publishing platform https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/access-for-researchers-to-worldwide-open-access-publishing-platform/ On 1 April 2021, NWO and ZonMw will become members of Europe PMC (PubMed Central), an open science platform that maintains a worldwide collection of scientific articles and other research output. This membership allows NWO and ZonMw funded researchers in the life sciences and medical sciences to globally share their publications via one central location. With this, they will also satisfy the requirements that NWO and ZonMw set for the research projects they fund: making publications openly accessible immediately. Europe PMC is one of the largest open access platforms and is the European mirror version of the American PubMed Central (PMC) that is used throughout the world. For example, Europe PMC contains 6.6 million full articles and 38.1 million abstracts, including those from PubMed and PubMed Central (PMC). Whereas PubMed provides access to abstracts and PMC to full articles, Europe PMC provides online access to a worldwide collection of abstracts, full articles, preprints and patents in the field of medical and life sciences. The membership of Europe PMC helps NWO and ZonMw funded researchers to make the research results openly available, according to the so-called “green route”, and to share these in open access form at a single location thereby making their work even more visible and findable.

The advantages of open access publication via Europe PMC

Europe PMC is more than just a platform. It is also a search engine that provides the richest sets of results in the area of the life sciences and medical sciences. Publications are automatically enriched or linked with information from other sources, such as preprints and information from research funding and project data or, for example, with links to underlying research data. Some publishers will automatically upload articles emerging from research funded by NWO and ZonMw to Europe PMC.
Europe PMC is pleased that NWO and ZonMw will become members of this global platform for open access publishing.

Aiming for 100% open access publishing

In 2019, the research funding agencies NWO and ZonMw endorsed Plan S with the ambition of fully implementing the principles of Plan S with effect from 1 January 2021. Plan S was drawn up by cOAlition S, a collaboration between international research funding agencies whose aim is to accelerate the transition to 100% Open Access. In recent years, NWO and ZonMw committed themselves to realising this. For example, they have both made their funding conditions stricter by stipulating that all scientific publications that emerge from research they fund should be published immediately in open access form. The membership of Europe PMC is the next step in supporting researchers to realise this and comply with the principles of Plan S.

NWO and ZonMw will soon inform researchers and other stakeholders about the way in which the services of Europe PMC can be used.

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Europe PMC:

NWO Open Access policy: 

  • NWO open access publiseren (NL) 
  • NWO open access publishing

ZonMw Open Access policy:

news-6779 Wed, 13 Jan 2021 17:04:00 +0100 New JPIAMR call focused on tackling antibiotic resistance https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/new-jpiamr-call-focused-on-tackling-antibiotic-resistance/ We are pleased to open this joint transnational research call about One Health interventions to prevent or reduce the development and transmission of antibiotic resistance. The call, has financial support from the European Commission, and include some 30 funding organisations from 21 JPIAMR member countries. The total estimated call budget is 24.9 million Euro. Antibiotic resistance, One Health and international collaboration

The call advocates for a One Health approach to 1) understand the impact of interventions on the development and transmission of antibiotic resistance and to 2) design, implement, evaluate, and compare interventions that will have a true impact on preventing or reducing the development and transmission of antibiotic resistance in and between the different One Health settings (human, animal, environment).

This call intends to create and reinforce the collaboration between research partners coming from different countries, including LMICs, and different fields of expertise to promote research on antibiotic resistance.

Proposals will be evaluated in a two-step procedure (pre-proposals/full proposals), and applicants have up to March 16th, 2021, 12:00 CET to submit their pre-proposals on www.jpiamr.eu/interventions-and-transmission-call-2021/.

Webinar [updated]

A live webinar was held on the 28th of January 2021 presenting the call and the partner search tool. Representatives from funders participating in the call answered questions live.

The presentations from the webinar are now published on the JPIAMR YouTube channel

A summary of the Q&A can be found here: Q&A Online Webinar for applicants 28 January 2021

Match-making tool

A match-making tool has been created for applicants, to facilitate networking and the creation of consortia. The tool can be consulted for several purposes:

  • Partner looking for project: As individual researcher or a representative of a lab or research team, searching for a project to join.
  • Project looking for partner: If you want to build a consortium around an existing project and want to find partners for your project ideas.

Find and use the tool here: https://ncn.gov.pl/partners/amr13th/

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news-6778 Mon, 11 Jan 2021 17:16:48 +0100 What do microplastics do in our body? https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/what-do-microplastics-do-in-our-body-2/ On Monday 11 January 2021, the knowledge agenda Microplastics and Health was presented to the State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management, Stientje van Veldhoven. This knowledge agenda describes the most important knowledge gaps and calls for more research. ZonMw, together with other research funding bodies, has made an important first step in the right direction for further solution-focussed research. On behalf of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, ZonMw carried out a foresight study into the need for knowledge about microplastics and health. This has resulted in the knowledge agenda What do micro-plastics do in our body?. This knowledge agenda was produced in collaboration with various relevant parties: researchers, companies, policymakers, NGOs and other stakeholders.
Knowledge agenda’s recommendations

The Netherlands is one of the first countries in the world to have funded research into the health effects of microplastics. This is a good first step, but further research is desperately needed. The knowledge agenda clearly recommends further research. Fundamental research remains important and must also be expanded with research into exposure. The research infrastructure must be safeguarded and collaboration within the research is crucial, with a special focus on implementing the results in practice. Many parties have a considerable need for this knowledge, such as parties that produce and process plastics and are striving to achieve a circular economy, but also organisations responsible for water, air and food quality.


The key message from the knowledge agenda is the need for more research. ZonMw, TNO and Health~Holland, together with various knowledge institutions and industrial partners, are taking a first step in this direction. They are jointly providing 5.4 million euros in funding for the MOMENTUM consortium. The aim of this consortium is to determine the effects of micro- and nanoplastic particles (MNPs) on human health and ultimately to prevent this. First of all, methods will be developed to analyse and measure MNPs in the human body. Next, research will be conducted into where in the human body these plastic particles might be absorbed. This can occur via the airways and the gastrointestinal tract and it remains to be seen whether these plastic particles could end up in the brain or in an unborn child. Finally, the potential effects of MNPs on our immune system will also be investigated.

The MOMENTUM consortium builds upon the work of 15 breakthrough projects that started in the spring of 2019 within the ZonMw research programme Microplastics & Health. These projects focussed on the same subjects. ‘We know very little about whether MNPs are actually absorbed by the body’, says Juliette Legler (Utrecht University), Professor of Toxicology and project leader of MOMENTUM. ‘There are initial indications for this but we will now investigate it using far more samples from human blood and various tissues. That will help us to gain a better understanding of exposure in humans and to determine how serious this exposure is. In addition, we want to record the effects of MNPs. If we know what is actually absorbed in the body and what the effects of this are, then together with industry we can search for solutions to prevent exposure.’ Toxicologist Dick Vethaak (Deltares), also project leader of MOMENTUM, agrees with this: ‘It is a very complex and long-term study. However, we are making good progress in the Netherlands and we expect to make a considerable step forwards in the coming years. We will also search for potential new dangers of plastic particles. The first ZonMw projects revealed that certain bacteria and viruses thrive on plastic and can therefore enter the body via MNPs. Now we will further investigate what effect that might have on our health.’

In MOMENTUM, researchers from universities, university hospitals and research organisations will work together with companies and important stakeholders. Through scientific knowledge,
MOMENTUM will make an important contribution to solving the societal problem of MNPs in our living environment. Therefore, according to Legler, MOMENTUM’s impact will extend beyond the current project duration of three years; ‘The project is a next step towards an investment in the national infrastructure for microplastics, in which all parties jointly seek solutions instead of working independently from one another.’
More research needed

This consortium is just a first small step in the right direction for continued further research. The presentation of the knowledge agenda is simultaneously a call to the parties involved to invest in research. Within ZonMw, there are several initiatives that focus on a healthy living environment and how, through healthy behaviour, this can contribute to people’s overall health. The topic of microplastics therefore falls within these initiatives. More research is needed to make a difference and in this, collaboration plays a crucial role.

Further information about microplastics research within ZonMw and the digital edition of the knowledge agenda can be found at www.zonmw.nl/microplastics-onderzoek

Questions from the press

For questions from the press, please contact ZonMw spokesperson Cassandra Appelman (appelman@zonmw.nl, +31 6 8312 4710).

Microplastics & Health projects

Begin 2019 ZonMw started projects about microplastics and the effects on our health. Read about the most important results of these researches. Microplastics project results

Bekijk deze pagina in het Nederlands

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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