ZonMw tijdlijn Translational research https://www.zonmw.nl/ Het laatste nieuws van de tijdlijn van Translational research en-gb Fri, 31 Mar 2023 11:58:13 +0200 Fri, 31 Mar 2023 11:58:13 +0200 TYPO3 news-9540 Thu, 30 Mar 2023 17:00:00 +0200 ZonMw 'Parel' award for better HIV treatment in South Africa https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/zonmw-parel-award-for-better-hiv-treatment-in-south-africa/ On Thursday 30 March, Dr Anne Wensing, virologist at Utrecht University Medical Center, received the ZonMw Parel Award from ZonMw director Véronique Timmerhuis for the ITREMA project. This successful cooperation project between the Netherlands and South Africa has led to improvements in HIV-treatment in South Africa, including in rural areas. Of the 7.7 million people with HIV in South Africa, 5.5 million receive antiretroviral therapy (ART). The treatment is effective in a large majority of patients, thanks to a system of local coaches who encourage patients to take their medicines. But treatment may fail, causing the viral load to rise again. This may indicate the virus has become resistant, but it can also mean that the patient is not taking the medication as prescribed. Demonstrating resistance is expensive. The ITREMA study investigated whether an inexpensive medicine test could help improve care in rural South Africa.

Medication test

ITREMA was conducted at a health centre in Limpopo province, where people living with HIV regularly come for check-ups. At each check-up, blood is drawn to determine the viral load. If it is too high, a medicine test is done. If it turns out that the problem is caused by poor medication adherence, the patient will be given more intensive guidance by the local coach. If the drug test shows that the patient does take the medication properly, a resistance test is done. The patient is then given appropriate medication to regain control of the resistant HIV. The ITREMA study showed that this approach can be implemented well and is effective. An additional study examined blood samples from 100,000 South Africans living with HIV. This showed that it is more effective to aim for the same low viral load as in Western countries. The likelihood of increasing viral load can thus be drastically reduced.


The ITREMA project was one of the fruits of an ongoing intensive collaboration between the Ndlovu Care Group in Limpopo province, the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, UMC Utrecht, Utrecht University and the Radboudumc. ITREMA is funded by ZonMw and NWO-WOTRO and supported by the AIDS Fund and the African HIV Care & Cure (AHC²) Foundation. Additionally ITREMA received the a ZonMw Dissemination and Implementation Impulse (VIMP) and a WOTRO Impact & Innovation Grant (I&IG). Learn more about ITREMA at www.itrema.org. The Ndlovu Care Group was founded by Apeldoorn physician Hugo Tempelman.

The ZonMw Parel (Dutch for 'pearl') is an award presented several times a year to ZonMw projects that may serve as an example and inspiration for the hundreds of projects that receive grants from ZonMw every year. More on the ZonMw Parel Award and ITREMA on:

news-9512 Thu, 16 Mar 2023 08:39:38 +0100 Call for proposals: Fighting infectious disease https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/call-for-proposals-fighting-infectious-disease/ The second call for proposals of the ‘Fighting Infectious Disease 3’ (Infectieziektebestrijding 3) programme opened on 15 March 2023. The aim of the programme and of this call is to promote a scientifically-based approach to fighting infectious disease, and to strengthen the knowledge infrastructure. Ultimately this should contribute towards reducing the disease burden and the number of people (seriously) ill with infectious disease in the Netherlands. The consequences of infectious disease

Infectious diseases form a risk to public health. Pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, moulds and parasites can spread through air, soil, water, other vectors, and wild animals. The unpredictability of epidemic disease remains a threat, and an epidemic can have large-scale adverse consequences for society.

Preventing outbreaks

Investing in research that develops preventative methods and countermeasures, for instance, makes us better prepared for future outbreaks but also makes it possible to prevent them altogether.

The three pillars of this call

Large and small (pilot) projects are equally eligible for this second call for proposals of the Fighting Infectious Disease 3 programme. The call is based on the following three pillars:

  • Emerging infections, outbreak research, preparedness and response;
  • One Health and non-alimentary zoonoses;
  • Multi-morbidity.

Focus areas

There are also five focus areas, namely:

  • Epidemiology, transmission, and fundamental research;
  • Diagnostics, monitoring, and surveillance;
  • Interventions: prevention and treatment;
  • Communications, behaviour, and social relevance;
  • Emerging research methods.

Information on the call for proposals

The proposed research must be in line with one of the three pillars and one or more of the five focus areas. Other preconditions, a more detailed description of the pillars and focus areas, and more information on the call can be found here (only in Dutch). More information on the funding of research into infectious disease can be found on the Fighting Infectious Disease programme page (only in Dutch).


The deadline for submission of a research proposal is 2pm, 15 May 2023.

Fighting infectious disease

Knowledge of infectious disease contributes towards public health. Read our Infectious Disease page to discover what kinds of knowledge we are helping to develop by funding research, and which knowledge questions we have identified.

news-9474 Tue, 07 Mar 2023 06:00:00 +0100 Grant calls Microplastics & Health: risk assessment and action perspectives on micro- and nanoplastics https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/grant-calls-microplastics-health-risk-assessment-and-action-perspectives-on-micro-and-nanoplasti/ ZonMw is publishing two calls for proposals for research into the health effects of micro- and nanoplastics. The calls focus on exposure, effects, risks, standardisation and the influence of behaviours and interventions. Both calls will be further explained during an information meeting on 3 April. What are the possible risks of micro- and nanoplastics and how can we reduce exposure to these?

Micro- and nanoplastics (MNP) are found in the air, our food, drinking water and our bodies. However, the risks of exposure to MNP posed to human health are as yet unknown. Too little is known about how we can reduce exposure to plastic particles as well. To acquire more insight into this, two calls for proposals have been published within the programme Microplastics & Health: one open call for proposals and one call at the invitation of the MOMENTUM consortium.

The aim of both calls is to describe the risk of exposure to MNP and explore the effectiveness of measures aimed at reducing exposure. Harmonisation between projects in both calls is important as the joint results must contribute to an overview of the potential risks, possible solutions and any knowledge gaps still remaining.

Call upon invitation: MOMENTUM consortium

A large part of the Dutch research field in the area of health effects of MNP participates in the public-private consortium MOMENTUM. Since 2021, the consortium has been investigating the health effects of MNP. They have also proposed solutions to minimise the potential impact on our health. The consortium parties will be invited to submit a grant proposal to strengthen the MOMENTUM project and expand it into specific areas of interest. Within the call, the consortium is requested to realise a health risk assessment using knowledge from projects in the ZonMw programme Microplastics & Health.

Read more about the aims and conditions that the project proposal from MOMENTUM must satisfy.

Open call for proposals

This call for proposals is also open for researchers who are not yet members of the MOMENTUM consortium. We invite any interested persons to submit a grant proposal for one of the four themes specified below:

  • Microplastics in our environment
  • Consumer behaviour
  • Interventions
  • Standardised research methods

An amount of 300,000 euros is available for each project and a total of 7 projects may be awarded funding.

Read more about the aims and conditions that project proposals for the open call for must satisfy.

Online information meeting on 3 April

Join the online information meeting on Monday, 3 April 2023, which will be held in English. Here, a more detailed explanation about both calls for proposals will be provided, you will be able to get to know the various MOMENTUM consortium parties, and the desired alignment between future projects will be explained. More information about this online meeting and registration.


If you have an idea for a research proposal into the health effects of micro- and nanoplastics and would you like to submit a proposal, please see more information about the aims and conditions of:

Please note: the deadline for submitting a proposal is Tuesday, 9 May 2023, at 14:00 hours CEST.

Healthy living environment

Knowledge about micro and nanoplastics in our living environment can improve people’s health. Read more about this on our theme page about the health effects of microplastics.

news-9438 Thu, 23 Feb 2023 10:00:00 +0100 34 leading scientists receive Vici grants https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/34-leading-scientists-receive-vici-grants/ The scientists from the Science (ENW), Applied and Engineering Sciences (AES), Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) and Health Research and Development (ZonMw) domains will receive Vici grants worth up to 1.5 million euros. This will enable the laureates to develop an innovative line of research and set up their own research group for five years Vici is one of the largest scientific grants for individuals in the Netherlands and targets advanced researchers. The Vici laureates study different fields of interest. They will examine, amongst others, whether fiction contributes to citizenship and community building. And how to mimic the high-energy efficiency strategy our brains use to process huge amounts of data. Another research project uses a multidisciplinary approach to develop ways to improving the decision-making processes of autonomous robots. Researchers will also investigate how nerve cells and immune cells work together to actively turn off pain after inflammation. This knowledge helps the development of therapies against chronic pain.These are just some of the topics that the laureates cover with their studies. The Vici laureates 2022.

Facts and figures

The Vici is awarded annually by NWO. Of the 266 applications, 167 (63%) were submitted by men and 99 (37%) by women. A total of 34 Vici grants were awarded: 18 to male applicants and 16 to female applicants. The award percentages for the Vici round 2022 (awarded in 2023) are thus 11% and 16% respectively.

NWO Talent Scheme

NWO’s Talent Scheme consists of the Vici, Veni and Vidi grants. The Vici grant targets senior researchers who have successfully demonstrated the ability to develop their own innovative lines of research. In doing so, they have also supervised young researchers. Researchers who receive a Vici grant have the opportunity to further develop their research group, often in anticipation of a tenured professorship, if they do not already have one. ZonMw runs the NWO Talent Programme for the Health Research and Development domain.

Click here  for the answers to some frequently asked questions about the Talent Programme, including the male-female ratio.

More information

Source: NWO

news-9412 Thu, 16 Feb 2023 14:14:00 +0100 Pre-announcement Call for Proposals: Create2Solve Phase 1 (Proof-of-Concept) https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/pre-announcement-call-for-proposals-create2solve-phase-1-proof-of-concept/ Public-private partnerships are important for the (further) development and implementation of animal-free innovations. With Create2Solve, ZonMw makes funding available, together with Proefdiervrij, for these kinds of collaborations, which focuses on 5 predefined challenges. Setup

The basis for Create2Solve is several predefined challenges through which parties try to make the use of (laboratory) animals in biomedical research redundant by developing or implementing an animal-free innovation. In consulting with industry and the MKMD programme committee this new round of Create2Solve, 5 challenges have been formulated in which animal-free innovations could make an important contribution to the replacement of (laboratory) animals (see attachment under 'More information'). Together with industry, researchers from a Dutch research organisation can submit a solution for one of these challenges in the form of a research proposal.
This funding round will have two phases:

  • Phase 1: in this phase, public-private consortia submit a proof-of-concept project for 1 of the 5 challenges stated below. Per challenge, several proof-of-concept projects can be awarded funding. The consortia whose projects are selected will receive funding to collect data over a maximum period of seven months so that they can demonstrate their capability of providing an animal-free solution for the posed challenge.
  • Phase 2: participating consortia from Phase 1 submit a project proposal in which the achieved results document that, within a subsequent period of 2 to 5 years, a prototype of the animal-free innovation can be built, developed or validated so that a concrete, scientifically and commercially interesting solution can be provided for the challenge.

The conditions for state support will be assessed in producing the upcoming call, and the projects must satisfy the conditions for state support. The precise conditions and procedures will be further explained and specified in the call.

Who can apply?

The main applicant should be affiliated with a Dutch research institution and is required to collaborate with a commercial party. Unlike during the previous round, this business does not have to be an SME, but it can also be a large business as long as it has a permanent office or at least a subsidiary in the Netherlands. An applicant may not submit a proposal for more than one challenge.

When will the call for proposals be published?

It is expected that the call for proposals for Create2Solve Phase 1 (Proof-of-Concept) will be published mid-April 2023, after which consortia will have about 10 weeks to submit a proposal.


This round is part of the ZonMw programme More Knowledge with Fewer Animals (MKMD), which has made a budget of about 2.6 million euros available for this. It is expected that with this project, 6 proof-of-concept projects can be awarded funding in Phase 1 (€100,000 per project), and two full proposals in Phase 2 (€1,000,000 per project). These contributions do not include the mandatory in kind and/or in cash contribution; the size of that contribution depends on the phase of the research and will be described in detail in the upcoming call for proposals.

More information about this pre-announcement

This pre-announcement is intended to inform researchers and companies about the upcoming call and, with that, give them the opportunity to begin thinking about a proof-of-concept research proposal. The actual call for proposals will be leading for the selection process, and no rights can be derived from the information in this pre-announcement. The call for proposals will be published via the usual ZonMw channels. For questions or more information, please contact Dr Martijn Nolte, senior programme manager MKMD, + 31 70 515 0375 or via nolte@zonmw.nl.

About the More Knowledge with Fewer Animals programme

ZonMw wants to contribute to high-quality and relevant, innovative (bio)medical research. We therefore encourage the development, acceptance and implementation of animal-free models. By doing this, we will achieve even more relevant research results for humans. With this, we strive to lessen the use of animal experiments wherever possible and wherever necessary. We seek to realise this by funding research into the development of animal-free models, connecting parties and encouraging the use of animal-free models in practice. We also seek to boost the more effective use of results from animal experiments by increasing the findability and reusability of such results. For further information, please see our website More Knowledge with Fewer Animals.

More information

news-9393 Thu, 09 Feb 2023 09:00:00 +0100 A successful approach to outsmarting cancer to be continued https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/a-successful-approach-to-outsmarting-cancer-to-be-continued/ Oncode Institute will continue for another 5 years, starting January 1, 2023. With over 110 patents filed, a wide range of unique collaborations between scientists, clinicians and industry partners, 9 oncology start-ups, 1.681 published papers and 16 studies in the clinical proof of concept phase, Oncode has proven over the past 5 years that its unique approach works. Oncode Institute is a virtual fundamental cancer research institute aiming to accelerate breakthrough discoveries and speed up their translation into new diagnostics and treatments for cancer patients. Oncode researchers receive funding to conduct high-risk & high-gain research and receive support to advance their discoveries. KWF, the Top Sector Life Sciences & Health, ZonMw and the ministries of EZK, VWS and OCW invest 92 million euros so Oncode can continue its mission to outsmart cancer and impact patients’ lives.

More information

Source: Oncode

news-9353 Wed, 25 Jan 2023 09:15:00 +0100 Adjustments to call for proposal Knowledge infrastructure for animal research https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/adjustments-to-call-for-proposal-knowledge-infrastructure-for-animal-research/ With effect from 1 January 2023, we have implemented several changes in the procedure for applying for funding for the module Knowledge infrastructure of our programme More Knowledge with Fewer Animals (Dutch acronym: MKMD). This concerns the modules ‘Realising systematic literature research for studies involving experimental animals’, ‘Publishing neutral/negative results from experiments involving animals’, and the workshop ‘ Systematic literature research for studies involving experimental animals’. The changes concerned are summarised below. Module Realising systematic literature research for studies involving experimental animals

This call for proposals focuses on the effective use of results from studies involving experimental animals by increasing the findability and reusability of such results. It encourages researchers to carry out a systematic literature study in the area of experimental animal research (or animal-free innovations).

  • Within this call, we request attention for two specific subjects: “Sex and gender differences” and “Non-human primates”. If your proposal for this call focuses on one of these subjects, then please state this in the application form.
  • Proposals for ‘Realising systematic literature research for studies involving experimental animals’ can be continuously submitted, as long as the budget available for the call has not been exhausted. The total available budget remaining for this call is currently € 247,000. We expect to be able to award 10 to 12 proposals with this amount.
  • From now on, proposals should be submitted via MyZonMw (and no longer via ProjectNet).
  • A grant for carrying out a systematic literature study can only be applied for if you have participated in the workshop “Systematic literature research for studies involving experimental animals”. This workshop is given by Dr Kim Wever and/or Dr Carlijn Hooijmans. It is possible to organise this workshop within your own institution, with funding from ZonMw. Would you like to organise a workshop “Systematic literature research for studies involving experimental animals”? Then you should first contact the programme team More Knowledge with Fewer Animals (mkmd@zonmw.nl ) before you submit a proposal for a workshop.

Module publishing neutral/negative results from experiments involving animals

This call focuses on the publication of scientifically sound, unpublished negative or neutral data from animal experiments. With this, ZonMw wants to encourage the publication of properly conducted experimental animal research with negative or neutral outcomes in order to prevent unnecessary repetition of research and bias.
•    From now on, proposals should be submitted via MyZonMw (and no longer via ProjectNet).

About More Knowledge with Fewer Animals

ZonMw wants to contribute to high-quality and highly relevant innovative (bio)medical research. We therefore encourage the development, acceptance and implementation of animal-free models. By doing this, we will achieve even more relevant research results for humans. With this, we strive to lessen the use of animal experiments wherever possible and wherever necessary.

We seek to realise this by funding research into the development of animal-free models, connecting parties, and encouraging the use of animal-free models in practice. We also seek to boost the more effective use of results from animal experiments by increasing the findability and reusability of such results.

More information

Programme team More Knowledge with Fewer Animals

•    Martijn Nolte (senior programme manager) +31 70 515 0375
•    Bas de Waard (programme manager) +31 70 349 5081
•    Rosalie Nelissen (Programme secretary) +31 70 349 5439
•    Email: mkmd@zonmw.nl

news-9334 Mon, 16 Jan 2023 10:46:00 +0100 Go abroad or stay at home? 15 young scholars get chance to gain international research experience https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/go-abroad-or-stay-at-home-15-young-scholars-get-chance-to-gain-international-research-experience/ Fifteen researchers who have recently received their PhDs can do their research at foreign research institutes thanks to a Rubicon grant from NWO. The Rubicon programme gives young, highly promising researchers the opportunity to gain international research experience. So what are some of the research questions that these 16 researchers will try to answer? These are diverse and science-wide. For example, one of the assigned projects is exploring how brain cells can keep a virus quiet. And another explores the predictive mechanism of perception. Furthermore, a Rubicon grant will be used to develop a new type of nano-devices using magnetic graphene. A final example: how value-creation is premised on the valueless and the invaluable? In the marketplace, everything has a price, but that of environmental pollution and carbon emissions is relatively low. This has led to huge economic growth and climate disruption.

Where to go and for how long?

For many researchers, experience abroad is an important step in their career. Thanks to the Rubicon grant these young researchers can do their research at a foreign institute that offers the best environment for their research. Seven laureates are going to the United States, and the other researchers reside in the UK, France, Belgium, Switzerland and Japan for their research. Fourteen Rubicon researchers are going abroad for 24 months, one laureate stays abroad for 14 months.

Features of the Rubicon programme

With a Rubicon grant researchers can spend up to 24 months doing research at a foreign institution. The size of the grant is dependent on the destination chosen and the duration of the stay. Each year, NWO/ZonMw can fund about 60 young researchers within Rubicon (for a total amount of 7 million euros allocated over three rounds). The awards in this news item concern the second round of 2022.

Facts and figures of this round

Budget: 2.4 million euros
Number of (admissible) submissions: 40
Gender ratio of submissions:  24 men, 16 women
Number of grants awarded (award rate): 16 (37.5%)
Gender ratio of awarded grants:  8 men, 7 women
Award rate among men: 33.3%
Award rate among women: 43.8%

More information

news-9276 Wed, 21 Dec 2022 13:10:00 +0100 Talent Scheme newsflash: 2023 schedule confirmed https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/talent-scheme-newsflash-2023-schedule-confirmed/ The schedule with the 2023 submission dates for the Talent Scheme (Veni, Vidi, Vici) has been confirmed. Some changes have been made in the procedures of the new rounds, all designed to further simplify and save both applicants' and reviewers' precious time. From next year, the entire programme will work with a two-stage assessment process. The instruments Veni, Vidi and Vici will require pre-proposals in all domains. After a positive decision, submitters may submit a more detailed application. In contrast, in the assessment procedure NWO opts for customisation per instrument and per domain.  This harmonisation will result in changes in the Veni and Vici assessment process in some fields: SSH and ZonMw are scrapping the referee phase in the Veni. ENW and SSH will no longer conduct interviews for the Vici from next year.

More information

source: NWO

news-9237 Tue, 13 Dec 2022 08:15:00 +0100 31 research teams will be able to start their projects thanks to funding from the ZonMw Open Competition https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/31-research-teams-will-be-able-to-start-their-projects-thanks-to-funding-from-the-zonmw-open-competi/ 31 research teams will be able to start their project thanks to funding from the ZonMw Competition round 2021, which has a total budget of €24.2 million. Each research team will receive an average of €750,000 for their project. Six of the research teams will receive an additional €250,000 for investment in infrastructure. Furthermore, one of the project teams (led by Prof. Bloem; Radboud UMC) will receive extra funding from a collaboration with the sister research council Fonds Nationale de la Recherche in Luxemburg. All 31 research teams can use this funding to set up innovative collaborations that contribute to durable advances in fundamental (bio)medical science and healthcare.

Which subjects will be investigated?

The 31 research projects focus on a wide range of subjects. For example, how dopamine and serotonin systems in the brain jointly contribute to incentives for drug abuse, the threat of increasing bacterial resistance on the effective treatment of infections and the development of a new smart computer system that will allow doctors to spend more time with patients. Other projects will consider the causes and consequences of disrupted communication between the two halves of the brain following a stroke, and research and develop new methods of diagnosis and treatment for cirrhosis and cardiovascular diseases that will positively impact healthy ageing.

What is the programme ZonMw Open Competition?

The ZonMw Open Competition aims to create opportunities for curiosity-driven and creative collaboration, leading to ground-breaking science of exceptional quality in health research. The programme ZonMw Open Competition is specifically intended for researchers from two or more disciplines who facilitate excellent, synergetic team science. The proposals were therefore assessed and ranked for these aspects on the basis of both relevance and quality. As knowledge utilisation and participation are also important criteria, all proposals awarded funding put forth a convincing strategy for knowledge utilisation with well-considered plans for implementation and the participation of interested parties in the broadest sense of the word.

Extra funds available with effect from 2022

With effect from 2022, an additional amount of €60 million per year is allocated on a structural basis for the Open Competitions of the four NWO domains, which include Medical Research and Healthcare Innovation (ZonMw). How these extra funds were made available in the current round of funding was published on the web pages of the ZonMw Open Competition programme. Please note: the new subsidy round opens on 20 December and the deadline is 7 March for the project idea.

More information:

news-9186 Wed, 07 Dec 2022 09:12:00 +0100 Mapping integrity: a scientific and personal challenge https://publicaties.zonmw.nl/mapping-integrity-a-scientific-and-personal-challenge/ Fenneke Blom (Amsterdam UMC) and colleagues brought together existing initiatives that encourage research integrity and accommodated them at The Embassy of Good Science. Anyone working to promote research integrity can now draw on these initiatives for ideas and inspiration. Fenneke looks back at her project, which was both a scientific and a personal challenge. news-9217 Tue, 06 Dec 2022 09:00:00 +0100 15 young clinicians with a PhD will set up their first line of scientific research https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/15-young-clinicians-with-a-phd-will-set-up-their-first-line-of-scientific-research/ 15 young clinicians who hold a PhD will each receive a maximum grant of 200,000 euros from the Clinical Fellows research programme to set up their first own line of scientific research. With their research projects they will also create a bridge between clinical and scientific research. The researchers will investigate themes that include premature birth, stimulating the immune system, diabetes and lung recovery following an inflammation.

What is a Clinical Fellowship?

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

More information

news-9163 Tue, 15 Nov 2022 09:00:00 +0100 Talent Scheme newsflash: simplified application process and planning 2023 https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/talent-scheme-newsflash-simplified-application-process-and-planning-2023/ The introduction of a two-stage assessment procedure will streamline the application process for the entire Talent Scheme. In addition, the submission dates for the pre-proposals for the 2023 Talent Scheme are largely known: 14 March for the Vici and 5 September for the Veni. The deadline for the Vidi pre-proposal will fall in the last quarter of 2023. Starting next year, compulsory pre-proposals will be introduced for the Veni, Vidi and Vici grants. The mandatory pre-proposal means that researchers are not immediately required to write a detailed and time-consuming research application. The pre-proposal includes a CV with an academic profile, a selection of key outputs (broader than just publications) and a short research idea. The latter is used to gauge whether the applicant’s CV fits the research. In the academic profile, researchers can outline what kind of scientist they are. What is the academic’s research focus, agenda and vision? What has he or she done to achieve that vision? NWO selects applicants from the pre-proposals who may then submit a detailed proposal.

Introducing mandatory pre-proposals in all rounds saves time

A pre-proposal saves both applicants and reviewers a lot of time. Indeed, this working method helps to limit application pressure and reduce the workload for researchers and reviewers.  
There appears to be further scope to shorten the assessment procedure even more. The Executive Board is currently reviewing proposals for this. NWO expects to communicate the Board’s decision in early December.

Assessment of the detailed proposal

The CV will not be evaluated as a separate criterion when assessing the detailed proposal. At this stage, the assessment revolves around the scientific quality and impact of the proposed research. Nevertheless, the research proposal is not viewed completely independently of the CV. The researcher’s expertise, experience and previous work are taken into account when assessing the feasibility and innovative nature of the proposal.

Revising scope of target groups postponed

NWO is still reflecting on the profile of the target groups in light of the new objective set earlier this year for the Talent Programme. First, the effects of the new Starter and Incentive Grants on the target groups of the Talent Programme will be examined. Once this is clear, NWO will proceed with establishing the scope of these target groups. This will be done in consultation with researchers, administrators of knowledge institutions where they work, and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, which commissioned the Talent Programme.

Source: NWO

news-9140 Tue, 08 Nov 2022 10:44:38 +0100 ZonMw signs Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/zonmw-signs-agreement-on-reforming-research-assessment/ On 28 October, ZonMw signed the European ‘Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment’. This agreement between the European Commission and Science Europe (the European research organisations) contains agreements on how research results should be assessed with the aim of improving the quality and impact of research. The agreement contains principles, commitments and timetables for reforms. The signatory organisations will also become members of a coalition that will work together on implementing the changes and sharing the acquired experiences. The agreement reflects the changes in Dutch science that ZonMw actively contributes to as a research funding body. Together with NWO, we have from the outset subscribed to the principles of the Recognition and Rewards programme, and we are implementing that in our policy and processes.

Arfan Ikram, chair of the ZonMw board and member of the NWO Executive Board: ‘We think it is also important that the cultural change in science, which we are striving to realise together, is also encouraged at an international level. After all, researchers and knowledge institutions are connected with each other worldwide.’

Enforcement of existing agreements

The principles, commitments and time schedule enforce the policy we are already executing, or are in the process of doing so, for implementing Recognition & Rewards or DORA. By signing the agreement, we commit ourselves to a broader form of recognising and rewarding the variety of tasks academics perform. The agreement also wants research assessment to be based primarily on qualitative evaluations, possibly supported by quantitative indicators.

Time schedule for implementing changes

We will also strive to realise the time frame of the agreement for implementing the changes as well as the required open evaluation of these changes. By the end of 2023, signatories should have made concrete plans, and evaluations will be completed by 2027.

Co-creation of the agreement

The agreement was initiated and developed by the European Commission. Together with Science Europe and a core group of 20 research organisations, including ZonMw, the Commission launched a co-creation process in January that led to this agreement. The final version was published on 28 October 2022. ZonMw fully supports the content of the final version and officially signed it on 28 October.

Delighted about the European scope

We are delighted that the changes in research assessment initiated some time ago in the Recognition & Rewards programme are now being picked up and implemented outside the Netherlands. Even though the agreement was established by European organisations, organisations from all over the world are expected to join. So far, more than 350 organisations from 40 countries have expressed interest.

ZonMw has subscribed to the assumptions of the national Recognition and Rewards programme since its inception. The programme aims to assess the full scope of scientific results and qualifications. There is room for all aspects related to the activities of scientists. The full scope of academic activities refers to the following: the quality of work, impact and relevance, competences in collaboration and outreach, and participation in key developments such as open science. This does justice to what is expected of the modern scientist in today’s society.

More information

news-9089 Tue, 25 Oct 2022 11:53:00 +0200 Research integrity at universities of applied sciences: are researchers and directors taking responsibility? https://publicaties.zonmw.nl/research-integrity-at-universities-of-applied-sciences-are-researchers-and-directors-taking-responsibility/ In 2019 Rob van der Sande, lector at the HAN University of Applied Sciences, launched a ZonMw project to develop integrity training courses for the universities of applied sciences (UASs). Three years on, he is conducting an interim review with Susan Berentsen, UAS lecturer and leader of the implementation project. Is research integrity more than data management, privacy and statistical significance? Why did they decide to focus on training for young researchers? And are directors taking responsibility when it comes to research integrity? news-9038 Mon, 10 Oct 2022 09:30:00 +0200 Programme day Human Measurement Models https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/programme-day-human-measurement-models/ On the 4th of October, researchers, non-profit organisations and companies gathered for the yearly Programme day Human Measurement Models. The theme of this day was to exchange knowledge about the development of new human measurement models which uses humans as a base: the so-called ‘human measurement models’. These models are based on human material, such as stem cells, tissue after an operation or ‘Organ-On-A-Chip’. This day was organised by the Association of Collaborating Health Foundations (Samenwerkende Gezondheidsfondsen, SGF), Top Sector Life Sciences & Health (LSH; Health~Holland), NWO-domain TTW and ZonMw who set up the research programme ‘Human Measurement Models’ together. This research programme started in 2021. In total, 9 million euro was awarded to 13 research projects. These projects involve a collaboration between companies and non-profit organisations such as the Dutch Society for the Replacement of Animal Testing (Stichting Proefdiervrij) and other health funds, who also play a role as indispensable co-financers. In some cases, even patient representatives are involved in these projects.

There is a possibility that these human material-based research models mimic the situations in humans more accurately than models based on laboratory animals, emphasises Tom Oostrom, managing director of the Dutch Kidney Foundation. The results can be implemented more specific and faster in practice. Besides, the results are also available for patients when a model is more comparable to the human situation. This way, science focusses more on human and even personalised measurement models, which results in that we become less dependent on laboratory animal research.

‘We will get the desired inclusion much faster if we collaborate with patients equally and involve them with determining what is achievable for them in a study.’ – Tine van den Bos, chair of the Foundation Bekkenbodem4All involved in the IP-ABC project.

It is a new research field where the latest technologies are being used. The goal of the day was to increase the bond between the projects and those who are involved to exchange generated knowledge from the projects to help each other out. This was facilitated during this day through pitches and discussions about common challenges. One of these challenges is how to handle variability of a human measurement model. Furthermore, extensive consideration was given to the possibility to bring the lab to the clinic and what challenges come with this.

‘I was mostly oriented on biology and now I looked more closely to the technological side and from the perspective of a company. I did not know how to deal with other angles and perspectives, but now I know who I need to bring everything together.’ - Marit Keuper-Navis, researcher involved in the DEDOC project.

‘In this context it could be seen that a few concrete initiatives were taken for the quality, validation and standardisation, production and upscaling of these models.’ - Janny van den Eijnden-van Raaij, managing director hDMT.                                        

Even though these projects differ in content, an important observation of this day is that there are many comparable challenges. When we join forces, much more is possible.

More information

news-9014 Thu, 29 Sep 2022 10:57:00 +0200 Microplastics may have subtle effects on the placenta https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/microplastics-may-have-subtle-effects-on-the-placenta/ Tiny plastic particles may have subtle effects on the placenta, according to results recently published by researcher Hanna Dusza and her team in the leading journal Environmental Health Perspectives. The researchers call for additional studies to gain a better understanding of the effect of micro- and nanoplastics on the health of the mother and the developing child. Health effects of microplastics still unclear

Previous research has found microplastics in the placentas of pregnant women. But what effect do these tiny plastic particles, with dimensions in the micron and nanometre range, have on the health of the mother and the foetus? A research team from Utrecht University, Dijklander Hospital, Vrije Universiteit, Deltares and Mount Sinai School of Medicine (US) performed a study in a laboratory setting of the uptake and transport of micro- and nanoplastics in placenta cells cultivated outside the body, and the effects on those cells. The researchers observed subtle changes in the expression of genes that are responsible for hormone production and metabolism. The proposal of research is  avaliable in English (choose 'Samenvatting van de aanvraag' under 'Verslagen' on the webpage). Read the Utrecht University press release on the effect of exposure to microplastics from the beginning of human life, and the publication in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Is more knowledge needed about effect of microplastics in placenta?

ZonMw is promoting and funding research into microplastics and health because, as the amount of micro- and nanoplastics in the environment steadily increases, we know little about the potential health risks. Knowledge of the risks posed by microplastics is needed to allow us to prevent damage to health. ZonMw therefore launched its Microplastics and Health programme in 2018. Visit our website to read more about the first 15 completed projects, including the placenta study. You can also read about studies on microplastics in human blood and other research results.

Links to other research

“Research on microplastics and health is like a jigsaw, and this study is an important piece of the puzzle”, explains senior programme manager Frank Pierik of ZonMw. “The knowledge agenda  which we drew up in 2020 indicates the remaining pieces of the puzzle that need to be found. There is a long way to go: besides the 15 breakthrough projects, and the follow-up by the MOMENTUM consortium, we will need to add more pieces to the puzzle to find appropriate solutions.”



news-8991 Wed, 21 Sep 2022 11:09:12 +0200 Ninety per cent of NWO and ZonMw’s research publications are open access https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/ninety-per-cent-of-nwo-and-zonmws-research-publications-are-open-access/ At least 9 out of 10 publications in 2021 resulting from research funded by NWO and ZonMw are available as open access. For NWO, this means an increase of 5% compared to last year. For ZonMw-funded research, the increase is 8%. This is according to the Open Access Monitor conducted by CWTS (Centre for Science and Technology Studies) on behalf of NWO (and ZonMw). The aim is 100%

Both research funders believe that publicly funded research results should be directly and freely accessible. That is why they have been working on their open access policy for the research they fund since 2009. In 2015, they introduced a funding condition requiring publications resulting from research funded by NWO. For ZonMw-funded research, this has applied since 2013. In 2021, both funders have aligned their requirements with Plan S and cOAlition S, a consortium of more than 25 international research funders that aim to accelerate the full transition to immediate open access. Considerable progress has been made, but there is still room for improvement.

Caroline Visser, responsible for Open Science on NWO’s Executive Board: ‘Clearly, we have made great progress since our open access policy was first launched in 2009. Open access has actually become the standard. Ninety per cent is a particularly impressive score, even in an international context. Of course, our goal remains 100%, and we will continue to do what we can to accelerate the transition to the free and open availability of all scientific research.’

Arfan Ikram, chair of ZonMw: ‘These are great numbers. To reach 100%, we will also continue to work at ZonMw in collaboration with relevant parties to make the transition to open access publishing of scientific output. We will facilitate researchers wherever possible to use different open access routes.’

Main conclusions from the analysis by CWTS

•    By 2021, 90% of publications resulting from NWO funding (n=7843) were available as open access, either via the gold route (on the publisher’s platform) or the green route (deposited in a repository). This represents an increase of 5% compared to 2020. For ZonMw (n=1559), it was 91%, an increase of 8% compared to last year.

•    The number of publications in hybrid journals increased considerably in recent years, due to the open access deals universities have negotiated with publishers. The share of publications in full-gold journals also increased dramatically.

•    This edition of the Monitor determined for the first time the share of diamond open access. The international interest in this model has increased greatly in recent years, partly in response to the Diamond OA Journals Study conducted by Science Europe and cOAlition S and the Diamond OA Action Plan. With 2.5% of articles published under the diamond model, the share is still small, but it is promising nonetheless because it is considered a more equitable model as neither authors nor readers face costs.

•    Between scientific domains, there are no major differences in the overall score. The same is true for universities. Leiden University and the University of Groningen score the highest with 94% open access, which can presumably be attributed to these institutions’ progressive use of the Taverne amendment.

•    For the first time, a random examination of the 10% ‘closed’ publications was made as well. These are often publications in which the researcher funded by NWO or ZonMw is the ‘umpteenth’ co-author of an article, whose lead author has an affiliation with a university abroad. This researcher may therefore not always be able to influence the choice to publish open access. These articles should still be made open access under NWO and ZonMw policies, and the report also shows that the vast majority of authors comply with that and share their papers via the institutional repository – albeit sometimes with delays enforced by embargoes. The Rights Retention Strategy developed by cOAlition S can support researchers in immediately sharing these publications via open access.

•    The data underlying the reporting are – to the degree possible – openly available.

Open science as the norm

NWO and ZonMw are strongly committed to to lead the transition to Open Science. Publications resulting from funding by both agencies must be made openly available. . Open Science increases the impact of scientific research. But it also increases the quality and reliability and thus enhances the trust and support for science.

More information

news-8982 Tue, 20 Sep 2022 10:50:00 +0200 KIC call launched: Safe and healthy food and food systems https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/kic-call-launched-safe-and-healthy-food-and-food-systems/ In recent years, attention for the role of nutrition in relation to (preventive) human health has increased. This is because healthy food and a healthy lifestyle are said to ensure a longer healthy life and can thus extend the healthy life span. Knowledge about food and food systems is necessary

Societal challenges, such as the growing and ageing world population, more chronically ill people, and the growing differences in health between people with different socio-economic positions, make the pursuit of a healthy diet and lifestyle for the current and future population even more important. Moreover, a transition to a sustainable food system is needed. It is therefore necessary to broaden the knowledge of healthy food and food systems.  

Purpose of the call

This call encourages interdisciplinary research into sustainable and innovative food systems that produce healthy and safe food for the current and future population. This research requires an integrated approach to multiple focus areas, in order to achieve a more holistic understanding of healthy and safe food and food systems. This call focuses on 4 areas:

  • Nutrition and health in different population groups
  • Influence of environment on healthy choice behaviour
  • Development of sustainable and healthy food products
  • Food safety, environment and health

When to apply

The deadline for submitting pre-proposals is January 17, 2023. The deadline for submitting full proposals is June 15, 2023.  The maximum duration of the proposed project is 6 years.


On 1 November 2022 NWO will facilitate a matchmaking activity for this call in Utrecht. Participation in this activity is recommended but not mandatory. Matchmaking in the KIC 2020-2023 aims to bring together and connect researchers from different scientific disciplines (alpha, beta, gamma; including universities of applied sciences) and practical organisations in order to develop interdisciplinary research proposals. Further information and the possibility to register for this meeting can be found on this page.  

KIC seeks technological economic opportunities

The NWO research programme KIC focuses on groundbreaking innovative solutions with societal and economic impact. Companies, knowledge institutions and government bodies jointly invest in the commercial application of knowledge to tackle major societal challenges through the use of smart technologies. By doing this, both jobs and income can be secured for the future. This is established in the Knowledge and Innovation Covenant (KIC) 2020-2023 that connects with the Mission-driven Top Sectors and Innovation Policy of the Dutch government. NWO brings together companies and knowledge institutions and funds groundbreaking research based on their innovative, high-impact research proposals.

Within the main line Mission, NWO annually develops several large thematic programmes, which each have a budget of between 5 and 11 million euros: the mission-driven programmes. The choice of subject is determined on the basis of a ranking within the Knowledge and Innovation Agendas. Researchers submit proposals for collaborative projects with a budget of between 750,000 and 4 million euros per proposal.

More information can be found on the website of NWO: Call for proposals: KIC Safe and healthy food and food systems

ZonMw’s role

This research programme connects very well with research that ZonMw programmes and funds within the realm of food, nutrition and health, especially internationally. Please refer to our Dutch website to find out about the specific research we support on the interrelation between food, nutrition, health and the prevention of chronic diseases.  

The Dutch version of the news item is available.



news-8904 Thu, 25 Aug 2022 12:00:00 +0200 Three consortia awarded funding for acceptance and implementation of animal-free models in safety assessment https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/three-consortia-awarded-funding-for-acceptance-and-implementation-of-animal-free-models-in-safety-as/ Within the Dutch Research Agenda (NWA) 'Non-animal models: acceptance and implementation', three consortia will research on the acceptance and implementation of existing animal-free models. A total of about € 2.9mln has been awarded for this research. This programme is a collaboration between the Dutch Ministries of Infrastructure and Water Management (I&W), Public Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS), Economic Affairs and Climate (EZK), Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV), Defense (Def), ZonMw and NWO. This programme focuses on the acceptance and implementation of existing animal-free models

This programme focuses on the acceptance and implementation of existing animal-free models in the safety assessment of substances for humans with associated legislation and regulations. People are exposed to numerous chemical substances on a daily basis, such as those found in medicines and the environment. In order to protect them against the possible dangers of these substances, a decent safety assessment is necessary. To date, laboratory animals are often used for this purpose. However, this use of laboratory animals is increasingly being criticised, both from a societal and scientific point of view. Think of animal welfare and the translatability of results from animals to people.

To stimulate the animal-free transition in scientific research, this NWA programme focuses on the acceptance and implementation of animal-free models at a regulatory, scientific and societal basis. In this way, we will achieve even more relevant research results for humans without the use of animals

ZonMw is realising this programme in collaboration with NWO.

Three multidisciplinary consortia will contribute to the animal-free transition

In the coming five year, three multidisciplinary consortia will contribute to the animal-free transition. The projects focus on the underlying causes of societal barriers, the acceptance of existing animal-free models by end-users and regulators, and the values of stakeholders and institutions on data from animal-free models. A budget of €955,000 has been set aside for each project.

The projects awarded funding, in alphabetical order, are:

Accelerating the transition to animal-free NGRA: A transformative governance approach
Projectleader: Prof. Ingrid Visseren-Hamakers (Radboud University)
Consortium: Radboud University, Utrecht University, TNO, TenWise, Johns Hopkins University, The Good Lobby, Prof. Howard White (consultant), Unilever, Eurogroup for Animals and PETA UK.
This research project analyzes how the acceleration of the transition to animal-free safety assessment can be governed. The project focuses on Next Generation Risk Assessment (NGRA), and on the transitions to animal-free safety assessment for chemicals and pharmaceuticals in the EU, the Netherlands, and the USA. The transdisciplinary consortium experiments with transformative governance approaches through action research.

Animal-free assays for endocrine disruption – from science to regulatory acceptance
Projectleader: Prof. Juliette Legler (Utrecht University)
Consortium: Utrecht University, RIVM, Charles River, KWR, Proefdiervrij, Maastricht University, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Brunel University London, INSERM Montpellier, INSERM Rennes, University of California Irvine, University Miguel Hernandez, PEPPER, OECD, Biopredic, Plastics Europe, Cosmetics Europe and UK Health Safety Agency.
It is not always possible to identify endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) which are harmful to our health. A combination of non-animal models, which jointly measure the effect of substances on hormonal systems in humans, could replace the use of animal testing. Before a model is accepted in regulation, it has to be determined whether it is predictable and reproducible. For this purpose, it must pass through a number of steps that make up the pathways to regulatory acceptance. This project will determine how regulatory acceptance and use of non-animal models for EDCs can be improved.

Valuing Testing: Valuing animal free testing in chemical safety assessments
Projectleader: Dr. Hans Bouwmeester (Wageningen University & Research)
Consortium: Wageningen University & Research, University of Groningen, Rathenau Institute, Shell, Unilever, Dutch Organ-on-Chip consortium and Medicines Evaluation Board of the Netherlands.
Animal-studies remain to be the gold standard to study human safety of chemicals. Several animal-free models have been developed, but more needs to be done to transition to only using animal-free models for these chemical safety studies. In this project we will study the ethical values of stakeholders and institutions and start a citizens dialogue to explore current barriers. We will compare simple cell models and complex models that resemble the liver to explore if these models can be incorporated in safety assessment procedures. Study designs will be discussed with stakeholders to optimize the likely of acceptance of data.

More information

news-8841 Mon, 25 Jul 2022 10:50:00 +0200 Fifteen talented, young scientists go to foreign institutions with Rubicon grant https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/fifteen-talented-young-scientists-go-to-foreign-institutions-with-rubicon-grant/ Fifteen researchers who have recently received their PhDs can do their research at foreign research institutes thanks to a Rubicon grant from NWO. The Rubicon programme gives young, highly promising researchers the opportunity to gain international research experience. So what are some of the research questions that these 15 researchers will try to answer? In a multidisciplinary team of chemists and engineers, one of the young scientists will investigate whether new gels can be developed that convert carbon dioxide into fuels with the help of electricity. Another study will focus on what makes young people vulnerable to radicalised conspiracy beliefs. And for yet another project, the Rubicon grant will be used to unravel the unknown origins of fast radio bursts from space this.

Research at a foreign institute

For many researchers, experience abroad is an important step in their career. Thanks to the Rubicon grant these young researchers can do their research at a foreign institute that offers the best environment for their research.  

More information


news-8830 Wed, 20 Jul 2022 09:05:00 +0200 Mosaic 2.0 grant for 13 PhD students https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/mosaic-20-grant-for-13-phd-students/ Thirteen PhD students will start with a Mosaic 2.0 grant for their PhD research. The PhD scholarship programme aims to promote the further development of an inclusive work environment within Dutch universities and is open for the group of graduates with a migration background from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central and South America and Turkey, who are underrepresented in the Netherlands. The studies cover the entire breadth of science: from timely treatment of asymptomatic heart failure to community care for refugee women who have experienced sexual and gender-based violence.

These are the 8 project that will contribute to medical research and health care innovations:

The involvement of a new B-blood cell in multiple sclerosis
Tom Halperin Msc, Dept. of Anatomy & Neurosciences, Amsterdam UMC, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Multiple sclerosis is a severe, neurological disorder affecting young adults and causing cognitive and motoric disability. The cause of the disease is, despite extensive research, still unknown. The researchers will use human tissue from brain and blood donors to investigate how a newly discovered group of immune cells (B1- cells) contribute to the disease progression. In addition, they will use modern biomedical and high-resolution microscopy techniques to characterize these cells inside the brain. Ultimately, the researchers hope to identify new treatment targets for MS.

Care for peer support: organizing community care for refugee women with experiences of sexual and gender based violence
Zahra Khazai MSc, Amsterdam UMC-Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Worldwide the number of refugees is increasing. Refugee women are at continuous risk for experiencing sexual and gender based violence (SGBV), and SGBV has enormous consequences for their health, integration and participation. Refugee women experience barriers in accessing formal care and simultaneously, their social networks are limited. Peer support groups are an accessible way for support and discussing SGBV. Although community care organizations know how to reach these women, barriers exist for structural implementation of peer support groups. In this project, the accessibility of peer support groups for these women and their implementation in care chains will be explored.

Timely recovery after subclinical heart failure (TREASURE)
Zenab Mohseni-Alsalhi MSc, Maastricht University Medical Center+ (MUMC+)
The women specific risk factor preeclampsia (PE) relates to a 2-7 fold increased risk of cardiovascular diseases at a relatively young age. During PE, there is an unfavorable increase in heart muscle mass leading to less compliant heart, a condition preceding clinical heart failure. In almost half of affected women, this impairment does not resolve after delivery. The blood pressure hormone angiotensin plays a central role in the development of this form of heart failure. The TREASURE trail aims to investigate whether asymptomatic HF in formerly preeclamptic women can be reversed by Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors treatment.

Hitting the mark: Introducing Artificial Intelligence and state-of-the-art MRI techniques for Precision Radiotherapy of Glioblastoma
Patrick Tang MSc , Erasmus MC, Rotterdam
Glioblastomas (a highly malignant brain tumor) are notorious for their tumor infiltration, where tumor extends into adjacent normal-appearing brain tissue. As tumor infiltration is not visible on conventional MRI-scans, a safety margin of 1.5-cm is always added to the visible tumor when the target area for radiotherapy is defined. In this research, the aim is to eliminate this one-size-fits-all approach and assess the potential of artificial intelligence and state-of-the-art MRI techniques to more accurately define the target area for each individual patient. By only targeting what needs to be targeted, the development of side-effects caused by radiotherapy could be reduced.

Mind the Body: Investigating and targeting cognitive and affective disturbances in youth social anxiety.
Ruya Akdag MSc, Institute Developmental and Educational Psychology, Leiden University
Adolescents with social anxiety avoid social situations and are often rejected by their peers, resulting in loneliness, low well-being, and low quality of life. To prevent this, the current project investigates whether social anxiety is influenced by cognitive and affective disturbances and whether the regulation of both disturbances via accessible digital interventions can help adolescents learn to cope with their social anxiety.

What is needed for good care around sexuality and reproduction of girls and women in the refugee camp of Mavrovouni on Lesbos?
Dr Jamilah Sherally, Athena Institute Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Girls and women in refugee camps are at high risk of sexual violence, unwanted pregnancy and poor
reproductive and pregnancy care. To find out what is needed to enable good care in the Mavrovouni camp on Lesbos, experiences and opinions of all stakeholders are researched: (1) health problems, needs, experiences and barriers to care among refugees, using a household survey, group interviews and innovative participatory techniques, and (2) experiences and possibilities of care providers through systematic evaluation of facilities and interviews with service providers and stakeholders involved in care organization. Together with all stakeholders, recommendations for improvement are co-created.

Under our skin: the role of somatosensory strategies in optimizing stress regulation at the onset of adolescence
Mercedes Beltrán MSc, Utrecht University
In a world where youth stress levels are rising this project asks an urgent question: How can we help
children and young adolescents cope with stress? This research aims to investigate how certain behaviors (such as self-touch, biting your lips, constant movement or fidgeting) can help to reduce stress and how we can use this knowledge to promote optimal stress regulation in children.

Livebearing fish shed light on the mystery of placental tolerance
Dr Marwa Ahmed, Wageningen University and Research
The tolerance of the immune system to a fetus is puzzling for scientists. The fetus is closely connected to the mother through the placenta and presents itself as part of the father's foreign material to the mother's immune system. An immune response and rejection of the partly foreign body fetus would be expected, but this does not happen during a healthy pregnancy. In this study we want to investigate how this tolerance was created by the immune system during evolution. We investigate this by comparing fish species with and without placenta from the livebearing fish family Poeciliidae.

More information

news-8818 Thu, 14 Jul 2022 10:19:00 +0200 NWO and ZonMw will award over 60 million euros in additional funding to non-programmed research https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/nwo-and-zonmw-will-award-over-60-million-euros-in-additional-funding-to-non-programmed-research/ The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, will make an additional 65.4 million euros available to NWO and ZonMw for the various Open Competitions for non-programmed research. Almost the entire extra budget will be awarded in 2022, in line with the wishes of the Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Robbert Dijkgraaf. With effect from 2023, an additional 60 million euros of funding will be made structurally available for the Open Competitions of the domains Science, Social Science and Humanities, Applied and Engineering Sciences and Health Research and Development (ZonMw).

In the coming months, ZonMw will work out how these extra resources will be made available in the current and upcoming rounds of the ZonMw Open Competition and Off Road. We will publish details about this on our program pages on our website.

Read more about the extra resources on the NWO website.

news-8794 Thu, 07 Jul 2022 08:49:29 +0200 Science works! https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/science-works/ Submitting an application to NWO has become easier and less of a burden on researchers. The time it takes to process application procedures has to decrease. And the success rates in the open competition and the talent programme must be at least 25 percent. These are 3 of the 38 ambitions from NWO’s new strategic plan 2023–2026. The new NWO strategy ‘Science works!’ was presented today to Robbert Dijkgraaf, Minister of Education, Culture and Science. ‘NWO has a responsibility to help make science work. The new strategy contains four building blocks that are crucial for a well-functioning system and corresponding ambitions that NWO will work towards in the coming years’, says Marcel Levi, President of NWO’s Executive Board.

‘The Netherlands is doing very well, but we will have to keep working on a science system that optimally facilitates innovation and knowledge development. This also includes focusing on the safety of knowledge and scientists’, Marcel Levi explains about the new strategy. ‘We also want to help reduce the workload for researchers so they can use their time more economically. So they have as much time as possible to do what they are good at: research. This is why a number of ambitions in the strategy aim to make things easier for them.’

More information

Source: NWO

news-8761 Fri, 01 Jul 2022 09:10:00 +0200 101 researchers receive NWO-Vidi grant worth 800,000 euros https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/101-researchers-receive-nwo-vidi-grant-worth-800000-euros/ The Dutch Research Council has awarded 101 experienced researchers, 17 of which fall under the ZonMw field of activity, a Vidi grant worth 800,000 euros. The grant enables them to develop their own innovative line of research and set up their own research group in the coming five years. With the grant the Vidi laureates will do research on a variety of subjects including how strongly does (long-during) smell loss, like we seen with COVID-19, the quality of our relationships and of our own life. The Vidi will also be used to research the pluses and minuses of cannabis for the brain. Another research will focus on how positive interactions between plants can constrain climate change.

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.

More information

news-8755 Tue, 28 Jun 2022 11:33:56 +0200 Slight change of course on the horizon for NWO Talent Scheme https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/slight-change-of-course-on-the-horizon-for-nwo-talent-scheme/ A slight change of course is on the horizon for NWO’s Talent Scheme (Veni, Vidi, Vici). Consultation with the research field has provided NWO with answers that it will use to amend the scheme. For example, the Executive Board recently decided to change the programme’s aim. In addition, a two-stage assessment will be introduced throughout the entire Talent Program starting in Round 2023. The Talent Scheme was due for a review because much has changed in the research field in the past 20 years. Think of the emergence of the ERC, a substantially heavier workload at universities and new insights on how to recognise and reward talented academics differently.

The aim of NWO’s Veni-Vidi-Vici Talent Scheme will be amended as follows: ‘The aim of the NWO Talent Scheme is to provide creative opportunities for adventurous, talented, pioneering researchers to do research of their choice, establish their own line of research and further develop their talent.’

The two-stage assessment is a tiered assessment where the first selection stage takes place on the basis of the narrative CV and the second stage on the basis of the research proposal. The introduction of this assessment in all rounds in 2023 will harmonise the different funding instruments. As a result, researchers will have as many of the same preconditions as possible, regardless of their research domain. The introduction of the mandatory pre-proposal saves both applicants and evaluators a great deal of time. This method also helps to limit the application pressure and reduce the workload of researchers and evaluators. Incidentally, NWO is working on a new version of the narrative CV, the ‘evidence-based CV’, which is currently being further developed and tested.

The revised aim also includes reflecting on the profile of the target groups for this new objective. NWO will further investigate and establish the scope of these groups in the coming six months. It will do this carefully and in consultation with researchers, administrators of knowledge institutions where they work and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the commissioning party of the scheme.

NWO is aware of the potential impact that changes in its Talent Scheme may have on the career paths of researchers. We will therefore communicate about this in a timely manner through various channels. Where necessary, a suitable transitional arrangement will be put in place.

Source: NWO

news-8664 Thu, 02 Jun 2022 11:20:00 +0200 From sustainable food production to reducing viral transmission https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/from-sustainable-food-production-to-reducing-viral-transmission/ Fewer CO2 emissions, less airborne viral transmission, and a more sustainable form of food production: seven consortia of researchers, companies, societal organisations and government bodies will put a budget of 32 million euros towards developing technological innovations for these and other societal challenges. Curious about these innovations? Read more on the NWO website.

Some of the honored projects:

Early prediction of treatment efficacy

MAESTRO: Metabolic Imaging to Improve Patient-Specific Therapy Outcome
Complications related to cancer and obesity, such as type 2 diabetes, have an enormous and still increasing impact on our society and economy. Preventive measures and treatment for these diseases are not always effective. This usually only becomes clear after the patient has received treatment for a longer period of time. The MAESTRO project will develop new, non-invasive, radiation-free imaging technology to improve the patient’s prognosis, quality of life and participation in society and to reduce healthcare costs. This technology will be able to predict early on how effective a lifestyle intervention or treatment will be for a specific patient. The project research will focus on breast cancer, liver metastasis and the preliminary phase of diabetes.

Programme leader: Dr Jeanine Prompers (University Medical Center Utrecht)
Participating knowledge institutions: Amsterdam University Medical Center, Maastricht University Medical Center+, Utrecht University Medical Center
Companies: Advanced MR Analytics AB (AMRA), Boston Scientific, Cambridge Isotope Laboratories (CIL), MedVision360 (MEDrecord), MSD, Philips, Scannexus, Servier, WaveTronica
Other societal partners: Diabetes Vereniging Nederland (DVN), European Coalition for People living with Obesity (ECPO), Patient panel Oncology Center Maastricht University Medical Center+, Stichting Darmkanker, Stichting voor Patiënten met maag- en slokdarmkanker (SPKS)

Preventing airborne transmissions of viruses

MItigation STrategies for Airborne Infection Control (MIST)
Since the global impact of COVID-19, we are acutely aware of the risk of diseases dispersed through the air. Virologists, epidemiologists, fluid mechanics and engineers will join forces in the MIST programme to better understand and prevent airborne viral transmission. Under various conditions, the researchers will study the infectiousness of viruses, the spread of fluid droplets in the air, and the influence of ventilation and the purification of air on the transfer of viruses. They will subsequently translate this knowledge into practical recommendations about which measures can be deployed in the most efficient, cost-effective and sustainable manner in various environments ranging from people at home to hospitals, schools and trains.

Programme leader: Prof. Detlef Lohse (University of Twente)
Participating knowledge institutions: Delft University of Technology, Eindhoven University of Technology, MARIN, Radboud university medical center, Royal Netherlands Aerospace Centre, TNO, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Amsterdam, University of Twente
Companies: Arcadis, BAM, Carrier, Euromate, Greensol, Hiensch Engineering, Heinen & Hopman, I-Vention Medspray, Novaerus, Philips, PlasmaMade, Signify, Virobuster
Other societal partners: ArtiZ, CCN, KHN, KNHB, KNLTB, NS, PO-raad, REHVA, Rijksvastgoedbedrijf, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Sportinnovator, TVVL, VLR, VO-raad

Fighting arthritis

In the Netherlands, more than 1.5 million people suffer from arthritis – a rheumatic condition of the joints that causes pain, stiffness and difficulty in moving. As arthritis is a condition that mainly occurs among older people, the number of patients is set to increase due to the ageing of Dutch society. At present, there is no adequate treatment for arthritis. The OAinject programme will develop new diagnostic tools that will determine which form of arthritis a person has so that individualised treatments can be offered. The researchers will also work on innovative ways of gradually administering drugs locally over a longer period of time via an injectable drug depot in the joint. With this approach, the consortium will ensure that patients can retain an active lifestyle that helps to prevent other conditions such as cardiovascular disease and dementia.

Programme leader: Prof. Marcel Karperien (University of Twente)
Participating knowledge institutions: Delft University of Technology, Erasmus MC, Maastricht University, Maastricht University Medical Center, Radboud university medical center, University Medical Center Utrecht, University of Twente
Companies: Chondropeptix, DSM Biomedical, IBIS Technologies, InnoCore Pharmaceuticals, 20Med Therapeutics, Nordic Bioscience, Orthros Medical, Procore, QVQ, Ssens
Other societal partners: Deventer Hospital, ReumaNederland, Dutch Society for the Replacement of Animal Testing


news-8650 Tue, 24 May 2022 11:43:32 +0200 Baking pies as a metaphor for successful collaboration on antimicrobial resistance https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/baking-pies-as-a-metaphor-for-successful-collaboration-on-antimicrobial-resistance/ On Thursday April 28th 2022 a kick off meeting took place for the projects within the Joint Programming Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance (JPIAMR) 13th call named ‘HARISSA’. ZonMw took part in organising and hosting the day. During the workshop, each of the nineteen project coordinators or partners presented their project plan for the upcoming years. The presentations were spread over two sessions each lead by a chair. Approximately 45 participants were present during the virtual meeting.

Transmission and intervention

HARISSA is an acronym for ‘‘One Health intervention and Transmission in AMR’’ and is the 13th joint call within JPIAMR. The call mainly focused on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) transmission and interventions. A One Health perspective was required, as well as involving low and middle income countries.

Collaboration is the key to success

From the meeting it became clear that these types of partnerships are crucial to deliver on such complex projects, hence the value of this call and the consortia funded. A wide range of interventions were presented which focused on different topics, from testing and uptake of innovation to public health interventions, to preventing and managing AMR transmission. Besides cost effectiveness, the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration during the projects also became clear.

Lessons learned for the future

Recommendations were made for future funding calls. These included focusing on the need for international guidance and complimentary, as well as coordinated approaches for both in high and low and middle income countries. A wider picture should be considered as well; study interventions in the context of economic as well as health benefits. And lastly, cross project learnings would be important as the consortia are progressing. There even were some early attempts for collaboration between projects made in the meeting.

What is the similarity between pie and antimicrobial resistance?

Overall, the project participants were enthusiastic to hear about other projects and their plan. The process could be compared to baking a cake: the projects are now at the stage where all the ingredients go in and after a few years nineteen beautiful cakes come out of the oven. We very much look forward to the results of these interesting projects.


news-8643 Mon, 23 May 2022 09:11:00 +0200 2022 Veni round 2022 early June open for applications https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/2022-veni-round-2022-early-june-open-for-applications/ Talented, creative researchers who recently obtained their PhDs can soon apply for a Veni. This funding instrument from the NWO Talent Scheme offers researchers individual grants. The funding will enable them to develop their own research idea for the coming three years. The maximum funding amount is 280,000 euros. The 2022 Veni round has nine committees affiliated with the NWO domains. The Science (ENW), Applied and Engineering Sciences (AES) and ZonMW domains each have their own committee. The Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) committee has been divided into six submission committees, one for the review panels for each discipline. All domains have introduced a compulsory pre-proposal phase for the 2022 Veni round; this year is the first time for the ENW domain. Applicants must submit an abridged proposal before the September 2022 deadline. The mandatory pre-proposal means that researchers do not have to write a complete (time-consuming) research proposal immediately.

The introduction of the mandatory pre-proposal saves applicants and reviewers a great deal of time. This approach will therefore help to reduce the application pressure and ease the workload of researchers and reviewers.

The call can now be viewed on the funding pages and is expected to open in early June.

Important dates

The Veni schedule for all domains is as follows:
•    Deadline (mandatory) pre-proposal Tuesday 6 September 2022
•    Deadline detailed applications Tuesday 24 January 2023
•    The decision about the 2022 Veni applications round will take place in June.

The 2022 Veni round is open to researchers who obtained their PhD no more than three years ago on 1 January 2022 (graduation date after 1 January 2019 and before 1 January 2022) and to researchers who obtained their PhD between 1 January 2022 and 6 September 2022. NWO is therefore keeping the target group for the Veni as similar as possible following the delays in the 2020 and 2021 rounds.

Obligatory pre-proposal

The mandatory pre-proposal means that researchers do not have to write a full application right away. The pre-proposal consists of submitting a narrative CV: a description of the applicant’s academic profile and a selection of the most relevant outputs (broader than only publications). This format makes it possible to highlight the special qualities of individual researchers. As a result of feedback from committee members and applicants, the instructions on how to use the narrative CV have been refined in the application form. NWO is working on a new version of the narrative CV, the ‘evidence-based CV’, which is currently being further developed and tested.
In addition to the CV, applicants must also submit a brief outline of their research idea. Based on feedback from committee members and applicants, it was decided to give more space to the research idea in this round. The research idea in the pre-proposal has been extended from 50 to 100 words to give applicants a better opportunity to demonstrate how the idea relates to the profile. The assessment criteria and their weighting remain the same.

NWO evaluates the pre-proposals and selects the final Veni target group: Veni funding is intended for researchers whose qualities clearly surpass those of their international peer group. They may then submit a detailed proposal, which is then assessed.

More information

news-8536 Wed, 20 Apr 2022 14:12:00 +0200 ‘Reflecting on science should become normal practice’ https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/reflecting-on-science-should-become-normal-practice/ The new Promoting Good Science (PGS) programme, which is the follow-up to the Fostering Responsible Research Practices (FRRP) programme, will be chaired by Sally Wyatt. PGS is aimed at encouraging sustainable improvements in the science system. Eduard Klasen is stepping down as former chair of FRRP, and he is confidently passing the baton on to his successor Sally, who wants to involve the broader science domain. You do not practice science just for yourself

Sally Wyatt is Professor of Digital Cultures at Maastricht University and a social scientist in the research fields science, technology and society. As a scientist, she investigates the impact of digitalisation on society and, in the past, also conducted research into open data in science.

‘Issues such as integrity and responsible innovation are important to me and of interest to my research’, says Sally. ‘After all, you do not practice science just for yourself, but for others as well.’ And with “others”, Sally not only refers to fellow scientists and students, but also to society. ‘I believe it is vital that scientists set a good example to both the next generation of scientists and to the general public.’ Her golden rule is: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

How ZonMw started to stimulate good science

Eduard Klasen was chair of the FRRP programme from 2016 to 2022. He is the former dean of Leiden University Medical Center and Emeritus Professor of Management of Health Research. ‘It all began in 2012’, recalls Eduard. ‘Back then, articles about the state of scientific research were published with great regularity.’ Issues that came to light in that period included publication pressure, a lack of interdisciplinary collaborations and insufficient attention for the societal impact of research. ‘ZonMw was of the view that research funding bodies should play a role in facilitating good science’, recounts Eduard. ‘However, at the time, there was absolutely nothing in this area, no funds and no plan.’

Under the leadership of Eduard, ZonMw initiated the project “System failures” in 2013 to find out more about the causes, consequences and solutions for system failures (problems in the research system). ‘We visited organisations, experts and deans and documented and learned an awful lot’, recalls Eduard.

Subsequently, the foundation was laid for the FRRP programme. ‘I set up a workgroup together with Lex Bouter, Professor of Research Integrity’, continues Eduard. In 2015, the workgroup reached the conclusion that although there are many theories about factors that influence the science system, very little research had been done into this. The science-wide FRRP programme was established on the basis of this finding. ‘Back then, it was unique but, fortunately, that is no longer the case’, says a satisfied Eduard. ‘Now we have more partners from which we can learn a great deal, such as the Research on Research Institute.

The time is ripe for a follow-up project

Since the start of the FRRP programme, a total of 17 projects and several large research initiatives have been funded. Furthermore, meetings and workshops have been organised. The FRRP projects give insight into what is going well and where improvements are needed to safeguard good science. Examples are improving the peer-review system, setting up training courses in universities of applied sciences about how to carry out responsible research, and encouraging a more balanced evaluation of researchers.

The programme has taken a first and necessary step toward the structural and systematic investigation of the science system. ‘The FRRP programme managed to create a good network’, states Eduard proudly. In addition to this, it has a clear added value with respect to current developments in science, such as Open Science and the new theme Recognition and Rewarding. ‘We took a broad approach and achieved a lot, but we need to step up our efforts even more’, concludes Eduard. ‘I think this presents a fine opportunity for the follow-up project.’

Eduard passes the baton on to Sally

The FRRP programme has been completed and ZonMw is now working towards the follow-up trajectory, namely the Promoting Good Science programme. Eduard worked with considerable pleasure and commitment on the FRRP programme. ‘After so many years, this seems a good moment to stop because otherwise, you run the risk of repeating yourself, and that is not wise, and neither should you want that.’ However, Eduard does not want to disappear from view entirely. ‘This subject is close to my heart, and so I would like to remain in touch with developments.’ Eduard is pleased that he can pass on the responsibility with confidence to Sally. ‘I wish Sally every success and, in particular, much job satisfaction, because it is also a genuinely exciting task.’

Better do to one thing well than try a thousand things

Sally is impressed by everything that has been achieved in recent years. ‘I hope that we can build further upon this’, she says. ‘It is an inspiring, important and interesting subject, and we still have a long way to go.’ Many challenges remain. ‘How will we give this shape for broader science domains, and how will we demonstrate the relevance of the PGW programme?’ asks Sally. ‘We need to take into account that many aspects of good research practices are strongly context-dependent and do not apply to all science disciplines.’ Sally has personally worked with many scientists from different disciplines and knows, like no other, that doing research in a responsible manner is not a universal concept. ‘We need to remain aware of that’, she adds.

Sally is inspired by the positive tone of the FRRP programme. ‘There was much attention for good practices and all the research that is done in a proper manner’, says Sally. ‘I think that this focus will allow us to exert a positive influence.’ Looking toward the future, Sally would like to see that reflecting on science becomes a normal thing to do. ‘Reflecting on your own work and that of others should not be seen as something that is independent of your day-to-day activities’, reasons Sally. ‘As scientists, reflecting is part of our responsibility with respect to ethics, politics and science.’ For the time being, the emphasis is a step-by-step approach. ‘We cannot do everything at once, and so we will need to establish priorities’, states Sally. Or, like Eduard says: ‘It’s better to do one thing well, than to try to bring a thousand things to fruition at the same time.’

The Promoting Good Science programme

The Promoting Good Science (PGS) programme is a follow-up trajectory to the Fostering Responsible Research Practices (FRRP) programme. The FRRP programme investigated science to be able to guarantee robust, qualitatively good and principled research. This involved examining the current science system and culture, such as the way in which scientists give shape to good science, and which problems they encounter in doing this. The FRRP programme started in 2016 and collected knowledge about what constitutes good science and which obstacles it encounters. In the follow-up programme PGW, this knowledge will be used to encourage sustainable system changes in science.

More information