Due to the considerable impact of the coronavirus crisis, there is a major need for medical and societal solutions and answers. Therefore, ZonMw, on behalf of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, will shortly start the research programme COVID-19.

Corona virus

This will be realised in collaboration with the Dutch Research Council (NWO) and as a follow-up to the “first wave”. The aim of this programme is to contribute to controlling the consequences of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the short and long term, to generate new knowledge about prevention, treatment and recovery from this infectious disease, and to investigate the broader societal issues concerning this pandemic. It is expected that the programme will be published at the end of April. In view of the considerable interest of the research into the coronavirus crisis, we would like to inform you in advance about the anticipated main lines of the programme.

Grant possibilities for research into coronavirus (COVID-19)

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

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

This programme will concentrate on three major focus areas:

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

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


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

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


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

More information


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