The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) is one of the main funders of Dutch science. The NWO promotes the quality of scientific research by subsidiary programmes and grants such as the Spinoza Prize, the Innovation Research Incentive Schemes (Veni, Vidi, Vici) and the Gravitation programme. Many of our academics have succeeded in obtaining funding from the NWO.
The NWO Spinoza Prize is the highest award in Dutch academia. Each year, NWO awards the NWO Spinoza Prizes to three or four researchers working in the Netherlands who according to international standards belong to the absolutely best researchers worldwide. The NWO Spinoza Laureates do outstanding and groundbreaking research with broad impact. They are an inspiration for early-stage researchers.
The Stevin Prize is, together with the Spinoza Prize, the highest award in Dutch science. Researchers receive this prize for their outstanding, pioneering and inspiring work. NWO has been awarding the Spinoza Prize since 1995 to a maximum of four scientists a year who are international leaders in their field. The NWO Stevin Prize, awarded annually to a maximum of two (teams of) researchers, was presented for the first time in 2018. One of the winners of the Stevin Prize was virologist Marion Koopmans.
The Veni grant is part of the Incentives Scheme of the NWO. The Veni allows researchers who have recently obtained their PhD to conduct independent research and develop their ideas for a period of three years. Many starting scholars from Erasmus University Rotterdam, who display a talent for scientific research, have successfully applied for a Veni grant. The VENI scholars of our university carry out research in many fields, from history to economics and from sociology to medicine. Projects focus on topics like the twentieth century history of creative thought in military-industrial contexts, the relationship between economic status and love and sex in the intimate relationships of youth.
Vidi is a funding instrument in the Innovational Research Incentives Scheme. It allows researchers who have already spent several years doing postdoctoral research to develop their own innovative line of research, and to appoint one or more researchers for this. Many scholars of Erasmus University Rotterdam were able to further their research by obtaining a Vidi grant. They study issues such as fatherhood in the 21th century, racial stereotypes in sports journalism and the role of the enzyme CAMK2 in the development of the brain.
Vici is a funding instrument from the Talent Scheme. Several senior researchers at Erasmus University Rotterdam have been awarded this grant and given the opportunity to build up their own research group, often in anticipation of a tenured professorship. In 2018, Dr Gijs van Soest received a grant of 1,5 million euros to study arteriosclerosis.
With Gravitation, the government stimulates excellent research in the Netherlands. It is intended for scientific consortia that have the potential to become world leaders in their field. Gravitation is carried out by NWO on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Researchers can conduct top university research for ten years and collaborate in a multidisciplinary manner.