25 percent dip in Vidi applications? Check.

In 2018, research financier NWO received more than 25 percent fewer applications for a Vidi grant (for experienced researchers). And that’s exactly what they wanted.
By Christien Boomsma / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen

In 2017, NWO received 589 applications, but only 443 in 2018. This means they reached the objective of their embedding guarantee. NWO wanted to reduce the number of applications to give researchers a better chance of their applications being approved. To that end, NWO instated a new condition: researchers would have to include an embedding guarantee from their institute in their application. That is, the institution would have to guarantee the winner of a Vidi a permanent contract.

Some people feared this would exclude certain research institutes, but this fear turned out to be unfounded. But there have been more applications from researchers with a permanent contract: 42 percent in 2017 versus 54 percent in 2018. But, NWO says, ‘the 22 percent of applicants who don’t have a permanent position now have a shot at it because of the embedding guarantee’.


The Young Academy, the association of young talented scientists at the KNAW criticised the measure. They feared the embedding guarantee will mean that only ‘insiders’ with a permanent contract will get grants. They also worried that young researchers from abroad wouldn’t stand a chance anymore.

NWO wouldn’t say whether this is true. The Vidi applications have been submitted, but there is no news yet on how they will be divided.

The embedding guarantee also applies to 2019.  Next year, NWO will appraise the measure to see if it stays in place.



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