‘Stop run on research money’

Too many applications, and not enough money. The chances of getting a grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) are not good. The run on research money should end, even the NWO says. The solution? Universities should do their own preselection.
By Rob Siebelink / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen

Every year, the NWO receives more applications to finance research proposals than the previous year. Simultaneously, the percentage that actually gets funding decreases. Only one in seven applicants is awarded a grant. When there aren’t enough funds, the scientific financiers are forced to reject high-quality research proposals, the NWO says.

Recognition from the NWO has become too synonymous with an academic career, the organisation acknowledges. That is why they want universities to take over some of the work. They will have to make a ‘preselection’, ensuring that only the very best proposals have a chance of getting a grant.


They feel it will prevent researchers from trying their best writing a proposal that is destined to end up in the trash. ‘Universities should have a more active policy, only stimulating favourable researchers whose research match the institute’s priorities to actually submit an application to the NWO’, the plan says.

Another measure is delaying those research proposals the NWO thinks will have a remuneration of less than 25 percent, until more money becomes available. But what that will look like and which proposals these measures actually will apply to is currently not clear.


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