Post-Horizon 2020 grant options

Horizon Europe

Despite deadline extensions due to the corona virus, the last deadlines for Horizon 2020 will soon expire. The first calls for its successor programme, Horizon Europe, are planned to open in January next year. This means we are entering a gap year in which research funding options are considerably decreased. Luckily, there are more options for research funding that still continue to write out calls. Below, we highlight some interesting options:


The EU program COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) focuses on connecting research networks throughout Europe. COST aims to create action spaces for scientists to collaborate in a bottom-up, open, and diverse manner. Networks can consist of different types of partners (e.g. academic, industry, government). An average action lasts four years and needs to be dedicated to strengthening research, innovation, and careers. This is a good instrument to prepare together for a future Horizon Europe application. The next COST deadline is October 29th, 2020.

  • Human Frontier Science Program

The Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) promotes international collaboration in basic and fundamental research with specific focus on the elucidation of mechanisms in living organisms. Novelty, high- risk/high-reward, and international and interdisciplinary collaboration are important pillars. The HFSP grants personal and team (2-4 international scientists that have not yet collaborated before) applications and projects are expected to run for a period of 3 years. The next deadline is for postdoctoral fellow grants in August 2020. A new collaboration grant round is expected in March 2021.


The Dutch Research Council (NWO) sector Applied and Technical Sciences (TTW) has several funding programs that aim to stimulate applied technological science through the collaboration of academic and industry partners (users). In these programs, these users must contribute either cash or in-kind to the project budget:

  • The Open Technology Program (OTP) focuses on applying scientific research in collaboration with end users. OTP stimulates the formation of consortia of scientists and end users in order to apply scientific research. Applications can be handed in continuously.
  • The Partnership Program starts with a private party that is seeking a scientific partner to solve a problem. Together with NWO, they write up their idea in a funding call that will be promoted in an open competition in which scientists can write a proposal. The initiating private party will have to invest 50% in the project.
  • Finally, the Perspective program is similar to the OTP, but it focuses on research programmes built on several research lines rather than a single research project. Consortia should be multidisciplinary and focus on collaboration with end users. The application round for 2020 opens in October 2020.


  • NWO Partnerships (Knowledge and Innovation Convenant; KIC)

The Knowledge and Innovation Convenant (KIC) of NWO also focuses on public-private partnerships. It is similar to the TTW programs but is available for all scientific disciplines. Programs range from fundamental research to applied research. Private parties are invited to submit a research issue that will be turned into a call for funding so researchers can write a proposal. The private parties will have to invest at least 30% in the project. This program is starting up in 2020 and calls for partnerships will soon open.



The NWO program Nationale Wetenschapsagenda (NWA) is based on questions from the Dutch general public. Following these questions, several research routes were determined along which interdisciplinary and multisectoral consortia can apply for funding. Research must be innovative, interdisciplinary, and knowledge chain-wide. This means that projects need to have true societal impact by bringing fundamental science into actual practice. Currently, 10% co-financing is required, either in kind or in cash. A new NWA call for preproposals is expected mid 2020.

Medical sector

Specifically, for the medical sector, the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) has some very interesting programs as well:

  • Good Use of Medicines

The funding instrument Good Use of Medicines (GGG: Goed Gebruik Geneesmiddelen) aims to optimize the use of existing medicines and associated health care. The grant is intended to set up research, infrastructure, knowledge utilisation, and dissemination. Collaboration between public and private parties is encouraged.

  • Promising Care (in collaboration with Zorginstituut NL)

The funding scheme Promising Care (VBZ: Veelbelovende Zorg) facilitates the inclusion of promising medical care into the basic insurance package. Within this program, you can apply for a temporary funding of maximally 6 years for research into the (cost) effectiveness of new care interventions and products. The program funds the necessary last clinical trial that will prove that the intervention is as good as or better than the current golden standard of care. As such, safety and efficacy must have been proven before submitting the application. In addition, VBZ mainly funds the care component of the trial (min. 80% of the grant) and the accompanying research to a lesser extend (max. 20% of the grant) so it is especially aimed at interventions that bring along high care-related costs. The next deadline for pre-proposals is September 22th, 2020.

  • Topspecialistic Care & Research programme

The Topspecialistic Care & Research programme (TZO: Topspecialistische Zorg en Onderzoek) aims to improve highly specialised care in The Netherlands by stimulating care innovation, scientific research, and education for selected clinical specialisations in non-academic hospitals in the Netherlands. After being pre-selected, these specialisations must present a comprehensive plan on how they will strengthen and build upon their existing specialist care unit, focusing on care, research and education.

At Evers + Manders we have longstanding expertise in applying for all these programs. We are happy to help you with figuring out which program best fits your plans and research ideas.

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