NWO – TTW Open Mind

Out-of-the-box denken

Every year, the NWO domain of Applied and Engineering Sciences (AES) holds a competition for the development of an innovative and creative “out-of-the-box” idea that contributes to solving a societal challenge: Open Mind

The awards will be announced during the NWO TTW TEKNOWLOGY innovation festival. The Open Mind competition offers researchers the opportunity to further develop their ground-breaking idea and make it visible to a wider audience.

Target Group(s)

The Open Mind competition is intended for researchers from the following research institutes, at all stages of their career:

  • Dutch universities
  • University medical centres
  • KNAW and NWO institutes
  • Dutch Cancer Institute
  • Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen
  • DUtch-Belgium BeamLinE (DUBBLE) at the ESRF in Grenoble
  • NCB Naturalis
  • Advanced Research Centre for NanoLithography (ARCNL)
  • Princess Máxima Centre


  • The project duration is a maximum of 1 year.
  • The idea is innovative and has not been researched before (not by the applicant, but also not by the wider research community).
  • The idea is unconventional.
  • The idea has a technological component. The technology is used to solve a social challenge.


The total budget comprises €250,000. Successful projects are awarded a fixed amount of €50,000. This money can be spent on:

  • Personnel costs of temporary staff
  • Research leave for applicants
  • Materials
  • Foreign travel

Evaluation Criteria

Project ideas are evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Originality
  • Quality of the project plan
  • Urgency
  • Potential impact

The Application

The application consists of a project plan, financial plan, data management plan, and a video in which applicants present their ideas. Applicants should also pitch and discuss their proposal at TEKNOWLOGY festival if their proposal is selected.


The call is currently closed.


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