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The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)

Programme Type
Funding organisation
National (Netherlands)
Netherlands Flag
STRIA Roadmaps


Background & Policy context

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO Dutch: Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek) is the national research council of the Netherlands. NWO funds thousands of top researchers at universities and institutes and steers the course of Dutch science by means of subsidies and research programmes. NWO promotes quality and innovation in science.

NWO is an independent administrative body under the auspices of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. The organization receives about 400 million euros per year, of which approximately 300 million comes directly from the ministry. NWO directs the 300 million budget toward Dutch universities and institutes, often on a project basis. Also, the NWO has its own institutes.

NWO was established in 1950 as Nederlandse Organisatie voor Zuiver-Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (ZWO). This organization did not focus on applied research; the research organisation TNO was established for that purpose. In 1988 ZWO was renamed as NWO and was given the broader mission.

Strategic Objectives

Continuing in the direction taken in previous years, NWO will develop itself in the coming years into a broad, national research organisation that shares responsibility for Dutch science and its importance to prosperity and welfare. Key elements of this process are:

  • a widely shared vision of the dynamics of science
  • developments at home and abroad
  • good teamwork among the parties that unite for a strong science sector in the Netherlands
  • achieving tangible results for science, society and our knowledge partners


Programme organisation

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research ensures quality and innovation in science and facilitates its impact on society. Its main task is to fund scientific research at public research institutions in the Netherlands, especially universities. NWO focuses on all scientific disciplines and fields of research. The funds are allocated by means of a national competition on the basis of quality and independent assessment and selection procedures. NWO plays several roles as a broad, national research organisation that actively contributes to various elements of national science and innovation policy.


Institution Type
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)
Total Budget
767 million eur (2014)
Participating countries
The Netherlands


Tessa van Leeuwen
The Hague
Organisation Website
Programme Website

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