Call 2022

The call for applications for the KNW programme is now open. The deadline for submitting an initiative (not mandatory, but preferred) is February 7, 2023 14:00 h CET, the deadline for the full proposal is May 9, 2023 14:00 h CEST.

On January 30, 16.00-17.00, NSO will host an online information session. In this meeting we explain the goals of the program, give examples of previous calls and there will be plenty of room for questions. You can register for this meeting by sending an email to

The text of the Call for proposals can be downloaded here.

Please note that the current KNW round differs slightly from previous KNW rounds. Please read and follow the text of the Call for proposals carefully.


Themes for this round

In this subsidy round, the Expertise Networks scheme is open to two expertise networks, one for each of the following themes, in the field of developing:

1. 'breakthrough' technologies for space instruments and/or innovative concepts, methods, models and (fundamental) knowledge for the use of – data from – such space instruments, in the field of planetary research;

2. innovative ('breakthrough') concepts, methods, models and (fundamental) knowledge for the use of – data from – space instruments for applications in the field of water (quantity and/or quality) in urban, rural and marine environment.


Explanation of the themes

1. Planetary research is one of the priorities of Dutch space research. Although the planetary research community in the Netherlands is younger and relatively smaller than that in the field of Earth observation or astronomy, it is developing rapidly and promising results are being achieved. For the coming years, various new planetary missions are on the agenda in which the Netherlands is participating or may participate on the basis of existing technological and scientific capabilities, such as JUICE, Envision, and Mars Sample Return. Strengthening cooperation in this area offers opportunities for Dutch space research.

2. Water is a theme in which the Netherlands has a strong (international) position scientifically, socially and economically. Various studies and surveys have shown the relevance of using space instruments within this theme: there is an increasing need for – applications with – satellite data and for new future space instruments. Both in the field of water quantity and water quality, there are major (fundamental, conceptual and methodological) challenges for the use of satellite data.



The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) funds the Expertise Networks programme. The grant budget for this Call for proposals is € 1,300,000 in total. Within this Call for proposals, a maximum of two applications will be awarded (maximum one per theme). The total amount requested will not exceed €650,000 per application.


Practical information about this call (more in the Call for proposals)

For whom

Applications are submitted by expertise networks. Only one application can be submitted per theme. If necessary, contact NSO to find out which expertise networks are under construction and which network you could join. One of the expertise network participants acts as the main applicant. The main applicant is also the intended project leader for the research to be conducted. Network participants from other organizations than knowledge organizations (e.g. companies) cannot act as main applicant. The expertise network must demonstrate that it bundles the relevant knowledge and expertise in the Netherlands on its own theme and that all relevant parties wishing to participate in the expertise network can do so. Furthermore, the expertise network must demonstrate that it has the necessary knowledge and expertise and the corresponding infrastructure at its disposal to carry out the intended activities.


Which activities fall under the programme?

The following activities can be financed within the KNW programme:

1. Research activities: The Expertise Networks programme offers the possibility of funding (partial) studies related to the development and/or use of future space instruments. Due to budgetary constraints, this programme is not suitable for financially supporting the actual development of approved instruments and missions. Concrete examples of studies to be financed from the Expertise Networks programme are:

- PhD or postdoc studies in the field of scientific and/or societal/operational user requirements;

- development and definition of instrument and mission concepts;

- trade-off studies of technologies;

- feasibility studies;

- early technology/low TRL hardware projects;

- breadboard projects;

- simulation studies;

- end-to-end modelling.

The research in question is directed jointly by the expertise network.

2. Network-supporting activities: The Expertise Networks programme is also specifically intended to promote cooperation between the expertise network partners and between the expertise network and parties outside of it for the purpose of strengthening the Dutch position in the field of development and use of space instruments. Therefore, in addition to the above mentioned research activities, network support activities that benefit this goal can also be financed from the programme. Examples of such activities are:

- organizing – national or international – workshops on the network’s theme;

- participating in proposal preparation processes;

- conducting inventories of technologies and/or user applications;

- market research;

- organizing coordination with parties outside the own network (both nationally and internationally), such as e.g. space agencies, industry, governments, etc.



Voluntary application of initiatives

Prior to submitting the full application, main applicants may submit to NSO the initiative to establish an expertise network, for publication on the NSO website and for NSO to advice upon. Announcing initiatives is aimed at ensuring that the network bundles all relevant knowledge and expertise present in the Netherlands and that no relevant parties are excluded. Also, potential partners can come forward and perhaps join the expertise network. Applicants are encouraged to submit their initiative. Bundling all relevant knowledge and expertise in the Netherlands is one of the assessment criteria of the policy review.

To submit initiatives, use must be made of the initiative form that can be downloaded here. The completed form must be submitted by e-mail (addressed to

The deadline for submitting initiatives is February 7, 2023 14:00 h CET.

Full application

For the full application use should be made of the application form which can be downloaded here. The completed form must be submitted by e-mail (addressed to

The deadline for submitting full applications is May 9, 2023 14:00 h CEST.


The applications within the KNW programme will be assessed as follows:

- Policy review by NSO, based on the policy criteria specified in the call text in section 4.3.1;

- Peer review by independent scientific referees using the assessment criteria specified in the call text in section 4.3.2;

- Rebuttal: the main applicant has the opportunity to formulate a rebuttal to the policy review and referee reports in consultation with the expertise network;

- Final assessment by NSO.


Finally, the Domain Board Science of NWO reviews the procedure and the advice of NSO. It then sets the final qualifications and decides on granting or rejecting the applications.

Further information

Contact details

Jolien Diekema:, 0627062992
Radboud Koop:, 0627878958


Call for proposals

Initiative form

Application form (full application)

Letter of guarantee supervision

Explanation / Frequently Asked Questions