Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek


NWO is the National Research Council of the Netherlands and is mainly financed by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.
NWO has the following statutory mission:

  • Is responsible for enhancing the quality and innovative nature of scientific research as equally initiating and stimulating new developments in scientific research
  • Mainly fulfils its task by allocating resources
  • Facilitates, for the benefit of society, the dissemination of knowledge from the results of research that it has initiated and stimulated
  • Mainly focuses on university research in performing its task.NWO’s policy aims at achieving the NWO mission as effectively as possible, by funding excellent proposals of individuals or research groups from academia and research institutes.


Within NWO, eight Councils comprise all different aspects of science. One of them is the Council for Chemical Sciences. The funding is mainly for fundamental research (~80%), but also applied research (~20%) is funded.

NWO also accommodates three temporary task forces of which ACTS (Advanced Chemical Technologies for Sustainability) is one. ACTS was founded in 2002 as an implementation of the ‘Technology Roadmap Catalysis Key to Sustainability'. It is the Dutch platform for pre-competitive research in chemistry with its focus at sustainability and innovation. In all the ACTS programmes, high quality applied chemical research is stimulated and utilisation of the research results by third parties (chemical industries) is promoted.

Funding in industrial biotechnology

NWO’s expenditure is about M€ 400 per year, of which M€ 300 is allocated to the researchers of the academia and M€ 100 to research institutes. The Council for Chemical Sciences and ACTS both have an annual budget of about M€ 20.

Current and future national calls that include Industrial Biotechnology

  • B-Basic (Bio-based Sustainable Industrial Chemistry) is an NWO-ACTS research consortium in which Dutch universities, research institutes and industry cooperate to achieve a sustainable future in the field of bio-based chemicals and energy.
    For more information see www.b-basic.nl
  • Kluyver Centre The Kluyver Centre for Genomics of Industrial Fermentation is one of the Centres of Excellence of the Netherlands Genomics Initiative, which pursue the highest standards in genomics research. It employs microbial genomics to improve microorganisms for use in industrial fermentation processes. Fermentation is used in the production, from renewable feedstocks, of food products and ingredients, beverages, pharmaceutical compounds, nutraceuticals, and fine and bulk chemicals. The research covers six programmes: yeast fermentation, fungal fermentation, lactic acid fermentation, biocatalysis, genomics tools including bioinformatics and society and genomics. The Kluyver Centre is a consortium of Delft University of Technology, Wageningen University and Research Centre, the universities of Leiden and Utrecht, Radboud University Nijmegen, TNO, Wageningen Centre for Food Sciences, Agrotechnology and Food Sciences Group and NIZO food research.
    For more information see: www.kluyvercentre.nl
  • STW Open Technology Programme: The programme is open to proposals from any field of applied research (exact sciences) and aims to enhance the utilisation of research results. Research proposals can be submitted continuously.
    For more information see: www.stw.nl
  • Innovational Research Incentives Scheme: The aim of the Innovational Research Incentives is to promote innovation in the academic research field. The target groups are young individuals of exceptional talent and originality whose research proposals are of high-risk. Industrial Biotechnology research ideas can flourish within this funding Scheme. The Scheme comprises three forms of grants directed at three different stages in the researchers’ academic careers.
    For more information see: www.nwo.nl/vi.
  • TOP and ECHO grants: The aim of TOP and ECHO grants is to stimulate fundamental, curiosity-driven research in chemistry and chemical technology. ECHO grants offer the opportunity to carry out a high quality science driven research project. In this way a challenging scientific idea can be pursued, a new research area can be opened up or a scientific innovation can be established. TOP-grants are directed at research groups that have an excellent track record in research on (bio)chemistry or chemical technology. The grants offer these groups the opportunity and freedom to strengthen or extend excellent, challenging and innovative lines of research.
    For more information see www.nwo.nl/cw/top