Open eScience Call 2023 (OEC 2023)

Empowering researchers through digitally enhanced research

The call at a glance:

  • Open to researchers from all disciplines.
  • Receive in-kind support from eScience Center research software engineers (RSEs) on state-of-the-art research needing research software.
  • Two project sizes
    • Early career: 1.5 person year (PYR)
    • Spearhead: 2.5 person year (PYR)
  • Two rounds: lightweight pre-proposal and full proposal.
  • Timeline:
    • February 14th: Information event
    • March 16th: Deadline pre-proposal
    • June 8th: Deadline full proposal

Purpose of this call 

This call for proposals supports state-of-the-art and innovative research that requires the development and application of advanced research software. Each submitted proposal should address an urgent methodological research challenge that can count on broader support from the research community in which the applicants are active. The call reflects the eScience Center’s strategy to advance the use of sustainable research software in academic research.

In this call, ‘research software’ refers to digital tools, methods or algorithms that contribute to the creation and/or analysis of research data and research results. Applicants are invited to propose a concrete research problem that requires a digital solution of this kind.

A competitive proposal should:

  • make clear why new or improved research software is required to solve the stated research problem;
  • explain how the proposal strengthens and connects to research communities that require, and may be expected to contribute to, the research software;
  • include a clear strategy for the future maintenance and sustainability of the research software resulting from the project, and a realistic and concrete plan describing the measures that will be taken to ensure its usability and availability beyond the duration of the project itself.

To inform interested applicants about the specific aims of the Open eScience Call 2023, as well as the role and expertise of the eScience Center, an online information event will be organized on Tuesday, 14 February, 2023, 13.00-15.30. Sign up below to receive a Zoom link for the information session. 

What can be applied for?

This call offers applicants two project types to choose from: Early Career and Spearhead. Early Career Projects are open exclusively for researchers who obtained a PhD within the last six years and Spearhead Projects are open for all researchers.

Projects receive in-kind support. This means that a team of RSEs from the eScience Center will work together with the applicants to improve or build research software within the context of a larger research community, and as integral members of a research team. To maximize the added value and impact for applicants, the technological needs and requirements of the project should match with the Center’s expertise. Its current expertise areas are:

  • AI: machine learning, image processing;
  • Analytics: big data analytics, text analysis, visualization;
  • Data processing: databases, real-time data analysis, interoperability and linked data;
  • Computing: exploitation of hardware accelerators, high performance computing, cloud computing, combining simulations;
  • Software quality: developing workflow technologies, improving software practices, advancing software sustainability.

An Early Career Project may be requested for an in-kind budget of 1.5 PYR. The project duration should be between 12 and 18 months.

A Spearhead Project may be requested for an in-kind budget of 2.5 PYR. The project duration should be between 24 and 30 months.

Each project must include one or more workshops. Workshops in the context of this call are defined as focused, participatory events with the aim of creating or fostering a community of researchers, including (potential) users, around the digital technologies and research software produced within the project. Workshop expenses will be (to a certain extent, specified in the full call document) reimbursed by the eScience Center.

Applicants may submit a proposal in one of the following discipline areas:

  1. Life Sciences, incl. biology, medical and health sciences, neuroscience;
  2. Physical Sciences and Engineering, incl. agricultural sciences, astrophysics, chemistry, computer science, earth sciences, engineering, environmental sciences, mathematics, physics;
  3. Social Sciences and Humanities, incl. anthropology, archaeology, communication studies, economics, education sciences, history, human geography, law, linguistics, literary studies, philosophy, political sciences, psychology, sociology.

Does this sound like the opportunity you were looking for? Then look no further. For more information about this call for proposals, including how our RSEs can help, how to prepare the application, assessment procedure and more, be sure to download the full call below.

Who can apply?

Proposals can be submitted only by researchers employed by a Dutch research performing organization. An overview of all eligible organizations is included in the full call document.

Each proposal is to be formally submitted by a single named researcher (henceforth the ‘Lead Applicant’ or LA). The LA will act as primary contact for the eScience Center.

The LA must:

  • be in possession of a PhD;
  • hold a permanent contract or tenure track position (for Spearhead Projects) or hold a contract for at least the duration of the requested project (for Early Career Projects);
  • have demonstrable knowledge and experience in applying digital methodologies to research;
  • ensure a minimal personal commitment to the project work for half a day per week on average for the duration of the project.

Submitting the application

Applicants are required to submit a Project Proposition before they can submit a Full Proposal. The closing date for the submission of Project Propositions is Thursday 16 March 2023, 14:00 CET. Project Propositions and Full Proposals can be submitted only via NWO’s electronic application system ISAAC: www.isaac.nwo.nl. For technical questions, contact the ISAAC helpdesk.

Downloads and links

OEC 2023 – Open eScience Call 2023

OEC 2023 – 1. Template Project Proposition

OEC 2023 – 2. Template Full Proposal

OEC 2023 – 3. Template Software Management Plan 2023

Bijzondere voorwaarden NLeSC subsidies 2023

IP Rules for NLeSC projects 2023

Download all

Contact details

If you have specific questions about this call for proposals and the assessment procedure, please contact Sam Woldringh, Program Officer NWO, via +31 (0)70 349 4101 or

For technical questions, you can contact the ISAAC helpdesk from Monday to Friday from 10.00 to 17.00 hours (CET) via ISAAC +31 70 3440600 or 

For questions about the Netherlands eScience Center, or the eScience requirements for this call, please contact Programme Management Netherlands eScience Center via +31 (0)20 460 4770 or

Other opportunities

We are always open for opportunities to collaborate with our colleagues! Be sure to check out our other calls for proposals.