Open eScience Call 2021

Empowering researchers across all disciplines through advanced research software (Closed for submission)

This call is now closed.

The Netherlands eScience Center invites domain researchers and ICT researchers working in the Netherlands to apply for projects requiring innovative and advanced research software, and involving in-kind investment of research software engineers.

Purpose of this call 

This call for proposals supports research that requires the development and application of advanced digital technologies and research software. The projects 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.

Projects receive an in-kind investment rather than funding. This means that a dedicated team of research software engineers (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. This call offers two types of projects: early career projects and spearhead projects.

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 work plan describing the measures that will be taken to ensure its usability and availability beyond the duration of the project itself

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

  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
  • Life Sciences
  • Social Sciences and Humanities

To maximize the added value and impact for applicants, the technological needs and requirements of the project should match with the expertise of the eScience Center. Broadly defined, the Center’s current areas of expertise include:

  • 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

For more information, please download the full Call for Proposal Open eScience 2021 below.

Who may apply?

Proposals can be submitted by researchers from any Dutch university (including university medical centres) or research institute affiliated with NWO or KNAW. Each proposal is to be formally submitted by a single named researcher (the ‘Lead Applicant’ or LA). 

The Lead Applicant must

  • be in possession of a PhD
  • hold a permanent contract (for spearhead projects) or hold a contract for at least the duration of the requested project (for early career projects)
  • ensure a minimal personal commitment of 0.3 fte per year to the project
  • have demonstrable knowledge and experience in applying digital methodologies to research

For a complete list of requirements, please download the full Call for Proposal Open eScience 2021 below.

What can be applied for?

The call makes available in-kind support by allocating the time of Research Software Engineers (RSEs) employed by the eScience Center to the project. The eScience Center’s in-kind contribution is calculated in ‘person years’ or PYR.

This call offers applicants two options to choose from: early career and spearhead.

  1. Early career projects are open exclusively for researchers at an early stage in their career. (1.0 Person Year (PYR) of a research software engineer)
  2. Spearhead projects are open for all researchers. (2.0 Person Year (PYR) of a research software engineer)

1. Early career projects
Early career projects are targeted at lead applicants who are at an early stage of their academic career. Lead applicants must have obtained their doctorate within the last six years; this call is open to researchers who meet this criterion on 1 January 2021. The eScience Center applies NWO’s extension clause for parents.  A request for extension, to be made directly to the eScience Center, must be approved before submission of the full proposal. An early career project may request an in-kind budget of 1.0 PYR. The project duration should be between 12 and 18 months.

2. Spearhead projects
Spearhead projects are open to all researchers. They involve a community of multiple researchers (PhDs, postdocs, tenured research and support staff) from more than one research performing organization. A spearhead project may be requested for an in-kind budget of 2.0 PYR. The project duration should be between 24 and 36 months.

When to apply?

The deadline for submission of full proposals is: Thursday 2 September 2021, 14:00 CET. Full proposals must be submitted in ISAAC. To submit a full proposal, select your previously submitted proposition in ISAACs ‘Aanvragen’ (Applications’) menu, and convert the proposition to a ‘Aanvraag’.

Information event

To inform interested applicants of the specific aims of this call for proposals, as well as the role and expertise of the eScience Center, an online information event has been organized on 23 March 2021 (14.00-16.00). Missed it? Watch the recording of our presentation or click here and scroll to the bottom for a list of the top questions researchers asked.

Contact details

Programme Director Netherlands eScience Center
Tel.: +31 (0)20 460 4770


Open eScience Call complete text
Project Proposal
Software Management Plan
Terms and Conditions (in Dutch)
IP rules