Cross-over Call NWO: Interdisciplinary Public-Private Partnerships tackling societal challenges

The Netherlands organization for scientific research NWO has announced a new call for proposals, the Cross-over Programme. This programme funds public-private partnerships that address important societal challenges. The awarded consortia should combine expertise across research disciplines and topsectors thereby yielding innovative insights with great societal and economic impact. Topics are wide-ranging but should fall within the Dutch knowledge and innovation agenda. With a cross-disciplinary focus and relatively high budget per awarded project, NWO expects new research fields to emerge as a result of this call.

Focus on Societal Challenges

While the proposal subjects can cover all research fields, NWO has limited the topics to the 7 grand societal challenges presented in the EU Horizon 2020 programme.

  • Health, demographic change and wellbeing;
  • Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine, maritime and inland; water research and bio-economy;
  • Secure, clean and efficient energy;
  • Smart, green and integrated transport;
  • Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials;
  • Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies;
  • Secure societies.

In the first phase of the application procedure the committee will select per challenge several consortia that are invited to submit their full proposal for the second phase. In that latter phase the success rate for awarded grants will be around 50%.

Who can apply?

Applicants are researchers working at a Dutch university, KNAW or NWO institute, or at a research institute recognized by NWO. Consortium partners can come from many different sectors of society: companies (including SMEs), applied research organizations (TO2), applied universities, civil organizations, departments, national, local or regional governments and other (public) research institutes. Interestingly, in accordance with the announced NWO emphasis on internationalization, partners from abroad with unique expertise essential for the realization of the project, can likely be part of the consortium. The final details of the call, including the internationalization module, are expected to be published this month.


In the first phase application, financing can be requested for assembly of the consortia. In the second phase, funds can be requested for personnel, materials, investments, knowledge utilization, internationalization and project management. NWO has dedicated a total budget of 40 M€ for the Cross-over programme. Partners should fund 50%, NWO will fund the other 50% of the budget. NWO expects project sizes to be between 10 M€ and 20 M€.

Time schedule

  • July 2018: publication call;
  • October/November 2018: first phase: submission Expression of Interest (EoI);
  • December 2018: advice on EoI;
  • January 2019: consortia assembly for phase 2;
  • April/May 2019: second phase: submission final proposals;
  • Summer/fall 2019: assessment period;
  • Fall 2019: announcement rewarded grant proposals.

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