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NWO’s KIC has been simplified: an explanation of the new structure.

December 15 2019

NWO has changed the structure for funding public-private partnerships in fundamental and practical research (Knowledge and Innovation Covenant, KIC). The new, thematic missions attract more parties and will cover higher budgets. Due to the new structure of the funding instruments for public private partnerships many existing programmes will land in one of the main lines of the KIC. In this article we discuss the 4 main topics for which 118 million euros have been reserved annually and we provide a 'was-will be list'.

New themes and new structure for PPP funding instruments

The financial contribution of NWO for funding for fundamental and practical research in public-private partnerships is laid down in the Knowledge and Innovation Covenant (KIC) 2020-2023. The new thematic missions of KIC 2020-2023 are based on the government's mission-driven top sector and innovation policy. The missions have been drawn up for a longer period and include four major societal topics: Energy Transition & Sustainability, Agriculture, Water & Food, Health & Care, and Safety. Additionally, further development of key technologies such as photonics, artificial intelligence, nano-, quantum-, and bio-technology has been marked as highly important. Due to the new structure of the funding instruments for public private partnerships many existing programmes will land in one of the main lines of the KIC. 

Available funding: Four new main lines

The themes of KIC 2020-2023 have been further elaborated into the Knowledge and Innovation Agendas (KIA). The KIAs contain research and innovation topics that knowledge institutions and companies can address in public-private partnerships. 

1. MISSION - mission-driven calls

For mainline 'MISSION' a limited number of major thematic calls are developed each year, with a volume of between 5 and 15 million euros. Researchers may submit proposals for collaborative projects, with a budget of 750,000 to 4 million euros per proposal. The first mission-driven calls will open in the first quarter of 2020. In research aimed at innovation, the themes are determined by the priorities from the KIAs. This is subject to a compulsory 30% co-financing, of which at least the hell aomsg of private couples. In calls with a focus on knowledge development, NWO defines themes on the basis of the needs of the scientific field. A co-financing of 10% will be required for this.

Annual budget: 55 million euros

>> Mission-driven calls in KIC 2020-2023

2. DEMAND - partnerships

Through this main line, a number of research issues from external private and/or public partners are elaborated each year, with an annual scope between 3 and 10 million euros. NWO's contribution is between 1.5 and 5 million euros and the partner(s) must match the NWO contribution in cash. Researchers can initiate projects or participate in a partnership. At the first half of 2020 NWO will set up an open 'counter', as a contact point for interested parties. Selected partnerships will be developed in close cooperation between the initiating party and NWO. 

Annual budget: 15 million euros

>> Demand-driven partnerships in KIC 2020-2023

3. STRATEGY - large, long-term, strategic collaborations

The KIC will set up a limited number of long-term programmes (LTP) over a 10-year period.  An LTP offers a powerful boost to the development of a scientific field, focusing on a societal theme and/or key technology. Examples of current LTPs are QuTech, ARC CBBC and ARCNL. New LTPs can have a size of between 3 and 10 million euros per year, for which NWO's contribition is limited to 25-33%. The rest of the funding is provided by the private and public partners and knowledge institutions involved. Also for this main line NWO will open a 'counter' where participants can register in the first half of 2020.

Annual budget: 30 million euros (including 10 million euros reserved for current long-term programmes).

>> Strategy-driven collaborations in KIC 2020-2023

4. PRACTICE - innovation networks and regional collaboration for practice-oriented researchers 

The focus of this main line is to make it possible for practice-oriented researchers to build up innovation networks and collaborate with partners and SMEs from the region. Funding is available through instruments of the Taskforce for Applied Research (SIA).

Annual budget: 18 million euros

>> Practice-driven research in KIC 2020-2023

Was-will-be list of current PPP programs in new KIC structure

To get an overview of how existing NWO programs of public-private partnership fit into the new main lines of the KIC 2023, visit this 'was-will-be' list of NWO here (in Dutch only).

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