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Call for Proposals for projects


Start date: 24 January 2013

Version: January 2013



In February 2011, the Dutch Cabinet initiated a new companies policy. Nine top sectors were designated in the Dutch economy in which investments will be made to improve the competitive strength of the Netherlands in these areas and consequently to boost our prosperity. The new policy means: fewer grants in exchange for lower taxes, fewer and simpler rules, wider access to industrial funding, improved use of the knowledge infrastructure by the private sector and an improved link with the tax system, education and diplomacy for the benefit of the private sector.
This policy forms part of the government's ambition to realise:

  • a top 5 position for the Netherlands in the world's knowledge economies (in 2020);

  • a rise in the Dutch R&D efforts to 2.5% of GDP (in 2020);

  • Top Consortia for Knowledge and Innovation (TKI) in which both public and private parties participate to the tune of more than € 500 million, of which at least 40% of the funding comes from the private sector (in 2015).

At the Cabinet's request, leading entrepreneurs and researchers from the nine appointed top sectors defined joint roadmaps at the end of 2011 and made proposals for the formation of Top Consortia for Knowledge and Innovation (TKIs) in which demand-driven research will be realised to boost the Dutch economy. Within the TKI Maritime, various rounds of consultations have resulted in a Maritime Innovation and Research Agenda. This Innovation and Research agenda provides the direction in which research focused on the TKI Maritime should develop in the next few years.

NWO has committed itself to the new companies policy by encouraging application-oriented, fundamental scientific research for purposes of furthering the various top sectors. This call for the TKI Maritime (hereinafter MARITIME 2013) gives substance to NWO's contribution to the Top Sector Water.
Two NWO units work together in the MARITIME 2013 call.

  • Technology Foundation STW (STW) (NWO lead party for MARITIME) 1

  • NWO Earth and Life Sciences (ALW)

In this Call for Proposals, the guidelines that proposals should satisfy in the context of MARITIME 2013 are described and the methods for submission, selection and management are explained.


The total STW/NWO budget for MARITIME 2013 research projects amounts to € 4.5 million and is earmarked exclusively for research projects that fit within the TKI Maritime Innovation and Research Agenda. This budget for MARITIME 2013 will be used for two types of projects - namely, technical-scientific projects and multidisciplinary projects with a link to the impact on the marine environment. For the financing of these research projects, private co-funding (in cash and in kind) is required in addition to the NWO contribution.

Within the Top Sector Water, the Maritime Sector is a vital motor and booster for a strong Dutch economy. The Netherlands is the maritime centre of Europe and has the strongest maritime cluster in the world. The total direct turnover is € 26.3 billion and the sector employs 185,000 people. The Maritime cluster's ambition is to expand this strength based on the "The Netherlands: World Leader in Maritime" Maritime Innovation Contract with the motto "Safe, sustainable and economically strong". So the Maritime cluster wishes to combine the economic and social challenges. The following Innovation themes have therefore been selected:

  • Capturing resources from the ocean (raw materials and offshore energy)

  • Clean ships (fuels, fuel savings and omissions)

  • Smart ships (special ships, defence, security)

  • Smart ports (interaction between ships and seaport infrastructure)

TKI Maritime has presented a cohesive Innovative and Research agenda for this, as cooperation is necessary in the entire chain of "Fundamental research ↔ Applied research ↔ Valorisation" if innovative ships and offshore structures are to be realised. This demands excellent research in the following six maritime knowledge areas:

  • Hydrodynamics

  • Structures and materials

  • Systems and processes

  • Design and construction technology

  • Maritime operations

  • Impact on the marine environment

The entire framework of the Maritime Innovation Contract is illustrated below:

The associated Innovation and Research agenda can be found in Appendix 6.

Programme description

MARITIME 2013 was set up to encourage excellent fundamental and application-oriented research within this Innovation and Research Agenda in order to strengthen the Netherlands' competitive position in this area. An important aspect of this is the collaboration between knowledge institutions and industry. This is expressed, for example, by the requirement for in-cash co-funding by the sector of at least 25% of the STW/NWO contribution and, possibly, for an in-kind contribution as well.
The projects to be submitted must also make an explicit contribution to at least one of the topics on the Innovation and Research Agenda. Projects where that is not the case or not sufficiently the case will be excluded from the procedure. Therefore, in cases of doubt, applicants should contact the STW contact person for this call or the TKI Maritime registrar (see Appendix 6).
Within the MARITIME 2013 programme, the topics of the Maritime Innovation and Research Agenda are subdivided into two compartments in the following manner, each with a separate budget:

Multidisciplinary projects

with a link to the impact on the marine environment

Technical-scientific projects


3 M€

In the "Multidisciplinary projects" compartment, a minimum of two researchers from the maritime knowledge areas work together, and at least one of them realises research into the impact on the marine environment. The objective of this compartment is to make a link between the influence of maritime operations on the marine environment and related maritime knowledge areas. This insight is important for ensuring a "licence to operate". Examples of possible project topics in this compartment are:

  • "Deep-sea mining": one of the researchers looks at the cutting process on the sea floor under hyperbaric circumstances (the Systems and Processes knowledge area), while the other studies the effect of this operation on the sea floor.

  • "Underwater noise from ships underway": one of the researchers looks at the source of the noise such as cavitation (the Hydrodynamics knowledge area), while the other studies the effects of cavitation noise on mammals.

  • "Emissions from engines running on LNG": one of the researchers looks at the reduction of methane sludge in engines (the Systems and Processes knowledge area), while the other studies the influence of LNG engine emissions on the environment.

  • "Safe operations in ice": one researcher looks at the forces exerted by ice on ships under Arctic conditions (the Maritime Operations knowledge area), while the other studies the influence of ice-breaking operations on animals in the environment.

Applicants must state in their proposal which compartment they are submitting to (see Guidelines for applicants).

The best research proposals in terms of quality will be awarded funding.


In addition to excellent science, STW/NWO wants to promote the use of knowledge. STW/NWO uses the term "utilisation" to designate the entire range of activities whose purpose it is to maximise the chance of research results being used by third parties. To promote utilisation in addition to scientific quality, a user committee is set up for each project.

STW/NWO expects the applicants to actively cooperate in the support of utilisation and to support STW's aim of transferring knowledge to users. Users, user committees and intellectual property play a crucial role in utilisation.


Research users are defined as natural persons or legal entities (national or international) who can apply the results of the research.

A distinction can sometimes be made between direct users and end users. In that case, the identification of end users alone is not enough. The explicit intention is to involve potential technology users and end users outside one's own circle and outside the applying researchers' research area from the beginning of the project until its end. The users must be able to apply the knowledge from the research in the (medium) long term. (Potential) users must be named in the utilisation section of the research proposal.
User committees

To encourage the actual and effective transfer of knowledge from the research to users, STW and/or ALW set up a user committee for each research project in consultation with the project leader. Main and co-applicants / (sub) project leaders, the researchers involved (temporarily assigned to the project) and potential users (or their representatives) participate in the user committee meeting. The project leader chairs the meetings and STW provides secretarial services. At least four users must be members of the users committee, and at least 50% of the users should come from industry. The members of the users committee are appointed by STW. With their participation, the members commit themselves to the conditions included in the "Task and working method of STW user committees" (including those with respect to confidentiality of information and how to deal with the project's results). For research in progress, STW can change the composition of the user committee if there is reason to do so.

The committee can advise the project leader about the direction of the research to facilitate the application of the results. The project leader always bears the final responsibility for the realisation of the research described in the funded project plan.

The project leader reports on the progress of the project twice annually in writing, after which the user committee meets to discuss the progress. By exception and at the decision of STW, the frequency of the user committee meetings may be decreased.

Utilisation of the research results is a fixed topic of the discussion. This includes collaboration with (potential) users, knowledge protection and commercialisation of the knowledge.
The results of the project are confidential until STW decides otherwise or until STW gives permission for publication. A publication is the public disclosure of results in any manner such as, for example, a text (including publications, abstracts, mentions on a website), image or picture or audio carrier with the exception of the public disclosure arising from (the application for) a patent. The members of the user committee are the first to have insight into the research results, i.e. before publication. STW submits draft publications to the user committee for advice concerning whether or not the publication contains a patentable discovery and/or whether there are utilisation possibilities. If measures for knowledge protection are necessary, such as the submission of a patent, STW may decide to delay the publication for a maximum of nine months.
Intellectual Property policy (IP policy)

STW's IP policy is applicable to MARITIME 2013.

The most important principles of STW's IP policy are:

  • The ownership of the research results from the study jointly resides with STW and the research institution(s) where the research is conducted.

  • Protection of the research results, confidentiality and publications. STW places considerable importance on the protection of knowledge in order to achieve knowledge transfer. When users join the user committee at the start of or during the course of the research, the users commit themselves to the confidentiality of the research results. The researcher is required to notify STW immediately of any inventions.

  • Via STW, the project leader submits draft publications to the user committee for advice concerning whether or not the publication contains a patentable discovery and/or whether there are utilisation possibilities. If measures for knowledge protection are necessary, such as the submission of a patent, STW may decide to delay the publication for a maximum of nine months.

  • Members of the user committee are the first to receive information about the results of the research. Membership in the user committee or a contribution to the research does not automatically give the user the right to apply the results or to commercialise them.

Option rights and the provision of licence:

  • Users or groups of users who, in STW's estimation, make a substantial financial contribution to the project have the right to an option to the use/application of the project results during the duration of the project. STW will, in any case, not consider a contribution substantial if it is less than 10% of the total financing awarded to the project (required financial resources plus in-kind contributions).

  • The right of use/application itself will be obtained via a licence agreement, transfer agreement or a know-how agreement. This may be a so-called second agreement after an option agreement, but both the option and the licence may be established in a single agreement. In general, users will be given the possibility to apply the knowledge and methods developed in the project to their normal operations, but specific agreements must be made about this beforehand in a licence agreement or transfer agreement.

A licence agreement or transfer agreement contains in any case agreements as to:

  • (non-) exclusivity

  • royalty-free research and educational licence

  • normal market remuneration

  • anti-graveyard clause or best efforts obligation to application or commercialisation

  • reporting requirements

  • indemnification/liability

Assessment procedure

STW and NWO-ALW work together in MARITIME 2013. STW conducts the assessment procedure together with NWO-ALW, and STW bears the responsibility for this. Projects awarded funding are included in the STW management organisation (hereinafter referred to in the text as "STW"). All proposals are subject to the same rules concerning the application and assessment procedure and management (including intellectual property rules).
Submission period and assessment period

Research proposals may be submitted between 24 January 2013 and 23 April 2013. If the request meets the admissibility requirements and submission criteria, STW shall take the research proposal into consideration. An assessment period of 6 months is aimed for (see Appendix 5 for the overall timeline). If a very large number of proposals are submitted and preselection is necessary then the assessment period can become longer.

Admissibility requirements

STW confirms the receipt of the research proposal. Then, using the admissibility requirements, STW determines whether the research proposal can be taken into consideration. If the requirements set and accessibility criteria are not satisfied (see section ‘Guidelines for applicants’) or the information required is incomplete, then the applicant will be given the opportunity to complete the research proposal within 10 working days. The submission criteria are:

  • The subject of the proposal should explicitly contribute to the TKI Maritime Innovation and Research Agenda;

  • The size of the grant requested from STW/NWO does not exceed €500,000;

  • The total project costs are not more than €1,000,000 and the co-funding is not more than 50% of the project costs;

  • The total co-funding (in cash plus in kind) is at least 35% of the project costs applied for (see Appendix 1);

  • At least 25% of the total requested from STW/NWO funding is in the form of in-cash co-funding (see Appendix 1);

  • All pieces of evidence requested for the project proposal should be sent together with the application. If identical or very similar research proposals are submitted to other NWO calls then this must be stated in the proposal.

The only proposals admitted to the assessment procedure are those that, after a possible modification within the set period of 10 working days, satisfy the admissibility and submission requirements.

The main applicant will hear whether or not the research proposal is being considered within about 20 working days of the project's registration.
Assessment of relevance

Admission to the next stage of the procedure partly depends on how well the proposal fits into the TKI Maritime Innovation and Research Agenda.

Relevance is determined prior to the start of STW's assessment procedure. The proposal must state clearly how the project proposal will make an explicit contribution to the TKI Maritime Innovation and Research Agenda. Not only does this concern the research objectives stated in Appendix 6, but also the application of the research results to the maritime sector.
On the basis of this explanation, STW determines whether a proposal fits within the Innovation and Research agenda or not. If there are any doubts about the relevance, STW will coordinate with the TKI Maritime board.
The TKI Maritime board assesses the doubtful cases and, if the proposal does not fit into the Innovation and Research Agenda, must give reasons for this and have this reasoning be signed by the chairman of the TKI, together with the chairman of the TKI Maritime Knowledge Programme Council. In the event of a possible conflict of interest, a replacement will have to be found for the assessor concerned.
The STW Board adopts the relevance decision made by STW or the TKI Board within the priority research themes.

If at least four times more proposals are submitted than can be funded, STW/NWO retains the right to perform a preselection. With an available research budget of about € 4.5 million and a maximum NWO contribution of €500,000 per project, it will be possible to fund around nine proposals. Preselection takes place via an assessment committee that evaluates proposals for their scientific quality and utilisation quality. STW/NWO appoints this committee after consulting the TKI Maritime board about the potential members.

Assessment by referees

Proposals that were assessed during the preselection procedure as being of sufficient quality, or if no preselection was conducted, then all proposals, will be submitted to about three national/international experts in the discipline concerned. These referees are from academia, industry and large research institutes. Referees remain anonymous. They assess the proposal using specific questions about the scientific quality and the utilisation (see Appendix 4). Applicants are advised to anticipate these questions in the research proposal.

STW compiles the remarks of the separate referees, anonymised and possibly paraphrased, into a so-called "protocol initiation".
Applicants' rebuttals

The STW office sends the "protocol initiation" to the main applicant with a request to respond to the referees' comments. This party provides a response - in English - to each question or comment. The referees' comments together with the response from the applicants forms, in its entirety, the protocol that the jury members use in the consideration of their assessment.

Jury procedure and decision making

STW makes use of independent multidisciplinary juries consisting of 10-12 members. These are highly qualified and/or experienced persons with an affinity for technology development. The jury members are nominated by STW, ALW and the TKI Maritime board and come from universities, companies or large research institutes.

The jury procedure is done entirely in writing, without any consultation among the jury members. A jury member does not know who the other jury members are in the same round of funding. Jury members usually receive around 20 research proposals with the associated protocol. Each jury member gives each proposal two scores that carry equal weighting, one for the scientific quality and one for the utilisation (perspective) (see Appendix 5).
Proposals can only be considered for funding if both the utilisation quality criterion and the scientific quality criterion together score no more than 7.0. Appendix 4 contains an explanation of the meaning of the quality scores.
Depending on the number of applications, STW may make use of parallel juries for this call.
The final decision is made by the STW Board. The Board makes granting decisions based on the prioritisation of the research proposals per compartment. The principle here is the ranking determined on the basis of the jury scores. Unfortunately, in practice, the total available budget is not expected to be sufficient to finance all of the good-quality proposals. The Board does not judge the scientific quality of the research proposals.
Upon awarding funding, the Board may set additional conditions. For example, these may involve intellectual property, co-funding by (potential) users, large investments and/or special infrastructural facilities.
Detailed information about the jury procedure for both the jury members(s) and the applicant can be found in "Guidelines for Jury Members" ( These guidelines also apply to the jury members for this call.
NWO Code of Conduct on Conflicts of Interest

STW/NWO invites active researchers from other research institutions and specialists from other knowledge intensive organisations to participate in the assessment procedures. These persons are themselves involved in current or new research and are usually part of large organisational associations and research networks. Therefore any form of conflict of interest, or even its appearance, should be avoided when assessing research proposals .

To offer the applying parties a fair and transparent assessment, STW/NWO abides by a code of conduct on conflicts of interest. The code of conduct identifies the possible forms of conflict of interest and indicates which measures are to be taken to prevent conflicts of interest. The parties to whom the code of conduct applies are: referees, jury members, committee members, members of decision-making bodies and STW/NWO employees.
The complete text of the code of conduct on conflicts of interest that STW/NWO uses can be found at:

After awarding

(see also STW's General Funding Conditions at
Projects awarded funding are included in the STW management organisation (hereinafter referred to in the text as "STW"). Project leaders and staff must state in all their communications related to the project (such as publications and presentations) that STW and NWO are the financiers.
All projects shall be treated equally. This means, for example, that the rules concerning intellectual property will be the same for all projects. STW's General Funding Conditions, including intellectual property rules, apply to MARITIME 2013 and the projects awarded funding.
The main applicant is the project leader. For large projects separate project component leaders need to be designated. If funding is awarded, each research institution involved receives an award letter with appendices in which the legal and financial conditions for the funding are stated and which must be signed for approval by each research institution separately. The credits for materials, travel and investments are initially awarded for no more than two years. The personnel credit for each position is awarded initially for no more than three years. STW reserves any remaining monies for continuation after two years.
Start and start date of the project

The credits awarded only become available after the necessary documents have been signed and received by STW and after all of the award conditions set have been met. If this latter is not the case, due to negotiations under way about intellectual property, for example, written permission may be requested of STW to allow the project to start. Without written permission, any financial risks are for the account of the applicant(s). The start date of the project is the date on which the first issuance of the awarded resources is made. This is usually not the date of the award. Usually it concerns the appointment of the first staff member at the project's expense.


For projects with a duration of three years or more, the user committee will inform STW about the continuation of the projects on the basis of the progress. STW will then make a decision about granting the credits reserved at the time of the award.


An extension after the termination of a project is only possible to a very limited extent. Expectations with respect to utilisation are the determinant factor in this. Against the background of a utilisation perspective, remaining financial resources for the projects can be used for the extension of one personnel position (1 fte) for a period not to exceed three months.

Termination and end date

The end date of a project is the date on which the last temporary appointment is terminated.

The project leader then receives two final forms from STW for completing the project both in terms of content and financially. Unused credits lapse after the termination of the project. The summaries requested in the final form are used for publication in the STW utilisation report. STW issues a utilisation report annually in which projects are reported on five and 10 years after their start.

Cessation of a project by STW before the official ending date is possible if the requirements and/or financing conditions are not or are no longer met or if the scientific quality of the research and/or utilisation of the results of the research are below par.

Other information

The contact person for this call is:

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