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The aim of the Faculty of Impact is to provide talented fellows from all disciplines with the opportunity to combine entrepreneurship with science. Fellows have an innovative idea that offers opportunities to realize social impact. This could be a tool to stimulate behavior change, a technological innovation, a new business model, consultancy to support non-profit ideas, and so on. During a two-year FoI programme, the fellows have the opportunity to further develop and scale up their creative and pioneering ideas. The social anchoring of the idea is part of this, as well as the conditions of implementation, creating awareness, developing dissemination plans and finding opportunities to finance the idea.

PhD students who are finalising their PhD (i.e. they have already planned the date for their defence, have submitted their thesis to the reading committee or similar) or
Postdocs, assistant/associate professors, other scientific personnel (max scale 11) or similar positions at universities of applied sciences may submit an application if they have a position at one of the following organisations:

  • Universities located in the Kingdom of the Netherlands;
  • University medical centres;
  • Institutes affiliated to the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) or NWO;
  • Netherlands Cancer Institute;
  • The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen;
  • The DUBBLE Beamline at the ESRF in Grenoble;
  • Naturalis Biodiversity Centre;
  •  Advanced Research Centre for NanoLithography (ARCNL);
  •  Princess Máxima Centre;

Universities of applied sciences, funded in accordance with Article 1.8 of the Dutch Higher Education and Research Act.

For an application within this Call for proposals, a maximum of € 185,000 is available per fellow of the FoI programme. The support program has a maximum term of two years. For this Call for proposals, budget can be spent for the modules ‘Personnel costs’ (including ‘Replacement’) and ‘Material’ (up to a maximum of € 25,000, limited to specified travel- and accommodation costs and Project-related goods/services).

You can. However, our premise is that the applicants spend all/most of their time on the Faculty of Impact program. With the personal grant, fellows work three weeks per month at their own university, university of applied sciences or research institution in the Netherlands (the knowledge institution), on the case that they proposed in the application for the personal grant. In addition, the fellows come together one week per month for intensive sessions to increase their skills in applied research and, in doing so, develop their entrepreneurial skills as well. They also participate in peer-to-peer sessions and masterclasses about specific subjects and liaise with relevant industrial sectors or the public sphere.
The starting point is that you are highly motivated and that you have an idea that can make a big impact. After nine months, the progress of the fellows will be reviewed by their supervisor and mentors to evaluate the status of their project and their personal development. At this point, the fellow will discuss how to continue developing the idea and in which role they want to continue: as CEO of the business or as scientific lead within the company, or whether they prefer to stay in academia and contribute to the project in the role of academic advisor.
The aim of the Faculty of Impact is to provide talented fellows from all disciplines with the opportunity to combine entrepreneurship with science and are interested in startting their own business. If you already have a start-up you are not eligible to join this program. Maybe an other instrument of NWO (like Take-off) will be interesting for you.
Yes. To quote Steve Jobs (which we rarely do, but here we agree with him): business is not that complicated. We’ll teach you about business. We also appreciate non-profit ideas as long as you can show us a path to big impact. The main thing is that you are intrigued by the opportunity you see to have a positive impact on the world, based on your research.
Three weeks per month you will work from your research institute, one week a month you come together with the other fellows of the Faculty of Impact program.

De benchfee is een vrij inzetbaar bedrag dat te besteden is door de onderzoeken binnen het Faculty of Impact programma ( denk aan kosten lab, clinical trial etc)

The benchfee can be spent freely on research within the Faculty of Impact program, for example on lab costs, a clinical trial etc.

The cofinancing is a cash-contribution of the knowledge institute to the FoI training/coaching program. The contribution is invoiced annually from the VU – as secretary of the FoI program – to the knowledge institution. The sum is based on the costs incurred (the VU reports incurred costs to the participating universities on an annual basis) and amounts to approx. 25 kEuros/year per fellow (i.e. approx. 50 kEuros for the duration of the 2-year program).
You cannot claim expenses for colleagues or student assistants.
This is about replacement needed for activities (such as teaching duties, management board tasks and research that is unrelated to your FoI case) that you cannot perform yourself, but that are necessary to free up the applicant. The applicable budget module is Personnel costs. For the replacement, you may enter a salary scale of scale 11 max. The replacement may have a salary scale higher than 11, but NWO reimburses up to scale 11 max.
If you’re in a salary scale higher than 11, you can still apply. However, NWO only reimburses up to scale 11. So, the costs that exceed this scale should then be paid by the institution.
You can apply if your defense date is set.
Yes, as long as you have a PhD degree and are employed at a Dutch university, university of applied science or another knowledge institute.
No, the grant and fellowship at the Faculty of Impact are awarded on a personal title. That said, it is possible to hire your colleague, include the additional salary in your budget proposal and/or share your salary.

You are very welcome to join, as long as you can show the review board a realistic path to big impact. A non-profit can be a great vehicle for impact, just look at Doctors without Borders, Wikipedia and Greenpeace.

The normal intellectual property (IP) guidelines of your university, hbo or knowledge institute apply. When no IP has been formalized, the new national guideline for IP (richtsnoer) applies: https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/documenten/kamerstukken/2020/09/23/kamerbrief-toezending-vsnu-richtsnoer-ier-en-studenten-nav-moties-wiersma-bruins. For more information on the rules within your university, please contact your KTO.

No, without the IP you don’t have a license to operate and are in essence a consultant working for the company owning the IP. However, if you can convince the company to give you an exclusive IP license you can join the program.

You can join one or more of our webinars for more information about the program and tips and tricks for your application.

Yes, researchers from all academic backgrounds are very welcome to apply. As long as your research can make a big impact, the program is for you.

Yes, if you have research that can be disruptive and can be turned into a business with impact, we would love to see your application. Also, if you need technical expertise but you don’t have it, we can help you find the right team.

We understand, we love teaching too. But no, we want you to focus 100% of your effort on starting your company.

Yes. To quote Steve Jobs (which we rarely do, but here we agree with him): business is not that complicated. We’ll teach you about business.

And about non-profits: As long as you can show us a path to big impact. To reiterate: the main thing is that you are intrigued by the opportunity you see to have a positive impact on the world, based on your research.

Technology Readiness Level (TRL) is a scale used to assess the maturity level of a particular technology, ranging from TRL 1 (basic principles observed and reported) to TRL 9 (actual system proven through successful mission operations).

Faculty of Impact is looking for technologies at TRL 4 and up.

An example of a Technology Readiness Level 4 (TRL 4) is a prototype of a new medical scanner developed to detect tumors in the human body.

At this stage, the project team has validated the technology in a laboratory environment and has built a working prototype capable of performing the intended function. The prototype may have already been tested in a simulated environment to assess performance and reliability.

At TRL 4, the main goal of the project is to further develop the concept and demonstrate that the prototype works according to specifications. It may still require improvements and optimizations before it is ready for further testing and validation in a real clinical environment (TRL 5).

Societal Readiness Level (SRL) is a scale used to assess the readiness and capacity of a society to accept, adopt, and adapt to a new technology or innovation, taking into account various societal, ethical, and regulatory factors.

Faculty of Impact is looking for technologies at SRL 4 and up.

At this stage, the technology has achieved significant familiarity and acceptance among the general public and key stakeholders. There have been public discussions and debates about the impact of the technology on society, and societal norms and ethical frameworks have been developed to guide its implementation and use. Policymakers are working on specific regulations and guidelines to regulate the technology and protect the interests of society. There may already have been some successful applications of the technology, and the public is starting to gain confidence in its safety and benefits.

However, the exact level of Societal Readiness will vary depending on the technology, the societal context, and the time. It requires a wide range of factors, including public engagement, legal and ethical frameworks, public trust, and consensus on the implementation and impact of the technology on society.