Comparative Research Grant 2022

Call for Proposals; Deadline: March 1, 2022


Netspar (Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement; based in the Netherlands) invites applications for a Comparative Research Grant. In 2022, Netspar will offer three Comparative Research Grants of €20,000 each.

Goal of the grant

The goal of the Netspar Comparative Research Grants is to compare important issues in the area of pensions, aging and retirement in different countries (including the Netherlands) and relate these to the academic literature.


The pension and retirement systems in different countries differ substantially in their institutional setting. Nevertheless, the over-arching issues are very similar across countries. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • What is an adequate level of pension income during retirement?
  • How should pension capital be invested during accumulation and decumulation?
  • Should pension capital be invested in a sustainable manner and what are the implications?
  • Which benefits could be means-tested and what are the implications for the system?
  • How much choice is preferable within the system?
  • How should we design choices (choice architecture) and support decision-making by individuals?
  • What approaches to communication about pensions are most effective?
  • What is the role of digitalisation, and how does this affect privacy considerations?
  • What are the preferences of individuals regarding risk-taking and sustainable investments?
  • How should the governance of pension funds (and related organisations) be organised?
  • How can trust in the pension system be enhanced?
  • How should we design policies targeted on the labour market for older workers?
  • How can we enhance lifelong learning, and/or employability and productivity among older workers?
  • How are choices surrounding pensions related to the labour market, housing, healthcare, inequality, and overall wellbeing?
  • What is an adequate balance between PAYG and funded systems?
  • Who are not covered by the supplementary pension systems and what are potential instruments to reduce that group?
  • What is the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on (future) pension adequacy?

Main characteristics of the grant

  • The project is expected to result in a paper for the Netspar Discussion Paper Series nine months to one year from the start of the grant.
  • The aim should be to compare the regulatory and product choices, actual behaviours, etc.  surrounding pensions, aging and retirement in two or more countries (the Netherlands must be included in the comparison).
  • The project is expected to explore and outline the links with the academic literature.
  • The paper should contribute to existing literature and add value to the Netspar Research Agenda.
  • Objective is to present (a preliminary version of) this paper at the Netspar International Pension Workshop in June 2023.
  • Invitation to discuss the paper at a Netspar event.
  • Budget maximum of €20,000 (no budget specification is required).

Selection criteria

  • The proposal must link up with the Netspar Research Agenda.
  • The application has to be submitted by a university or knowledge institute, Dutch or non-Dutch.
  • The applicant(s) have adequate institutional information on the countries and products they want to compare
  • The project is well-grounded in academic research and has a clear link to the pension practice.
  • The track record and expertise of the applicant(s) play an important role in the selection process.

Application process

  • Interested researchers can apply for a Netspar Comparative Research Grant by submitting the application form by March 1, 2022 at the latest. For examples of previous projects, please visit our website.


For any questions please contact Silvie van Halder,, +31 13 466 3793.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.


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