International Comparative Research Grant 2024

Call for Proposals; Deadline: March 1, 2024


Netspar (Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement; based in the Netherlands) invites applications for its International Comparative Research Grant. In 2024, Netspar will offer up to three International Comparative Research Grants of €20,000 each.

Goal of the grant

The goal of the Netspar International Comparative Research Grant is to support studies that compare the regulatory, policy and product choices surrounding pensions, aging and retirement made 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 of relevant questions include, but are not limited to:

  • What is an adequate level of pension income during retirement?
  • 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 are the preferences of individuals regarding risk-taking and sustainable investments?
  • How should pension capital be invested during accumulation and decumulation?
  • Should pension capital be invested in a sustainable manner and, if so, how?
  • How can trust in the pension system be enhanced?
  • How should we design policies targeted on the labor 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 labor market, housing and healthcare?
  • What is an adequate balance between PAYG and funded systems?
  • Which groups are not covered by the supplementary pension systems and what are potential instruments to address this issue?


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 of the paper should be to compare the regulatory, policy 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 to present (a preliminary version of) the paper at the Netspar International Pension Workshop in 2025.
  • Invitation to present the paper at other Netspar events.
  • Budget maximum of €20,000 (no budget specification is required).


Selection criteria

  • The proposal must be related to the Netspar Knowledge Agenda 2023-2027.
  • The application has to be submitted by a university or knowledge institute, Dutch or non-Dutch.
  • The applicant(s) have adequate institutional knowledge on the countries and the regulatory, policy and product choices they want to compare across countries.
  • 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 International Comparative Research Grant by submitting the application form by March 1, 2024 at the latest. For examples of previous projects, please visit our website.
  • Please submit your application to [email protected] and mention ‘Application for Netspar International Comparative Research Grant’ in the subject line.



For questions, please contact Netspar: Silvie van Halder, Policy Officer, +31 (0)13 466 3793, [email protected]


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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