Netspar supports innovative academic research on all aspects of the social sciences related to aging and retirement. As part of these efforts, Netspar offers Theme Grants for three years, with a maximum of k€ 250  per project. This year, Netspar has k€750 to allocate. Furthermore, there is additional possibility for funding by Instituut Gak by means of an extra theme project (2). This could raise the total amount to allocate new multi-year pension research in 2020 to € 1 million.

Netspar will inform interested researchers in more detail about the new extra funding possibility by Instituut Gak during the Matchmaking Event on March 18th, 2021. See also the Q&A. On this event we will also inform researchers about the co-funding of granted theme projects by Click NL (3).

All proposals should be relevant for the Netspar research agenda 2019-2023 and the 2019-2023 Netspar Action Plan. Netspar encompasses a large variety of academic disciplines ranging e.g. from economics to law, sociology, psychology, communication science and data science.  Research proposals from all relevant disciplines that can contribute to the Netspar research agenda are encouraged. Current topics on the research agenda are e.g.:

  • Pension Reform: e.g. communication, choice architecture and the measurement of preferences;
  • Life-cycle planning: e.g. investment policy & sustainability;
  • Society in transition: e.g. vitality & working longer.

(1) co-funded by Click NL: Top Consortium of the Creative Industry (

(2)To be eligible for the extra funding opportunity by Instituut Gak please tick the box for your consent on the application form

(3) To be eligible for co-funding by ClickNL please tick the box for your consent on the application form

Main Characteristics

  • Funding for three years with a maximum of k€ 250.
  • The project team consists of several academics plus staff members from (an) industry partner(s).
  • The project leader is encouraged to organize a theme conference to present their research to the Netspar partners.
  • Project team members are available during the course of the project to present research results at Netspar events and are expected to participate in task forces meetings (“werkgroepdagen”) when writing industry-oriented Netspar publications.
  • The project leader is responsible for the project in terms of content and finances. The project leader also serves as the first point of contact for project monitoring.

 Selection Criteria

  • Proposals must link up with the Netspar research agenda.
  • The application must be submitted by a Dutch university or knowledge institute that will be responsible for the administration if the grant is awarded. The proposed project leader must be employed by this Dutch university or knowledge institute.
  • At least 10% of the budget provided by Netspar (in €) must be supplied by one or more academics associated with a foreign university.
  • A proposal where the university or knowledge institute strengthens the research project by offering matching in kind is strongly encouraged.
  • Active participation in the Netspar Match Making event (March 18, 2021) is highly recommended when submitting a proposal.

Application Requirements

Proposals for a Theme Grant must contain the following documents:

Only applications in accordance with the Netspar format will be accepted for the selection procedure.

 Selection Process

There is one selection round each year.

  • Applications are evaluated for academic quality by the Scientific Council. In some cases additional reviewers will be apporached by the chair of Scientific Council. At least three members of the Scientific Council will judge and grade the academic quality of the proposals. Proposals have to get an average of 3.5 points (out of 5) in order to continue on to the next evaluation round.
  • Applications with sufficient academic quality are submitted to the Partner Research Council, which makes recommendations to the Netspar Board of Directors.
  • Grants are awarded by the Netspar Board of Directors.
  • During the Matchmaking Event of March, 18 2021, Netspar will provide detailed information about the  addtional possibility of funding of project(s) by Instituut Gak.

Timetable for 2021

March 18 Match Making Event
April 20 Deadline for draft version of application (Completed Application Form and Annexes I, II, III).
April 20 – May 20 Feedback meeting with the Scientific Director of Netspar or program coordinator(s)
June 24 Deadline for submitting final version (including all documents; Completed Application form and Annexes I, II, III, IV, V).
July 1 – August 5 Evaluation by Netspar’s Scientific Council
August 19 Deadline for applicant responses to comments made by Netspar’s Scientific Council
September 16 Recommendation by Netspar’s Partner Research Council
October Formal decision by Netspar Board
October Administrative kick-off meeting
January 2022 Start of project



Submit to and mention ‘Application for Netspar Theme Project’ in the subject line.



For questions, please contact Netspar: Silvie van Halder, Policy Officer +31(0)134663793,

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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