Netspar supports innovative academic research on all aspects of pensions, aging and retirement. Netspar encompasses a large variety of academic disciplines, ranging from economics to law, sociology, psychology, communication, epidemiology and applied data science.

Netspar invites the submission of proposals for a Talent Grant that aims to introduce promising junior (or medior) researchers into the Netspar network and pension practice. By providing part-time research funding, Netspar supports young scholars in gaining experience and knowledge of the Dutch pension practice and in contributing to the current discussions on pensions, aging and retirement in The Netherlands. The Talent Grant targets promising academic scholars with an interest in the (Dutch) pension practice and an aptitude for communicating about research to a broad audience.

For young scholars, the Netspar Talent Grant provides an excellent opportunity to work on translating scientific research into insights that can be used for real-life financial decision making and policy debates in the pension and insurance industry. This translation is supported through cooperation with senior Netspar researchers and active participation in the large and diverse Netspar network of researchers and pension professionals. This opportunity is especially relevant in light of the increased focus on impact and engagement as a third pillar of university activities next to academic research and education.


Main characteristics

The Talent Grant offers part-time funding for a period from two to five years for a maximum amount of k€ 100. The researcher commits to:

  • writing at least one academic paper relevant to the Netspar Knowledge Agenda 2023-2027,
  • writing at least two Netspar (applied) Industry Papers in cooperation with Netspar senior researchers and/or pension professionals in de Netspar network,
  • presenting research results during at least 3 Netspar events,
  • regular presence in Tilburg (say at least once a month) for contact with Netspar researchers and staff, progress meetings and/or presentation of research results,
  • writing a brief annual progress report.


Evaluation criteria
  • PhD degree in a field relevant to Netspar obtained roughly three to eight years ago.
  • Applicant must have strong motivation to be involved with Netspar over the long term.
  • Evidence of academic potential, combined with an interest in applied research for the pension and insurance industry and proven communication skills to bridge academia and practice.
  • High-quality and relevant research proposal that describes (in broad terms) planned research activities that are related to the Netspar Knowledge Agenda 2023-2027.
  • Applicant must be employed by a Dutch university or knowledge institute.


Relation to Dutch starting grants

The recent introduction of the “starting grants” for tenured assistant professors at Dutch universities has changed the (financial) setting for young scholars in various ways. Netspar is open to discussing how the Talent Grant could complement or substitute for such a starting grant, for example through co-funding of a PhD student or through a Talent Grant for young scholars within three years after the completion of their PhD who may not be eligible for a starting grant.

Application requirements

Proposals for a Talent Grant must contain the following documents:

  • Completed Application Form.
  • Annex I: Endorsement by professor or senior researcher at a Dutch university or knowledge institute.
  • Annex II: CV of the researcher.


Application process

Applications are assessed based on the evaluation criteria listed above by a committee of three people who jointly represent a combination of a strong academic track record with an intimate familiarity with the Dutch pension and insurance industry. Grants are awarded by the Netspar Board. 20% of the grant will be paid after completion of all output commitments. The other 80% of the grant will be distributed evenly over the years.


Timetable for 2024
March 1, 2024 Application deadline
May 1, 2024 Assessment by the committee
June 1, 2024 Formal decision by Netspar Board
July 1, 2024 Contracts signed
September 2024 Start of project

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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