NWO gives crisis-stricken researchers more time

Holding online interviews and easing deadlines: the Dutch Research Council shows its flexible side by accommodating the needs of scientists whose work has suffered delays.

(Photo: Lucas de Leeuw)

Many research projects have been at a standstill in recent months. Fieldwork had to be postponed, laboratories shut down and travel plans cancelled. The virus also threw a spanner in the works at the Dutch Research Council (NWO), disrupting application rounds for research funding.

Can scientists look forward to receiving additional funding if they now have to spend longer on their research? Intensive talks on this subject are still ongoing between the ministry and the universities. At present, NWO is unable to comment on measures to address the financial impact of corona.

However, the organisation is prepared to relax its rules on research funding. For instance, researchers will now be given more time to get their projects up and running. Projects with a starting period that was due to expire this year will now see this extended to 31 December and possibly a few months beyond.

Time is now also less of a worry for scientists struggling to meet the submission deadline for their interim or final report: they will now have an additional four months to meet this requirement.

In addition, NWO has expressed its willingness to take a more ‘customised approach’, for example in cases where a research plan has to be altered or a project runs into problems with external partners. Application rounds that had been on hold will now also be resumed, with promising candidates being interviewed online for the time being. However, the new guidelines say nothing about the specific impact that the crisis is having on women in research.

 HOP, Evelien Flink

Translation: Taalcentrum-VU

HOP Hoger Onderwijs Persbureau

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