NWO-FAPESP joint Call for Proposals

Summary: The aim of this call is to strengthen research cooperation between researchers in the State of São Paulo, Brazil, and researchers in the Netherlands by funding joint research projects. The present call welcomes project submissions related to the biobased economy in a broad sense.
Closing date for full proposals: 15 Jun 2017 
FAPESP Scheme: Regular Projects, Young Investigator or Thematic Projects
Maximum duration of the project: From 3 to 5 years (depending of chosen FAPESP scheme)
Eligibility: Eligibility requirements for each FAPESP scheme. The eligibility pre-consultation is mandatory (please see item 3.2 for details)
Submission: Proposals must be submitted through NWO and FAPESP (Items 3.3 and 3.4)
NWO: Dr. Tim Vos, tel. +31703440984, e-mail:
FAPESP: Dra. Bruna Musa, e-mail:

NWO Announcement of Opportunity:  

Note:  As June 15 is a national holiday in Brazil, the deadline for submissions at FAPESP was extended to June 19. Submission at NWO ISAAC system remain unaltered (deadline on June, 15th).  

1 Introduction

1.1 Background

In this brochure you will find information about the submission of research proposals for the Fifth call of Joint Research Projects under the Scientific Cooperation Agreement between the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), São Paulo, Brazil, and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). The theme for this Call for Proposals is Biobased Economy. This call for proposals is announced simultaneously by FAPESP and NWO.

1.2 Available budget

NWO and FAPESP will provide budgets to fund 5-6 proposals.

For the 2017 call, the available budget at NWO is ca. 1.8 million euros and FAPESP will match in terms of research efforts. It is envisaged that applications will be for a balanced partnership, not specifically in monetary terms but with equivalent research commitment and efforts from both sides.

The budget request must follow the norms of both FAPESP and NWO and their respective funding regulations. The budget to be approved for each selected proposal will be subject to the rules and restrictions of each funding agency, as specified in this call for proposals.

1.3 Validity of the call for proposals

This call for proposals is valid until the closing date June 15, 2017, 14:00 hours CE(S)T.

2 Aim

The aim of this call is to strengthen research cooperation between researchers in the State of São Paulo, Brazil, and researchers in the Netherlands by funding joint research projects. Project proposals must be jointly written by researchers formally associated with public or private Higher Education or Research Institutions in the State of São Paulo, Brazil and universities or NWO-acknowledged research institutions in the Netherlands and must reflect unison and close cooperation. It is expected that research activities be conducted on both sides, including the exchange of researchers, and that the project and the intellectual contribution is evenly balanced between São Paulo and the Netherlands.

Demonstrating partnerships with academic researchers from other countries is also possible, but not mandatory. It might add value to the proposal, if the additional team contribution to the scientific objectives is considered especially relevant in the analysis by FAPESP and NWO.

Thematic focus: Biobased Economy

The present call welcomes project submissions related to the biobased economy in a broad sense. Biobased economy research topics must be related to at least one of the following:

- sustainable agriculture
- sustainable food production and food security
- systems/synthetic biology and bioinformatics
- biobased chemicals and materials
- biotechnology
- bioprocess engineering
- biocatalysis
- chemo/thermo-catalytic conversion of biomass
- waste management
- bioenergy

3 Guidelines for applicants

3.1 Who can apply

Eligible research teams are composed of researchers from the Netherlands and the state of São Paulo, with active involvement in the project of a Principal Investigator on both the Dutch and the Brazilian side. Researchers regarded as eligible to submit proposals within the scope of this call are the following.


For applicants from the Netherlands, the submission conditions given below apply to both main and co-applicants unless otherwise stated.

Applications can be submitted by full, assistant and associate professors as well as other researchers with a comparable appointment if they:

- hold an appointment at a Dutch university or a research institute recognized by NWO (i.e. they have a paid appointment) and,

- possess at least a PhD or a comparable qualification and have a contract (period of appointment) for at least the duration of the application process and the research for which the grant is being applied for.

An exception to the required duration of the employment contract can be made for:

- lead applicants with a tenure-track appointment that covers at least half of the required duration

- co-applicants

The applicants concerned must demonstrate in a letter that adequate supervision will be guaranteed throughout the entire duration of the research project for all researchers for whom funding is being applied.

A complete list of application criteria for scientists from the Netherlands can be found in the NWO Regulation on Granting:

Researchers can only submit one proposal in this call.


Researchers eligible for FAPESP funding must be formally associated with public or private Higher Education or Research Institutions in the State of São Paulo and must meet the FAPESP eligibility requirements for eitherRegular Research Projects (,Thematic Research Projects ( orYoung Investigator Awards (, as described in paragraph 3.2.

Please be aware of the strict eligibility criteria established in the links provided above for each type of FAPESP funding. Researchers from the state of São Paulo, must consult FAPESP about their eligibility no later than May, 15th. International submissions that do not include this eligibility check will not be considered by FAPESP.

In order to have their eligibility analyzed, applicants must send an email to ( with subject "NWO – request for analysis of eligibility", attaching the following documents:

1) Name and affiliation of the applicant (SP and Dutch PIs)

2) Tentative title and a 5-line abstract of the project

3) FAPESP Modality desired (Regular Research Project, Thematic Research project, or Young Investigator Awards) and its duration

4) Estimated amount of budget to be requested to FAPESP and to NWO

5) Summary CV (FAPESP model) of the applicant

6) Information about whether the applicant is currently PI of a FAPESP ongoing project (indicate project number)

7) Estimated time devoted to the project (hours/week)

Within up to 20 days of receiving this request, FAPESP will send the applicant a declaration as to the applicant’s eligibility within this call. Proposals that do not comply with the terms of this Call will not qualify for analysis. All PI’s and their institutions must fulfil the eligibility rules for research proposals as set by FAPESP. Applicants must note that the funding agencies retain the right to reject applications where they fail to comply with the procedures set out in the guidelines. If an application is ineligible with one of the agencies, the complete project will be rejected.

3.2 What can be applied for

Researchers from the state of São Paulo and from the Netherlands are invited to submit research proposals that have been jointly written by Brazilian and Dutch researchers.

Available funding and eligible costs for NWO

The maximum amount of funding that can be applied for per project on the Dutch side is € 280.000 (two hundred eighty thousand Euros). The total duration of a project is at least three years and not more than five years.

The funding can be used for:

- Employment costs for PhDs or two or three-year postdocs on the basis of a full-time position. An individual bench fee (€ 5000) will be allocated to each PhD or postdoc to partly cover e.g. costs for conference meetings and the costs of printing a thesis;

- equipment specifically intended for the project described in the proposal. The relationship with the project and the need for the equipment should be clearly justified.

- travel costs for the purpose of the requested research positions in so far as these are not covered by the bench fee. The need for the amount of travel for the project, should be clearly justified;

- consumables, of which the need should be clearly justified.

Funding may not be requested for tenured staff, student assistants, overheads, general laboratory equipment (this also includes general software and hardware such as computers and laptops for which it may be expected that these belong to the standard equipment for a scientific position), maintenance and insurance costs and publication costs.

Personnel costs for PhDs and postdocs in the Netherlands are fundable in accordance with the most recent version of “Agreement for Funding Scientific Research”, which has been signed by NWO, VSNU, NFU, ZonMw, KNAW and VFI. The agreement and the maximum payments for personnel costs can be found at:

Remunerations for PhD scholarship students at a Dutch university are not eligible for funding from NWO.

Available funding and eligible costs for FAPESP

Funding and costs must be in accordance with FAPESP norms for (i) Regular or (ii) Thematic research project or (iii) Young Investigator Award. The proposals must adhere strictly to the norm announced by FAPESP for each scheme offered above, except if explicitly exceptioned in this call. 

I) Regular Research Project: This modality can fund projects for 36 months, with amount equivalent to up to R$100.000 per year. Request can include equipment, services, travel allowances and technical training fellowships, in all cases according to the FAPESP rules (

II) Thematic Research Project: This modality can fund projects for 60 months. Request can include equipment, services, travel allowances and the following academic Scholarships: Postdoctoral, Honour PhD (Doutorado Direto), Scientific Initiation, Technical Training, Scientific Journalism (JC) and Educational Improvement (Aperfeiçoamento Pedagógico/Ensino Público), in all cases according to the FAPESP rules ( Additionally, proposals for thematic Grants which display a strong imbalance between the request for equipment and request for fellowships will receive less priority.

III) Young Investigator Awards: This modality can fund 60 months Project. Request can include equipment, services, travel allowances and the following academic Scholarships: Master degree, Honour PhD (Doutorado Direto), Scientific Initiation, Technical Training, Scientific Journalism (JC) and Educational Improvement (Aperfeiçoamento Pedagógico/Ensino Público), in all cases according to the FAPESP rules (

In all three cases, proposals with excessive request (over 40%) for equipment or too little request for time commitment (as weekly hours) will be returned without merit review.

3.3 When can applications be submitted

The closing date for the submission of proposals is 15-06-2017, 14:00 hours CET 09:00 hours in the State of São Paulo). Proposals will not be accepted after the closing date for submission, nor will any addendum or explanation be accepted, unless those explicitly and formally requested by FAPESP or NWO. Proposals not received by both FAPESP and NWO before the deadline or not in conformity to the specifications herein will not be taken into consideration. Mark that researchers from the state of São Paulo must consult FAPESP about their eligibility no later than May, 15th 2017.

3.4 Preparing an application

Brazilian-Dutch research teams must prepare a joint research proposal, which will be submitted to NWO by the Dutch partner (online) and to FAPESP by the SP PI (in paper). In addition to the application submitted to NWO, other relevant materials are required to fulfil the eligibility criteria set by FAPESP, which is outlined below.

A full application consists of completing the required information in ISAAC, the electronic application and reporting system of NOW (, and uploading a research proposal in pdf format. Please take the following steps to prepare an application for a joint research project:

- Download the research application form from the electronic application system ISAAC or from NWO’s website (on the grant page for this programme).

- Complete the application form.

- Save the application form as a pdf file and upload it in ISAAC

For Dutch researchers, the common FAPESP-NWO Research application form can be downloaded at:  

The joint proposal describes the members of the bilateral consortium, the envisioned research, a description of activities carried out in Brazil and The Netherlands (specifying the applied research and the fundamental research) and additional relevant information. The application also describes how this grant builds upon the own line of research in Brazil or the Netherlands and the added value of this joint research proposal. Exchange of researchers within the joint project is envisioned, e.g. working a couple of months in at the research institution of the collaborative researcher abroad. These topics can all be addressed in the research application form. The application should be written in English.

In accordance with the agreement between NWO and the VSNU applicants should inform their institution about the submission. The applicant should send a copy of the application to the scientific director or deacon of the institution or faculty. For each proposal submitted, NWO will assume that the applicant has informed the institution and that the university or the institute accepts the granting conditions of this programme.

Please note that the funding will be administered to the successful main applicants via the national funding agency.

3.5 Conditionson granting

For researchers from the Netherlands this Call for Proposals is subject to NWO’s general terms and conditions: and the Agreement on the Payment for Costs for Scientific Research. NWO may cancel funding according to the NWO Regulation on Granting.

The selected proposals will be the subject of a research agreement in writing to be signed by FAPESP and the Principal Investigator (PI) in São Paulo. FAPESP may cancel funding if, during the grant timeframe, there appears a fact of sufficient gravity to justify cancellation, at the discretion of the Scientific Director, without prejudice of any other appropriate actions.

When funding is cancelled in one country, the funding is also cancelled in the other country.

Open Access

All scientific publications resulting from research that is funded by grants derived from this call for proposals are to be immediately (at the time of publication) freely accessible worldwide (Open Access). There are several ways for researchers to publish Open Access. A detailed explanation regarding Open Access can be found on

Data management

Responsible data management is part of good research. NWO wants research data that emerge from publicly funded research to become freely and sustainably available, as much as possible, for reuse by other researchers. Furthermore NWO wants to raise awareness among researchers about the importance of responsible data management. Proposals should therefore satisfy the data management protocol of NWO. This protocol consists of two steps:

1. Data management section

The data management section is part of the research proposal. Researchers should answer four questions about data management within their intended research project. Therefore before the research starts the researcher will be asked to think about how the data collected must be ordered and categorised so that it can be made freely available. Measures will often need to be taken during the production and analysis of the data to make their later storage and dissemination possible. Researchers can state which research data they consider to be relevant for storage and reuse.

2. Data management plan

After a proposal has been awarded funding the researcher should elaborate the data management section into a data management plan. The data management plan is a concrete elaboration of the data management section. In the plan the researcher describes whether use will be made of existing data or a new data collection and how the data collection will be made FAIR: Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable. The plan should be submitted to NWO via ISAAC within a maximum of 4 months after the proposal has been awarded funding. NWO will approve the plan as quickly as possible. Approval of the data management plan by NWO is a condition for disbursement of the funding. The plan can be adjusted during the research.

Further information about the data management protocol of NWO can be found at

Nagoya Protocol

The Nagoya Protocol became effective on 12 October 2014 and ensures an honest and reasonable distribution of benefits emerging from the use of genetic resources (Access and Benefit Sharing; ABS). Researchers who make use of genetic sources from the Netherlands or abroad for their research should familiarise themselves with the Nagoya Protocol ( NWO assumes that researchers will take all necessary actions with respect to the Nagoya Protocol.

Intellectual Property rights

In case of approval, a Letter of Agreement has to be formulated between the Partner Host Institution in the Netherlands and the Host Institution to which the PI from São Paulo is affiliated, establishing how Intellectual Property rights, confidentiality, and publications will be treated jointly, in observance of the policies of each funding Party. The Letter of Agreement is not mandatory for the submission of proposals, but no approved project will be contracted before the presentation of a copy of the signed Agreement. Ownership of IP generated during the project and rights to exploitation, as well as any costs regarding management of IP, are expected to be agreed between the collaborating research organizations before the research begins. The presentation of this Letter of Agreement is mandatory before the signature of the grant award in case of FAPESP funding.

3.6 Submitting an application

Submitting an application to NWO

All proposals must be completed in English and follow the proposal structure as indicated in the research application form available on the websites of FAPESP and NWO. The proposals should be submitted in PDF format.

An application can only be submitted to NWO via the online application system ISAAC. Applications not submitted via ISAAC will not be taken into consideration.

A principal applicant must submit his/her application via his/her own ISAAC account. If the principal applicant does not have an ISAAC account yet, then this should be created at least one day before the application is submitted to ensure that any registration problems can be resolved on time. If the principal applicant already has an NWO-account, then he/she does not need to create a new account to submit an application.

When you submit your application to ISAAC you will also need to enter additional details online. You should therefore start submitting your application at least one day before the deadline of this call for proposals. Applications submitted after the deadline will not be taken into consideration.

For technical questions please contact the ISAAC helpdesk, see Section 5.2.1.

Submitting an application to FAPESP

Besides the submission to ISAAC (website hosted by NWO), the PI in the State of São Paulo must submit to FAPESP, in paper by mail, the following documents:

- The Research Project written jointly by the SP Principal Investigator and his/her colleague, the Principal Investigator from Netherlands in English;

- Research Proposal Form

- Researcher’s Registration Form to be filled by the PI from SP (in Portuguese);

- Summary of the CV of the members of the team (SP and Dutch researchers);

- Budget worksheets;

- Team description;

- A copy of the eligibility letter provided by FAPESP (Please observe section 3.1);

- A Letter of Agreement between the Higher Education or Research Institutions to which the national team PIs are affiliated, establishing how Intellectual Property rights, confidentiality, and publications will be treated jointly, in observance of the policies of each funding Party. Please note that the Letter of Agreement is not mandatory for the submission of proposals, but no approved project will be contracted before the presentation of a copy of the signed Agreement.

Submissions to FAPESP can only be accepted in paper, via mail, to the following address: Rua Pio XI, 1500, Alto da Lapa, CEP 05468-901 – São Paulo/SP, with “Chamada – NWO 2017” written on the envelope. Only proposals with a stamped postmark date within the deadline of this Call will be processed. Proposals submitted by any other means will not be accepted. Late submissions will be returned.

4 Assessment procedure

4.1 Procedure

The assessment process will be led by NWO. Reviewers will be appointed by NWO and FAPESP. The NWO Code of Conduct on Conflicts of Interest applies to all persons and NWO staff involved in the assessment and/or decision-making process. For further information see:

The NWO Regulation on Granting includes a clause that states that all research funded by NWO must be realised in accordance with the nationally and internationally accepted standards for scientific conduct as stated in the Netherlands Code of Conduct for Scientific Practice 2012 (VSNU). Further information about the NWO policy on scientific integrity can be found on the website:

NWO gives all full proposals a qualification (see also paragraph 4.2). The qualification will be made known to the two Principal Investigators (main applicants) in the same letter in which they are also informed about the decision whether or not to award funding. Only proposals that are assessed as excellent or very good will be eligible for funding. For further information about the qualifications please see:

Eligibility of the proposal

In the assessment procedure, the eligibility of the individual projects will be determined using the conditions stated in Chapters 2 and 3 of this call for proposals. Eligibility of the proposals will be assessed by NWO and FAPESP at the start of the procedure. Mark that researchers from the state of São Paulo must consult FAPESP about their eligibility no later than May, 15th 2017. Proposals that do not comply with the terms, or with the aim of this call for proposals (see Chapter 2) will be considered ‘not eligible’ and will not qualify for analysis. Proposals will only be considered eligible if approved by all councils.

Please be aware of the strict eligibility criteria for FAPESP researchers, also described in Chapter 3.2. For this reason Brazilian PI’s should check their eligibility with FAPESP prior to submitting the proposal.

Peer review

All eligible proposals will be submitted to international referees for assessment. Referees are experts in the discipline of the applicant and/or have expertise in applied sciences and /or practice. They will write a referee's report in which they state the strong and weak aspects of the proposal, according to the assessment criteria specified in Chapter 9. The anonymised referees' reports will be sent to the two Principal Investigators (main applicants) who then subsequently write a joint written response (the rebuttal). Referees will be appointed by NWO and FAPESP.


Main applicants with proposals considered eligible and received for review will have the right to jointly formulate a two page rebuttal to the peer review reports. The anonymized reviews will be sent by NWO and FAPESP to the respective Principal Investigators. The joint rebuttal needs to be submitted to NWO and FAPESP by email and will be requested within a short time frame of maximum two weeks.

Assessment Committee

A joint international assessment committee will be composed by NWO and FAPESP. The committee's task is to make an independent evaluation based on the application, the referees’ reports and the rebuttal. Although the referees’ reports have a strong bearing on the final assessment they will not be unquestioningly adopted by the assessment committee. The assessment committee will consider the arguments of the referees (also between referees) and will examine whether a good response to the critical comments from the referees' reports has been formulated in the rebuttal. Furthermore, unlike the referees, the selection committee oversees the quality of the other proposals submitted and the rebuttals. It will rate and rank the proposals, and formulate a funding recommendation to NWO and FAPESP.

Decision making

The advice of the assessment committee will be subject to approval by each of the funding agencies, FAPESP and NWO. Please note that proposals can only be funded if both FAPESP and NWO agree on the granting advice of the assessment committee.


15 May 2017

Deadline eligibility check PI FAPESP

19 June 2017

Deadline submission of proposals

June-August. 2017

Consultation referees

Sep. 2017

Obtaining rebuttals from applicants. On average researchers are given a maximum of 2 weeks to respond

Oct. 2017

Meeting evaluation committee

Nov. 2017

Final decision NWO/FAPESP

Dec. 2017

NWO and FAPESP inform the applicants about the decision

This is an approximate timeline, from which no rights can be obtained.

4.2 Criteria

All eligible proposals will be assessed based on five criteria:

a. Relevance to the theme of the Call

- Whether the proposal fits within the thematic focus of the call;

- Timeliness, importance and urgency of the proposed project.

b. Scientific quality of the research proposal

- Quality of the project, including originality and innovative elements;

- Potential to make an important contribution to the advancement of science or technology;

- Suitability of the proposed methods, technical feasibility and adequacy of the budget

c. Quality of the research groups

- Competence and expertise of the team;

- Synergy, complementarity and added value of the research team.

d. International co-operation

- Added value of the cooperation to the project, and beyond the duration of the project;

- The degree and balance of inter-institutional co-operation between the project partners;

e. Knowledge utilization

- The potential impact of the research results in scientific, societal and/or economic terms.

All five of criteria will be taken into consideration. Proposals of insufficient quality will not be eligible for funding even if there is sufficient budget to fund them. The results will be announced by FAPESP at and by NWO via a letter to the main applicant.

5 Contact details

5.1 Contact

5.1.1 Specific questions

For specific questions about the NWO-FAPESP joint Call for Proposals 'Biobased Economy' please contact:

NWO: Dr. ir. T. (Tim) Vos, tel. +31703440984, e-mail:

FAPESP: Dra. B (Bruna) Musa, e-mail:

5.1.2 Technical questions about the electronic application system ISAAC

For technical questions about the use of ISAAC please contact the ISAAC helpdesk. Please read the manual first before consulting the helpdesk. The ISAAC helpdesk can be contacted from Monday to Friday between 10:00 and 17:00 hours CE(S)T on +31 (0)20 346 71 79. However, you can also submit your question by e-mail to You will then receive an answer within two working days.


Page updated on 08/20/2018 - Published on 04/24/2017