Friday, January 28, 2011

Rubicon Program for Postdoctoral Researchers


The Rubicon programme is directed at promising young postdoctoral researchers who are still at the start of their scientific careers but whose scientific qualities give them the potential to become established figures in Dutch scientific research. Rubicon is part of the NWO Talent Line and is intended for the period preceding a possible Veni application.

The programme offers researchers the opportunity to gain knowledge, skills and experience by spending up to 2 years at a top research institute outside the Netherlands or at an excellent Dutch research institute.

The Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has in 2010 decided not to continue funding the programme. Upon that decision NWO has made a one-off limited funds available. This decision makes it possible to hold at least one submission round in 2011 and two if NWO succeeds in acquiring additional funding from the Marie Curie Programme like in 2010. The total Rubicon budget for the round with the deadline on 31 March 2011 is about 2.9 million euro.


The aim of the programme is to encourage talented researchers at Dutch universities and KNAW and NWO research institutes to continue in academic research after they have gained their PhDs. It offers them the opportunity to enhance their career prospects by spending up to 2 years gaining relevant knowledge, skills and experience outside the Netherlands. The mobility of the researcher plays an important role in this process.

Rubicon also offers Dutch researchers the option of using the grant to conduct research in the Netherlands. However, researchers should preferably apply for a grant to spend time outside the Netherlands, as international research experience is likely to be an advantage at a later stage in the applicant's academic career and in applying for other NWO grants.

The Rubicon programme also offers talented researchers from abroad the opportunityto obtain a grant to spend a maximum of 24 months conducting research in the Netherlands

Who can apply

Any postgraduate who is currently engaged in PhD research or who has been awarded a PhD within 12 months preceding the relevant deadline for the submission of applications may apply for a Rubicon grant.

NWO can extend the deadline of 12 months after the formal award of a PhD, if the candidate has taken extended sick, parental, maternity or care leave within that period. The deadline may also be extended if the candidate has combined a parttime research appointment with care responsibilities or has undertaken training in a clinical specialism recognised by the Royal Dutch Medical Association (KNMG). The maximum period of one year after the PhD can be extended by a maximum of one year, which means that candidates can submit an application up until 2 years after the PhD at the latest. Candidates who wish to be considered for an extension must submit a request to this effect to NWO before they submit their grant application.
They can do this by e-mail (

Rubicon is open for research proposals from all disciplines except for stem cell research where new human embryos are harvested and used.

Women in particular are invited to submit applications.

Applications are only admissible for selection if applicants fulfil the following formal conditions. Only applications that comply with these conditions will be considered:
a/ Applications must be submitted by individual researchers and not by pairs or teams of researchers).
b/ Applicants must have graduated and/or obtained a PhD at a Dutch knowledge institute. and/or the Rubicon research must be conducted at a Dutch knowledge institute.
c/ Applicants may not apply for a Rubicon grant for a stay in the country in which they graduated, unless that country is the Netherlands.
d/ Applicants may not apply for a Rubicon grant for a stay in the country in which obtained their PhD, unless that country is the Netherlands.
e/ Applicants may not apply for a Rubicon grant to conduct research at the knowledge institute where they graduated from.
f/ Applicants may not apply for a Rubicon grant to conduct research at the knowledge institute where they obtained their PhD from.
g/ Each candidate may only submit an application for a Rubicon grant once.
An application is considered to have been submitted when NWO decides that it is admissible for the selection procedure.
h/ Candidates who are still completing their PhD research may only submit an application if their supervisor approves the thesis (by means of a written declaration with the Rubicon application). The candidate may start on the research as soon as the date for the defence of the PhD thesis is known, but no later than 1 December 2011.
i/ Applications in which the harvesting and use of new human embryos takes place are not admissible. Research that uses existing embryos is admissible.

What can be applied for

Candidates can apply for a stay of at least 12 months and no longer than 24 months at a Dutch institute or at an institute outside the Netherlands – it is not possible to combine a stay in the Netherlands and abroad. The researcher conducts the Rubicon research at a single host institute. Depending on the research subject, external data collection or field research may be approved.

Research outside the Netherlands

For a stay at a foreign institute, the host institute employs the laureate under comparable conditions to those for an average postdoc employed at the host institute. The host institute must be a publicly financed and recognised academic research institute. The size of the grant depends on the country of where the host institute is situated and the length of the stay and is determined according to a basic payment of 56,400 euro per 12 months and a list of correction coefficients per country. On top of this the grant includes 230 euro per month for research costs and NWO covers travel costs; once if the stay is 12 months and twice if the stay is longer than 12 months. NWO's standard rates for various destinations can be found on the NWO website (

Research in the Netherlands

The Dutch host institute will be assumed to be the employer and NWO will pay it a lump-sum grant of 55,000 euro per 12 months. NWO will not act as the employer and the Regeling Overlaten Werkgeverschap will not apply. Potential host institutes are Dutch universities which conduct research (Erasmus University Rotterdam, Tilburg University, Radboud University Nijmegen, University of Groningen, Delft University of Technology, Eindhoven University of Technology, Wageningen University and Research Centre, University of Twente, Leiden University, Maastricht University, Utrecht University, University of Amsterdam, VU University Amsterdam), Open University of the Netherlands and Transnational University of Limburg, KNAW and NWO research institutes, Netherlands Cancer Institute, Tilburg Theological Faculty, the Theological Universities of Kampen and Apeldoorn, and University for Humanistics.

When can applications be submitted

The deadline for the submission of applications is 31 March 2011. Applications cannot be improved or added to after the deadline.


Proposals will be assessed on the basis of the following quality criteria:

Quality criteria:

 Quality of the applicant
NWO will judge whether the candidate is among the best members of his or her generation in the relevant field of study. Evidence for this will be sought in the CV, including publications (number and quality), the 2 letters of recommendation and the written invitation from the host institute.
 Quality of the proposal
The quality of the proposed research and its significance for the relevant field of study (whether it is innovative and pioneering) and the feasibility and costeffectiveness of the research plan (the length of the proposed period of research must be in proportion to the work to be done).
 Quality of the host institute
The host institute should offer the applicant a stimulating research environment and possess good facilities for academic research. The quality of the host institute will be considered in relation to the proposed research.


Coordinator Rubicon

Ms H.R. Varwijk MA
Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)
Policy Development
PO Box 93138
2509 AC The Hague
Telephone: +31 70 349 44 37 (secretary)

Please quote on your application when applying for this opportunity

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