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How to Apply for a Theme Group


The deadline for submitting a theme group proposal for the research year 2018/19 was 15 April 2017 and is now closed.  

Procedure for submitting a NIAS Theme Group Proposal

Only a researcher at a Dutch university (theme group coordinator) can submit a theme group proposal.

A theme group proposal consists of a short summary of no more than two pages. This contains the details of the main applicant, the topic, the methodology, and the expected research product, as well as a list of the preferred theme group members (max. 5). Application forms should be sent by e-mail to:


If the topic and main idea is, in the view of the Director, fitting to the institute then the theme group initiator is invited to discuss the proposal with the NIAS Directorate. This discussion may be followed by an invitation to the initiator to send in a more elaborate proposal (including the list of preferred theme group members). Then the Directorate solicits comments from external reviewers.

The following criteria are considered of importance:

  • the academic status of the applicant and participants;
  • originality, quality, interdisciplinary character of the proposal and evidence of the benefit of group collaboration;
  • the expected impact of the theme group on the participants' research fields;
  • an account of how the planned activities will lead to a joint end product(s);
  • the coordinator's leadership qualities;
  • the feasibility of the study and resources, in particular the feasibility and the lasting impact of research results.

The initiator will be given feedback about the evaluation of the proposal. If necessary, the initiator will be asked to make adjustments or revise the proposal.

Final Evaluation

The final research theme group proposal is submitted together with the participants' individual fellowship applications and may be evaluated by external reviewers. The individual applications are evaluated both on their individual merits as well as in terms of their contribution to the theme-group proposal.

Successful applicants are awarded a NIAS Theme-group Fellowship.


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