What are you looking for?


  • By application
  • For 5 or 10 months
  • Research project of own choice
  • Stipend or replacement subsidy
  • Accommodation or travel costs reimbursement


Anja de Haas, anja.de.haasgruijs@nias.knaw.nl or (0)20 224 67 05

NIAS Individual Fellowship

NIAS offers individual fellowships to scholars who wish to carry out advanced research in the humanities and the social sciences. For five or ten months, scholars are offered the time and space to work on a topic of their own choice.

Each year, NIAS awards around 30 fellows, both scholars with a Dutch affiliation and scholars from abroad, with a NIAS Individual Fellowship. Fellows can apply for a stipend or a replacement subsidy, commuting travel expenses for daily commute or subsidized accommodation in Amsterdam.

Read more about what NIAS offers.

Who can apply?

NIAS Individual Fellowships are awarded to scholars to carry out advanced research in the humanities and the social sciences.

Formal requirements

In order to be considered eligible for a fellowship by NIAS, the following criteria and rules are applicable:


  • At least three years of post-Ph.D. degree academic experience;
  • The project proposal should be related to the field of Humanities and Social Sciences;
  • The project proposal should be no more than a maximum of fifteen hundred words including footnotes, excluding bibliography and abstract;
  • On the date the application is submitted, the applicant must have a valid employment contract (permanent, temporary or zero-hours contract) with a university or research institute, or must be registered for tax purposes as a self-employed, independent researcher (in Dutch ZZP). The same requirement holds for the duration of the planned fellowship period. Applicants with a zero-hours contract are not eligible for a stipend or teaching replacement;
  • The NIAS Fellowship does not constitute an employment relationship: the fellow is and remains an employee of his or her own university or research institute, or self-employed. NIAS is thus not obligated to make social insurance contributions or to contribute to pension or unemployment insurances;
  • The applicant may not resubmit a project proposal that was previously rejected by NIAS;
  • Applicants can only apply for one type of fellowship per academic year (i.e. either a NIAS Individual Fellowship, a co-sponsored individual fellowship, a NIAS theme-group fellowship, or a co-sponsored theme-group fellowship);
  • An applicant who previously held a NIAS fellowship may only apply for an NIAS Individual Fellowship if there are at least 10 years between the application date of the previous fellowship and the current application date;
  • Applicants should provide the names of four international experts in their field who would be suitable to approach as referees (co-authors or scholars who are actively involved in the currently proposed research project are not permitted);
  • The application must be completed correctly and contain all the requested information and required documentation.

Selection procedure

The annual Call for Applications for NIAS Individual Fellowships is open from 15 January to the 15 March (or the next Monday, in case this date is a Saturday or Sunday). Applications should be written in English and submitted via the application module on the NIAS website.

The selection procedure for NIAS Individual Fellowships is project-based. This means that the focus for selection lies, first, on the quality and innovative character of the project proposal, and second, on the applicant’s academic merits and proven excellence.

First round: checking on eligibility
Application documents are processed by the Officer Academic Affairs at NIAS, who checks whether the application complies with all the formal requirements as stated in the NIAS Selection Procedure Regulations. If the application does not meet the formal requirements the application will be rejected and the applicant will be informed by email by NIAS. Regulations Selection Procedure NIAS Individual Fellowships

Second round: evaluation by external reviewers
Applications that meet all the formal requirements are sent to independent external reviewers. Applications are sent to, preferably, three referees. The referees evaluate the project description and give each proposal a score on a scale from one to ten where one indicates ‘very poor’ and ten indicates ‘excellent’. The scores are based on review of the following criteria:
• Scientific quality of the project proposal, scientific relevance and originality
• Theoretical approach
• Methodological approach
• Added value of carrying out the project in the Netherlands and specifically at NIAS
• Planning and feasibility of the project within the requested fellowship period

Third round: evaluation by Academic Advisory Board
The seventy-five applications with the highest scores from the referees’ evaluations are presented to the NIAS Academic Advisory Board (AAB), which has the task of advising the NIAS directorate on the selection procedure and to rank applicants, on which basis the NIAS directorate makes decisions about the allocation of fellowships.

On the basis of the quality of the applicants C.V., publications, awarded grants and prices, as well as the added value of the project proposal to be carried out at NIAS, the AAB ranks candidates and compiles two short-lists: 1. A ranking of candidates for the year-group; 2. A reserve-list.

Fourth round: final selection by the director of NIAS
The Director of NIAS decides the final selection of candidates and the composition of the year group on the basis of the Academic Advisory Board’s advice and the following additional criteria:
• Diversity of disciplines
• Balance of Dutch and International scholars
• Gender balance
• Balance between early, mid and late career scholars
• Available office space and, if eligible, accommodation.

The Director of NIAS also finalises the reserve list of candidates on the basis of the Academic Advisory Board’s advice. This list will be used to augment the year group if candidates from the first list refuse (or are unable to accept the fellowship offer). Candidates on the reserve list are approached according to their ranking scores and the additional criteria.

The two short-lists are presented to the NIAS Directorate (consisting of the Director and the Head of Academic Affairs). The Director of NIAS informs all candidates in writing of his decision no later than 15 December in the year that the application was submitted i.e. candidates who have been selected, candidates who have not been selected and candidates who have been placed on the reserve list.

Applicants are sent a Preliminary Offer by email. If the applicant accepts the offer, all the terms will be incorporated into the official Fellows Agreement, a contract which is sent to applicants to sign before the fellowship. If the two parties have not come to mutual agreement by the 31st of March of the year following selection, the offer expires. If that is the case, the Director of NIAS will select a suitable new candidate from the reserve list.

The full selection process takes 9 months.

Please note that NIAS only offers a limited number of NIAS Fellowships each year and that the competition is fierce, which means that less than 15% of all applications is accepted.

Time path

Call for individual proposals for the academic year 2021/22:

  • Call opens: 15 January 2020
  • EXTENDED DEADLINE Call closes: 19 March 2020, 9.00 AM (Dutch time)
  • If the application does not meet the formal requirements the application will be rejected and the applicant will be informed by email before 15 May 2020.
  • The Director of NIAS informs all eligible candidates in writing of his decision no later than 15th of December 2020

More information

What NIAS Offers

Practical Matters

Please note that NIAS does not provide fellowships for training programs or educational purposes. Nor does it offer courses, or financial support to conduct research elsewhere.