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Formal Requirements and Selection Procedure

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 experience since obtaining a PhD-degree;
  • The project proposal must fit within the scope of the Humanities and/or Social Sciences;
  • The project proposal should be no more than a maximum of fifteen hundred words including footnotes, excluding referenced and abstract;
  • The project proposal should contain at least a clear description of the project that will be conducted during a stay at NIAS, a research question, as well as the methodological and theoretical contribution the project aims at;
  • 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 a Fellowship if there are at least 10 years between the application date of the previous fellowship and the current application date (exceptions are made for fellows who held a fellowship during the Covid-19 pandemic);
  • The application must be completed correctly and contain all the requested information and required documentation;
  • Applicants for Individual Fellowships should provide the names of four international experts in their field who would be suitable to approach as referees. Experts should not have a conflict of interest by reviewing the proposal. Excluded experts are colleagues from the same department, co-authors, (former) supervisors and scholars involved in the current research project proposal.


Read the full Regulations Selection Procedure NIAS Individual Fellowships with the eligibility criteria.

Selection procedure Individual fellowships

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 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.

Second round: evaluation by external reviewers
Applications that meet all the formal requirements are sent to two selected external referees taken either from the panel of referees compiled by NIAS for the selection procedure, and/or from the four referees put forward by applicant. The external referees evaluate the project proposal, with the applicant’s C.V. serving as background information. The referees evaluate the project description based on the following criteria:

  • Scientific quality of the project proposal, academic and societal relevance, and originality of the research project;
  • Theoretical approach;
  • Methodological approach;
  • Added value of the interdisciplinary NIAS environment;
  • 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, accommodation and resources.

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 Fellowship 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.

Read the full Regulations Selection Procedure NIAS Individual Fellowships