Call for Pre-proposals Dutch Research Council (NWO) and National Research Foundation (NRF)

Opening Date Closing Date
Wednesday, 1 December, 2021 Tuesday, 01 March, 2022

The Dutch Research Council (NWO) through the Merian Fund, and the National Research Foundation (NRF) support long-term scientific collaboration in the Water, Energy and Food (WEF) nexus field. The NWO and the NRF have agreed on strategic knowledge and innovation agendas through effective contributions to support transformations towards sustainability to gradually expand the knowledge base of the WEF nexus field. This will be achieved by issuing regular calls for proposals, and by inviting consortia from knowledge institutions from both countries to work together with societal partners from public, semi-public, and private organisations.

This call seeks research projects that will integrate the health component in the WEF nexus planning through demonstrated practical case studies. Thus, the successful projects should demonstrate and address the interlinkages between water-energy-food, the broader socio-ecological environment and human health in view of providing better response to pandemics, health risks and crises. Research consortia are invited to apply, in which researchers from knowledge institutions will work with societal partners from public, semi-public and private organisations, in order to increase the societal relevance of their research. The call allows for the inclusion of research partners and case studies from African countries whose ministries and granting councils are a participating member in the Science Granting Councils Initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa (SGCI).

This nexus research should address one or more of the following thematic areas:

  • Mapping the impacts of COVID-19 on the WEF nexus;
  • Including the health sector in WEF nexus conceptualisation, discourse, and analytical tools;
  • Including risk-based perspectives and spatial – cross-country – aspects in WEF integration, and integrate WEF nexus thinking into health approaches in reply to crises; and
  • Developing more holistic, health and risk sensitive approaches for sustainable livelihoods at a local level.

Please note that the this call for proposals has three phases as follows:

  • Research initiative announcement and matchmaking phase;
  • Pre-proposal submission phase; and
  • Full proposal submission phase.

South African researchers interested in submitting pre-proposals should apply directly to NWO. The NRF Online Submission System ( will be opened only to those researchers who have been approved to submit a full proposal.

Key dates and submission deadlines: South African researchers must consult their institutions for internal closing dates.

Submission of research initiatives (not mandatory), which are to be submitted to NWO, is 18 January 2022, at 14:00:00 hours CET.

Submission of pre-proposals (mandatory), which are to be submitted to NWO, is 1 March 2022, at 14:00:00 hours CET.

Submission of full proposals (mandatory), which are to be submitted to both the NWO and NRF, is 29 September 2022

– at 14:00:00 hours CEST for the submission to NWO; and

– at 23:59:59 hours SAST for the submission to NRF.

Applications received after the two above-mentioned closing dates will not be considered for review and for funding by both the NWO and the NRF.

For specific questions about this call for proposals, applicants are encouraged to please contact:

Contact person NWO:
Jacomijn Verbruggen-Zoutewelle
+31 70 344 09 72 / +31 6 23741208

Contact persons NRF:
Teuns Phahlamohlaka
+27 12 481 4385

Stephen Dlamini
+27 12 481 4037

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