Comenius programme

The Comenius programme stimulates innovation in Dutch higher education.

Goal of the Comenius programme
The grants and fellowships enable professionals in higher education to implement their ideals and ideas in practice. By facilitating a wide range of educational innovations each year, the programme contributes to the improvement of Higher Education in the Netherlands. Furthermore, by demonstrably valuing excellent and inspired teaching, the ministry of education is keen to contribute to more variety in the careers of teachers and researchers at universities and universities of applied sciences.

The Comenius Programme has three ‘tiers’:

  • Teaching Fellow (€50,000, one-year project, small-scale innovation)
  • Senior Fellow (€100,000, two-year project in a large programme, a faculty or a substantial department of a higher education institution
  • Leadership Fellow (€250,000, three-year project, innovation in one or more faculties or a complete institution)

Budget
In 2019, a total of 42+22+6 70 Fellowships can be awarded to 42 Teaching Fellows, 22 Senior Fellows and 6 Leadership Fellows.

Applications can be submitted by professionals working in publicly funded higher educational institutes in the Netherlands. For each tier, specific terms and regulations apply.

Substantive themes (Teaching & Senior Fellowships)
Teaching and Senior Fellows submit their proposals in any of the three substantive themes, or the open category:

Criteria
The assessment criteria of the Comenius programme are the innovative nature of the project; the expected results; the quality of the project plan and the educational vision and experience of the applicant.”

Calls for Proposals & How to apply
Deadlines for the letter of intent and information on how to apply can be found on the Funding Pages on the NWO website:

Frequently Asked Questions
Click here for a list of Frequently Asked Questions (English)

On 8 June 2018, NRO hosted an information session on the Comenius Programme. Click here for the Powerpoint presentation that was presented that day (in Dutch).

The new themes for the Comenius programme 2020 have been released! Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven announced the themes during the ceremony of the ISO Teacher of the Year award on 13 April. From the beginning of June, teachers and education professionals can again submit their proposals for educational innovation projects. With a Comenius Fellowship (Teaching Fellow, Senior Fellow, Leadership Fellow) professionals can carry out an innovation project that contributes directly to innovation and improvement of higher education in the Netherlands. As in previous rounds, Teaching and Senior Fellow grants are divided between three fixed themes and one open theme. Leadership Fellow projects are not submitted under a certain theme but should give impetus to the education ambitions formulated in the institutions’ strategic education plan.

Theme 1: Inclusive education. Within the ‘inclusive education’ theme we are looking for projects that aim on making every student feel comfortable in his or her educational environment, regardless of their cultural or socio-economic background.

Theme 2: Bildung/ personal development. We are looking for educational innovations that concern students’ (individual) personal and professional development. Examples are projects that enable a flexible and personalised curriculum or pace of study, stimulate self-determination or develop a trajectory for excellent students.

Theme 3: Connection with society. This theme addresses projects that break down the walls between education and labour market, educational institute and society and between different education sectors.

Theme 4: Open theme the entire scope of The value(s) of Knowledge. Projects suitable for the open theme in the Strategic Agenda are those that match the topics and ambitions set out in the Agenda. It is the express intention that applicants use their experience in teaching practice to reflect on which innovations will make the greatest contribution to higher education.

The grants and fellowships enable professionals in higher education to implement their ideals and ideas in practice. By facilitating a wide range of educational innovations each year, the programme contributes to the improvement of Higher Education in the Netherlands. Furthermore, by demonstrably valuing excellent and inspired teaching, the ministry of education is keen to contribute to more variety in the careers of teachers and researchers at universities and universities of applied sciences.

The Comenius Programme has three ‘tiers’:

  • Teaching Fellow (€50,000, one-year project, small-scale innovation)
  • Senior Fellow (€100,000, two-year project, innovation in a complete degree programme)
  • Leadership Fellow (€250,000, three-year project, innovation in one or more faculties or a complete institution.)

Budget & who could apply?
In 2018, a total of 74 Fellowships could be awarded to 46 Teaching Fellows, 22 Senior Fellows and 6 Leadership Fellows. The budget is split evenly between projects at Universities of Applied Sciences (HBO) and Research Universities (WO).

Applications could be submitted by professionals working in publicly funded higher educational institutes in the Netherlands. For each tier, specific terms and regulations apply.

Substantive themes (Teaching & Senior Fellowships)
Teaching and Senior Fellows submitted their proposals in any of the three substantive themes, or the open category:

  • Equal Opportunities in Higher Education
  • Personalized Learning
  • Socially Engaged Higher Education
  • Open Category (Strategic Agenda The Value of Knowledge)

Criteria
Applications are assesed on the following criteria:

  1. Innovative nature of the project
  2. Expected result of the project
  3. Quality of the project and research plan
  4. Results for other teachers/professionals in (Dutch) higher education
  5. Teaching experience and vision of the applicant

Additional information on the character of the Comenius projects, the themes and criteria and the application and assessment procedure can be found in the calls for proposals

Calls for Proposals

On 14 June 2017, NRO hosted an information session on the Comenius Programme.
» a powerpoint presentation that was presented that day (in Dutch).

2018 was the first year Fellowships in all three tiers were granted. In 2017, the first ten Comenius Teaching Fellowships were granted.
» more information about these projects (in Dutch).