FAQ Comenius programme 2018

An overview of frequently asked questions about the Comenius programme 2018. Missing the answer to your question? Please contact comenius@nro.nl.


Is a translation of the Calls for Proposal and the application forms available?
The English Calls for Proposals and application forms can be found here: https://www.nwo.nl/en/funding/our-funding-instruments/nro/comenius-programme/index.html.

I’m not comfortable writing my proposal and/or questions in Dutch. Can I submit my proposal for a Teaching Fellowship or Senior Fellowship in English?
Yes, you can.

Can I send a question in English to the NRO office?
Yes, you may. We will try our best to answer in English. If our answer confuses you, please call us, and/or ask a Dutch colleague to call/e-mail us at comenius@nro.nl with your question.

Can I see examples of last year’s successful applications?
No. It is not customary to publish applications. Furthermore, the criteria and the application form have changed considerably compared to last year, so these should not be regarded as ‘exemplatory’ for this year.

I am planning a project which aims to accomplish [x]. Which thema should I chose? What are my chances for obtaining the grant?
These are questions that cannot be answered by the NRO staff. In the Calls for proposals you can find a short ‘manual’ on how to select the theme. In the application, the applicant should explain and defend the connection to the chosen theme.

Who can give me advise on how to write my proposal?
The staff of NRO and the members of the committee can not help you with advise regarding a specific proposal. We do advise everyone to seek help within your own insitution, e.g. a grant advisor, educational researcher or educational adviser. We also recommend you to show the application to at least one colleague and one teacher or other professional outside your academic field, to check the application for discpline-specific jargon.

Because of the limitations in editing options, my co-workers/co-applicants cannot make remarks in the document.

  • The forms have been protected with a password in order to avoid changes tot he structure of the document etc  If you wish to enable comments, you can consider to take off this protection. The password for all forms is Comenius2018.
  • Please be careful that you do not make any changes in the headings and/or order of the form. You can check this by taking a new, protected document when submitting your final application.

If I copy too long links in the table under ‘Education projects and/or examples of education material’, the table gets messed-up.
You can solve this problem by just copying the link in the column on the left. Or see the question about the protection of the form, above.

The ‘drop-down’ menu in the first part of the MS-Word form do not seem to be working
This a communication error between MS-Word and (some versions of) Word and/or other text formatting software used on Apple computers. This problem is solved by opening the form on a Windows-computer.

I cannot insert a scan of the signature of my coordinator / dean / executive board in the application form.
If this problem persists you can attach a seperate declaration to the application form (please submit this in one PDF).

I would like to withdraw my letter of intent.
You can do this by logging in to your ISAAC account. Go to the page of your letter of intent, and click ‘withdraw’.
When cancelling your letter of intent, you are not obliged to state the reason for doing so. However, in order to evaluate this first ‘complete round’ of the Comenius programme, we would appreciate it if you take the time to tel lus. Please send an e-mail to comenius@nro.nl.

I did not submit a letter of intent. Can I nevertheless submit a full application?
No. The letters of intent are used to inform both the NRO office and the applicants on the (maximum) number of applications submitted in a round  & theme. Without letter of intent, you cannot submit a proposal.

I submitted a letter of intent, but I would like to promote a colleague as main applicant. Can I change this?
This is not allowed, and is also not possible to do by yourself, since both the letter of intent and the application are submitted through the account of the main applicant. In case you are not in a position to manage the project and this is caused by circumstances beyond your control, please send an e-mail to comenius@nro.nl

Can I change the theme of my application?
No, this is not allowed. (Please see the question about submitting an application without submitting a letter of intent).

Can I change the title and summary of my application, in comparison to the letter of intent?
Yes, you can. However, please notify us via comenius@nro.nl if you decide to change the title. (You do not have to notify us on changes in the summary.)

I do not have a position at a higher education institute for the full duration of my project, but I might get this if the grant is awarded to my proposal. Can I submit an application?
No, you cannot. The context in which your project is carried out is crucial for the success of the project. It is therefore necessary that your contract and/or the people you can work with are not in question.

I have a position at a Dutch Higher Education institute, but gained the majority of my experience in teaching at the higher education level abroad. Can I submit a proposal?
Yes, you can.

My co-applicants work in a different team with another supervisor and/or at another faculty. Should we include declarations and signatures of every single supervisor/dean?
No, you don’t need to. Please make sure that in the declaration of the supervisor / dean of the main applicant, the undersigned declares that he/she has discussed the role of all members of the team with their supervisors. If necessary, you could further expand on the way other departments/teams are involved in the description of the plan and/or the team.

Do I need to upload a seperate CV along with my proposal?
No, you don’t have to. In the application form you will find space to list your professional experience relevant to this project.

I have a question regarding the years of experience required to submit a poroposal for Teaching / Senior / Leadership Fellowship
You can add the years of experienced gained at different institutions.

How important is my (teaching) experience? How does this relate to the assessment of my vision for higher education?

  • The committee uses both your listed experience and the Professional Statement to assess whether your profile suits the Teaching / Senior / Leadership profile and whether your experience matches the proposed project.
  • In a strong professional statement, the applicant connects his/her teaching experience, vison on education, the proposed project and the envisioned next step(s) in their teaching carreer.

How do I provide access to examples of my teaching experience for the committee, if this teaching material is not publicly available?
You can upload files via a file-sharing platform (eg Dropbox, SURF file share, Drive) and copy & paste the link in the table in the application form.

If I am listed as a co-applicant in a Senior or Leadership fellow proposal, and the proposal is granted, will I be allowed to apply for a Teaching or Senior Fellowship myself in future rounds?
Yes, since it is only the main applicant who is ‘formally’ named as Fellow, you can still submit your own projects on ‘lower’ tiers in the programme.

I can list three co-applicants. Does that mean my team can comprise only four people?

  • No, your team can be larger than the number of co-applicants. Whoever you list as co-applicants is up to you.
  • Members of the team who have a role in co-desinging the project with you, in managing the project and / or in the research alongside the project could be listed as co-applicants. Team members with a smaller role or an ‘interchangeable’ role in the projects are not listed as co-applicants.
  • In the application form for the Leadership Fellows you will find room to not only list the professional experience of the main applicant, but also of the co-applicant(s).

I do not know the names of all people who will be working in my team. Should I list a “Person X” as co-applicant?

  • No, you should not. As described above, co-applicants are (usually) people who are also involved in the application stage of the project. People who are not yet involved and –possible-  will be hired only later should not be listed as (anonymous) co-applicants.
  • In the application form you will find space to describe the team, including the persons and/or expertise who will be hired later on. On the estimate of the budget you can list the role/expertise, and not the person.

We envision a teaching professionalisation project, aimed primarily at teachers. Students are, at this stage / for the duration of the project nor (directly) involved. Can we submit an application for a Comenius grant?

  • No, probably not. The projects in the Comenius programme should benefit the students at Dutch Higher Education institutes. The project and/or the intervention should therefore take place in the (digital) learning environment of the students.
  • This does not mean that teacher professionalisation cannot be a part of a Comenius project. In fact, in case of the Senior and Leadership fellow projects, this is very likely.

We envision a research project that has the potential to lay the foundations for an educational innovation. The innovation / intervention will take place after the duration of the proposed project (with different funding.) Can we apply for a Comenius grant?
No, in the Call for Proposals you will find that the innovation has to be carried out during the project. In projects with a longer duration (Senior and Leadership) it is allowed to take some (more) time for initital research.

My project is primarily aimed at students at a different, non-Dutch institution. Can I submit a proposal?
No, projects should be aimed primarily at innovating and improving higher education in the Netherlands.

My institution is a publicly funded higher institution, but the programme is not (e.g. pre-master / post-initial / part-time / etc.) Can I submit a proposal?
Yes, you can.

Will the same themes be chosen for the Comenius programmes in 2019?
This has not yet been decided. The themes for 2019 will be decided on by the minister of education in spring 2018.

When can my project start?
Projects cannot start before the official announcement of the decision to honour / reject proposals. The earliest possible start date and last possible end-date are mentioned in the calls for proposals.

What do the “maximum fees” as listed in the Call for Proposals mean?

  • This means that the fees you list for the persons on the budget estimate cannot exceed these numbers. If the real costs are below these fees, you are advised to use the real costs. These fees are explained in further detail in the Guide to Government Fees for 2017, which is available at www.nwo.nl/nroprojectbeheer.
  • To determine the real costs at your institution, please contact the financial controller at your department.

What does the phrase “Of the total FTE for which budget is requested, at least 30% must be for the main applicant/project leader” (Call for Proposals Teaching Fellows) mean?

  • This condition is installed to guarantee that at least a considerable part (30% of the total time spend on the project) is carried out by the main applicant / project leader? This does not mean that at least 30% of the budget for salary costs should be reserved for the main applicant. Because of the variations in hourly fees, this can vary.
  • This condition is not applicable for the Senior and Leadership fellows, since these teams are bigger and more diverse.

Can I include costs for user-licences for software that has been developed before the start of the project and/or has not been developed by me as material costs in the budget estimate?
No, you cannot, even if these licences are required specifically for the project. When you do wish to include these costs in the total budget for the project, please show that these costs are shown by co-financing from your department/institution. Please note that these co-financing has to be guraranteed at the moment of submitting your proposal.

I work with a partner institution which is also a publicly funded HE institute. Can we list the costs of the personell of the other institution under ‘Staff costs’?

Yes, you can. However, if your proposal is granted the ministry will transfer the money tot he institution of the main applicant. This institution and the parner institution should then arrange the division of the budget among themselves.

I work with an organisation which is not a publicly funded Higher Education institute (e.g. projects in the category Socially engaged HE). Can I list the personell costs of the partner institution on our budget estimate?

  • Yes, to a certain extent. These costs should be listed as material costs. (This is because the funds in the Comenius Programme are primarily aimed at Dutch HE institutes). Please keep in mind that there are limits to the maximum amount of material costs.
  • An alternative could be to fund these hours as co-financing (in kind, in the form of personnell costs). Please keep in mind that the total co-founding budget cannot exceed the total requested budget.
  • Please also note that the requirement that 30% of the FTE is allocated to the main applicant (Teaching Fellow) still applies.

Can I list the salary costs of someone who works at a partner institution or social partners (theme “Higher education in connection with society) on the budget estimate?

  • Yes, if this person or persons play an active role in the design/management of the project.
  • You could also opt for co-financing and/or listing the contribution of the social partner as “in kind” contribution. Please note that the requirement that 30% of the FTE is allocated to the main applicant (Teaching Fellow) still applies.

What is the deadline for submitting a proposal?
The deadlines vary for every tier, and are listed in the Calls for Proposal.

Can I request a postponement for the submitting of a proposal?
No, this is not possible.

How do I submit my application in ISAAC?
You can submit your application by converting your letter of intent to an application. Open ISAAC, go to your letter of intent and click on the green button ‘Convert to application’. You can find more information on how to do this in §2.6 of the ISAAC manual.

My institution, faculty or institution is not yet registered in ISAAC, or the details are incorrect / outdated

  • Please send an e-mail to relatiebeheer@nwo.nl to make sure that the NRO secretariat can register the correct details. Please include:

– Complete official name of the institution / department
– Address (postal address and visiting address)
– Phone number

  • Check at least one week before the deadline whether your institution is registered correctly so that the NRO staff can change this in time!

ISAAC does not respond / I do not know how to proceed to the next step in ISAAC / I have another question about ISAAC
The staff at NRO cannot help you with technical questions about ISAAC (we cannot create an applicant’s account and can therefore not access the applicants’ interface). You can contact the ISAAC helpdesk if you have any technical questions about ISAAC. Please read the ISAAC manual before consulting the helpdesk. The ISAAC helpdesk can be contacted from Monday to Friday between 10:00 and 17:00 hours CEST on +31 (0)20 346 71 79. You can also send your queries by email to isaac.helpdesk@nwo.nl. You will receive an answer within two working days.

I did not receive a confirmation
Some universities’ servers or spam filters filter the e-mails sent out automatically by ISAAC. If you do not find a cofnirmation in your spam-folder, but you do see your application as ‘submitted’ in ISAAC, please sen dan e-mail with a screenshot from ISAAC to comenius@nro.nl.

When will I receive news on my application?
The planning for every round in the Comenius Programme is listed in the Call for Proposal. All communication is send tot he e-mail address of the main applicant in ISAAC.

Who are in the assessment committee?
To avoid external influences / pressure, the names of the persons in the assessment committees are confidential. A profile of the committee as a whole is listed in the Calls for Proposals.

Who are in the interview panel (Leadership Fellows)
When you are invited for an interview, you will receive a list of the members of the panel.

Will there be a new round of the Comenius programme in 2018?
Yes. The new calls for proposals will be published in June 2018. The deadlines for the letter of intent will be planned for late August. Deadlines for submitting a full application in Autumn 2018.

The themes for the Teaching and Senior Fellows will be decided by the minister of OCW in Spring 2018 and will be announced in May.

Updates and the Calls for Proposals will be published on the website of NRO and announced in the (Dutch) newsletter of NRO.

My question is not listed in the FAQ

  • Please send an e-mail to comenius@nro.nl.
  • If you send us an e-mail with a question on a specific tier, please mention “Teaching Fellow”, “Senior Fellow or “Leadership Fellow” in the subject line.

I have a question about ISAAC
The staff at NRO cannot help you with technical questions about ISAAC (we cannot create an applicant’s account and can therefore not access the applicants’ interface). You can contact the ISAAC helpdesk if you have any technical questions about ISAAC. Please read the ISAAC manual before consulting the helpdesk. The ISAAC helpdesk can be contacted from Monday to Friday between 10:00 and 17:00 hours CEST on +31 (0)20 346 71 79. You can also send your queries by email to isaac.helpdesk@nwo.nl. You will receive an answer within two working days.