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The theme-based collaboration programme invites academics to formulate new, sometimes unexpected research questions on socially relevant themes at the interface of disciplines and faculties - and to also incorporate these in teaching. This programme is an important step in realising UvA’s ambition to make a valuable contribution to science and to addressing complex societal issues through collaboration, both between disciplines within the UvA and with external partners.

Call for Proposals Midsize Projects

Through this second Call for Proposals for Midsize Projects, researchers are encouraged to form interdisciplinary groups in partnership with non-academic stakeholders. They can apply for projects with a maximum budget of € 200k. The grant can be spent on hiring new, temporary staff, such as research assistants, postdocs, and data scientists for the duration of the project (up to two years) and additional project costs. Two or three grants will be awarded for each theme. Midsize Projects contribute to UvA’s strategic objective of inspiring generations through interdisciplinary research. Submit your proposal no later than 31 October 2024.

The call is open to all tenure-track, assistant, associate and full professors, as well as professors by special appointment at the University of Amsterdam. We invite passionate researchers to propose projects that align with one of the four IP Themes. 

  • Responsible digital transformations

    The theme 'responsible digital transformations' focuses on ethical, legal and societal aspects of digital technologies, algorithms, systems and platforms, and their impact on trust, dependence and equality in society.

    The steering group is led by Marieke de Goede (chair, dean FGw) and Peter van Tienderen (vice-chair, dean FNWI). Theme manager and contact person is Christine Erb (

    The following projects were awarded:

    Midsize projects:

    • Data sharing through a data intermediary. Exploring legal and technical mechanisms enabling low-risk business-to-government data sharing while complying with stakeholder rights and interests;
    • Personalized sign language learning at scale ('Een Gebarenstrand aan de Taalzee’);
    • The Digitalization of Illicit Urban Economies.

    Seed grants:

    • Sustainable privacy-enhanced data;
    • Synthetic data for responsible digital transformation to reduce animal testing and enhance new medical  treatment uptake: an application in acute ischemic stroke.
    • HUE: bridging AI representations to Human-Understandable Explanations
    • Understanding the Human in the Loop: Behavioural Insights to Develop Responsible AI Tools (HUMAINE)

    More information

    For more information on this theme and the projects, please visit Responsible digital transformations.

  • Fair and resilient societies

    This theme focuses on promoting a fair, stable and resilient society that ensures the well-being of its citizens.  

    The steering group is led by Agneta Fischer (chair, dean FMG) and Roel Beetsma (vice-chair, dean FEB). Theme manager and contact person is Christina Feray-Ceulemans ( 

    In April 2023, the following projects were awarded:

    Midsize projects:

    • Identifying and Safeguarding the Normative Foundations of Democracy;
    • Measuring what Matters: Addressing Urban Marginality in Amsterdam through a Wellbeing Economy Lens.
    • Climate Change & Displacement

    Seed grants:

    • (Ethnic) Representation in Media & Technology: Why Scientific Insights Matter;
    • Digital health for all: How to reduce inequalities in health and wellbeing through improving access and quality of digital care for vulnerable populations. For instance, by improving access and quality of digital care for vulnerable populations, like (undocumented) migrants.
    • Successful undocumented migrants: making do in the Dutch economy

    More information 

    For more information on this theme and the projects, please visit Fair and resilient societies.

  • Sustainable prosperity

    Sustainable prosperity 

    The Sustainable prosperity theme focuses on sustainable, climate-resilient progress by reducing the ecological footprint through behavioural change and by renewing materials and resources. 

    The steering group is led by André Nollkaemper (chair, dean FdR) and Peter van Tienderen (vice-chair, dean FNWI). Theme manager and contact person is Dylan Suijker ( 

    In April 2023, the following projects were awarded:

    Midsize projects:

    • Algae for circular economy: enhancing yield by solar spectral shaping;
    • Science in and with society: reducing emissions of Textile Microplastics in the Netherlands (SISTEM-NL).

    Seed grants:

    • A sustainable future for global production? Investigating the regulation of environmental sustainability in global supply chains through big data and modelling;
    • Energy Labels for Ecologically Sustainable Digital Services: A Technological, Behavioural, and Legal Perspective.

    More information 

    For more information on this theme and the projects, please visit Sustainable Prosperity.

  • Healthy future

    The 'healthy future' theme involves mental and physical health in relation to cultural factors, behaviour, participation in society, and the realisation of equal opportunities. 

    The steering group is led by Yvo Roos (chair, dean of Medicine) and Agneta Fischer (vice-chair, dean of FMG). Theme manager and contact person is Jillian O’Mara (

    In April 2023, the following projects were awarded:

    Midsize projects:

    • Breaking the transgenerational cycle of mental health problems through parental ACE-sensitive parenting interventions (ACE: Adverse Childhood Experiences);
    • Re-authoring meat consumption narratives: combining historical, cultural and public health perspectives.

    Seed grants:

    • Distorted transmission: AIDS, minority stress and understanding Dutch (male) homosexual minorities’ collective past;
    • Timing and Health (TIMINGHEALTH);
    • A planetary food commons for healthy and sustainable diets;
    • The ORAHabit-study: Addressing Knowledge Gaps in Oral Health Interventions;
    • ArtiC: Art in Care: Aesthetic Configurations. Impact and Spaces of Care.

    More information 

    For more information on this theme and the projects, please visit Healthy future.

More about Theme-based collaboration 

In a dialogue between the Executive Board, deans and the research community, four societal themes were selected, on which there is much relevant expertise within the UvA: 

  • Responsible digital transformations 
  • Fair and resilient societies 
  • Sustainable prosperity 
  • Healthy future 

Where are we now? 

Since 2022, a multidisciplinary steering group has been active for each theme. A work plan is made annually by each steering group, this work plan concretises the ambition for each theme to achieve closer cooperation between disciplines.

Meanwhile, several budgets have been awarded from Theme-based Cooperation: two rounds for Instrument I - Seed Grant and one round for Instrument II - Midsize Projects have been awarded. The third round Call for Proposals for Seed Grants opened on 21 March 2024, the deadline for this call is 23 May 2024. A second round for Instrument II, Midsize projects will follow later in 2024. 

Above, under Themes, you can see by theme which projects have been awarded in the past rounds.


Do you have a question or comment about theme-based collaboration? Or would you like to learn more about UvA’s Strategic Plan? If so, please contact the implementation team. 

Get in touch