Incentive Regulations for Educational Innovation

There are many possibilities for teachers and educational programmes to receive (financial) support in the form of subsidies or incentive schemes for realising educational innovation. This page gives an overview of the current possibilities. If you have any questions about writing or submitting proposals, please contact Dr Silvester Draaijer ( of the Department of Student and Educational Affairs.

Open Regulations

Comenius grants

The Comenius programme was set up by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science to enable teachers and education managers (Fellows – €50k, Senior Fellows – €100k, Leadership Fellows – €500k) to realise their ambitions and plans for educational innovation and improvement. The Comenius programme has a budget of €6,200,000 in 2021.

SURF Open and Online Education

The SURF Open and Online Education Incentive Scheme was set up by the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science to enable institutions to gain experience with Open and Online Education. The projects are intended to contribute to the quality, accessibility, and efficiency of higher education or to higher academic success. The project does not need to be innovative for the Netherlands; it needs to be innovative for its own institution. The size of the application is a maximum of €175,000 with 50% matching of the own institution.

Erasmus+ KA2 Innovation and good practices

Erasmus+ is the EU programme for education, training, youth and sport in Europe for the period 2021-2027. It has an estimated budget of €26.2 billion. This is almost double the funding for the previous programme (2014-2020). The 2021-2027 programme places a strong emphasis on social inclusion, the green and digital transition and the promotion of youth participation in democratic life.

The aim of strategic partnerships is to modernise and strengthen education, (vocational) training and facilities for young people. Participating organisations get the chance to use innovative methods for education and training, a more professional approach in their organisation and more opportunities to work on an EU or international level.

More information on the horizontal field-specific priorities is available in the the Programme Guide.

Examples of Erasmus+ programmes in which VU participates within the framework of Educational Innovation are:

NWO Take Off

The Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) ensures quality and innovation in science and is one of the most important science funders in the Netherlands. Take-off, the funding instrument available to all scientific fields, encourages activity and entrepreneurship within the Dutch knowledge institutions. With this instrument, academic entrepreneurs – but also starters from universities of applied sciences (HBO) and starters who are making use of knowledge from institutions for Applied Research Organisations (TO2) – can bring their innovative research results to the market. Take-off is one of the instruments for knowledge utilisation which NWO implements together with ZonMw (The Dutch Organisation for Health Research and Development).

KnowVU Award

Knowledge Network Education VU (KnowVU) stimulates the discussion about the quality of education at VU and stimulates educational innovation. An annual prize is awarded to encourage and support innovative educational ideas. Are you an instructor at VU, VUmc or ACTA and do you have a good idea with which you could help improve the education within your study programme, your faculty or perhaps even the entire educational institution? Submit your educational idea and compete for the KnowVU Award jury prize of €7,500 and 50 hours of help from student assistants at the VU Education Lab. There is also an audience prize of €2,500.

Grassroots VU

Grassroots are small-scale innovations that teachers and students can bring about in their teaching. For grassroots, teachers can apply an existing technology or didactic approach for the first time in their subject or – as is usually the case – develop a new technology, whether or not in combination with a specific didactic approach and deploy it in their teaching. This means that Grassroots do not have to be state-of-the-art, but they have to be innovative for the person working with it. For the grassroots there are five prizes of €1,000. This amount can be used to hire expertise or to pay for special resources.

Subsidies from VU Association and Van Coeverden Adriani Foundation

The VU Association and VCAS support projects that are related to the objectives of the association and that benefit VU and the VUmc (Amsterdam University Medical Centre). In 2021 the VU Association together with VCAS will spend a total of € 986,000 on subsidies. These grants also include scholarships.

The deadline for applying for a subsidy for 2022 has passed.

Conditions and applications
If you wish to apply for a subsidy from VU Association/VCAS, please contact, as the subsidy regulations document is not available in English.

The VU Association/VCAS Subsidy Committee advises the VU Association Board and the VCAS Board. The assessment takes into account the degree of co-financing of the requested grant and whether the grant proposal is not intended (only) to cover overhead costs. The Subsidy Committee meets twice each academic year: in September to advise on new subsidy applications for the coming year and in April to assess the annual reports on previously awarded subsidies. After the advice of the Subsidy Committee, the boards of the VU Association and VCAS decide whether or not to award the grants and applicants are notified.

Advice or information

For more information about the possibilities to apply for a subsidy from VU Association/VCAS, please contact:

A. (Annemarie) Bibo, MA   
Secretary VU Association 
T 020 5985340