Dutch ‘Nationaal Groeifonds’ to launch new call for proposals

Published on: 12 September 2022 | Last edited on: 13 December 2022

If you have ambitious plans that you believe could significantly boost the Dutch economy’s growth potential, you may be eligible for funding from the Dutch ‘Nationaal Groeifonds’. In early 2023, the fund will be launching a new (brief) application round, supported by a budget of 2 billion euros. The application period will run from 2 January (12:00 am) to 3 February (5:00 pm). Applications will be processed in order of receipt, as long as the budget lasts. In this article, you can read which projects are eligible for funding. EGEN can help you draft the most competitive, high-potential proposal.

About the Groeifonds

The Dutch ‘Nationaal Groeifonds’ (National Growth Fund) is essentially a mega-investment fund established by the Dutch government. Launched in 2020, the fund will be investing billions of euros in the coming years in major projects that boost the earning potential of the Netherlands. In the previous two calls for proposals only the ministries concerned were eligible to submit applications, but this is set to change in the upcoming Groeifonds call, which will start in 2023. Applicants will then be able to apply for funding directly (i.e. without the assistance of a ministry). We take a closer look at the recently updated scheme below.

What projects are eligible for funding from the Groeifonds?

Let it be clear that the Groeifonds sets a very high bar, with only the strongest proposals being eligible for funding. The 2023 application round is no exception: project proposals for this round must meet the following minimum criteria:

  • Scale: the Groeifonds only supports large-scale projects, i.e. investment projects and investment programmes receiving a minimum of 30 million euros in subsidies. The proposed grant contribution should be an addition to private and/or public investments.
  • Two areas of focus: proposals must be in line with the focus area ‘Research, Development and Innovation’ or with the area ‘Knowledge Development’ (Education and Lifelong Development). Both focus areas are broadly interpreted. Note that an earlier focus area ‘Infrastructure’ has been discontinued.
  • Growth potential: the plans must be completed within a 15-year period, and must demonstrably contribute to steady, long-term growth of the Dutch economy. The stronger the evidence of the impact of the proposal, the more likely that the grant application will be approved.

Who is eligible to apply for funding from the Groeifonds?

Applications are essentially open to anyone with a strong proposal that meets the criteria above. However, in reality only strong partnership projects are likely to receive funding. For example, the Groeifonds believes it is important that applicants are market leaders who are experts in their field. The track records of the parties concerned are considered, as well as the combined expertise and implementation capacity of the consortium. The strength of the partnership tends to depend on factors such as: how comprehensive is the consortium (i.e. are any key players missing?), how innovative or unique is the proposed partnership, and how is this partnership organised?

The quality of the project proposal also plays a key role in the assessment: for example, the project activities must be clearly described (including goals, time frame and stages). The corresponding cost estimate must be supported by a solid strategic explanation of the impact of the proposal on the Dutch economy (including the impact on GDP). Proposals must also score high on the criterion of ‘feasibility’.

What types of projects is the Groeifonds looking for?

As we explained above, the Groeifonds is mainly looking for strong collaborative projects which could potentially have a substantial impact on the Dutch economy. The fund provides opportunities for projects and activities related to:

  • knowledge development
  • research, development and innovation:
    • research and development projects
    • the construction or upgrading of research infrastructure
    • the construction, upgrading or operation of innovation clusters
    • innovation of small and medium-sized enterprises, or:
    • process and organisational innovation.

In the section below, we list some examples of specific projects by way of illustration and to provide inspiration.

Many Groeifonds projects align with EGEN’s focus areas

The best way to learn about the types of projects the Groeifonds likes to support is to check projects which have received funding in the past. Interested parties can check the results of the first call for proposals and second call for proposals (in Dutch only). Note that many projects are related to areas in which EGEN has specialised, including the environment, sustainability and climate.

  • The DEMS project (Data-Driven Ecosystem for Mobility and Smart City) facilitates a digital link between mobility, space and sustainability, thereby laying the foundation for smart, sustainable urbanisation and mobility.
  • The ZES project (Zero-Emission Services) will enable a clean, zero-emission inland shipping industry, through a new pay-per-use system that makes battery-powered electric sailing (using green energy) affordable for ship owners.
  • The NWN project (Nieuwe Warmte Nu!) focuses on the installation of sustainable, collective heating systems and heating grids for homes and other buildings. Economies of scale and innovative technologies help keep project costs in check.
  • The project Aviation in Transition aims to make the Dutch aviation industry more sustainable through upscaling in technology, including hydrogen and other breakthrough technologies for ultra-efficient aircraft design.
  • The Groenvermogen II project (part of GroenvermogenNL) focuses on accelerating the upscaling of green hydrogen projects with a minimum capacity of 100 MW, in industrial supply chains such as chemicals, kerosine and steel.

EGEN’s team of experts is perfectly positioned to assist you in drafting a high-potential project proposal and the corresponding grant application.

What can EGEN do for you?

EGEN’s experts are intimately familiar with the Nationaal Groeifonds and other major national and European grant funds. We are pleased to assist interested parties in preparing for an application process. For one, we can help you set up a strong consortium that is able to meet the criteria established. We may also support you in translating your plans into an official, winning grant application. The expertise of EGEN and PNO Group extends across all sectors, industries and areas of technology.

If you would like to receive more information, please contact us by completing the contact form below, and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.

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