Call for Network Institute Academy Assistant Projects 2023

The Network Institute’s (NI) Academy Assistants program (NIAA) is now entering its 14th year. Initially funded through a KNAW grant and aimed at combining social sciences and computer science research, it has since been adopted by the Network Institute and opened up for other interdisciplinary projects which fall within the NI’s research themes. The Academy Assistants program aims at promising high-potential master students who want to conduct scientific research and possibly pursue an academic career. As in previous years, this year the program will also be able to fund six or seven projects.

Accepted proposals will start in October 2023. The program aims to bring together scientists from different disciplines; therefore, the projects must combine methods and themes from two different disciplines affiliated with the NI. For each awarded project, the program will fund two student research assistants (0,2 FTE) for a period of ten months. The expected outcomes of the project include published scientific publications and/or research proposals. In addition, at the end of the project (July 2024) we will publish all project proceedings on its website.

This call is aimed at VU researchers who are willing to cross the boundaries of their own discipline, and who have a research topic in mind that would benefit from such an interdisciplinary approach. We especially encourage early career researchers, including post-docs and PhDs, to apply for this funding.

Applicants should send us a short research proposal as outlined in the complete call for proposals (click here).
To be eligible, applicants must follow the template proposal included in the call for proposals.
Send the completed proposal to:, before 20th June 2023 at 23.59.

An independent review committee will evaluate the proposals based on quality, interdisciplinarity, and novelty. The successful projects will be announced on the 5th July 2023, during the NI End-of-the-year event (3-5pm, room NU-3B05).

Quick facts:

  • Funding is for two student assistants for 10 months, at 1 day per week (0.2 FTE)
  • 500€ travel/expenses budget per project will be allocated
  • Proposals shall be interdisciplinary and within the Digital Society scope
  • Project supervision by two researchers (of which at least one has to be a member of the Network Institute)
  • Regular team meetings (2 supervisors and 2 students) and progress reports are expected by all projects
  • Clear research outputs are expected by the project (e.g., scientific publications, seminars, white papers, reports)
  • Teams can include other people in supervising roles, as long as each assistant has one responsible co-applicant supervisor
  • Proposed projects can be continuations of previous NIAA projects. In that case, supervisors need to address how this new proposal is different from the previous project
  • A maximum of 1 project per supervisor will be awarded (although it is allowed to submit multiple proposals. In case multiple projects are awarded, a supervision solution will have to be negotiated)
  • Submission before 20th June 2023 at 23.59
  • Decisions communicated on 5th July 2023, during the NI End-of-the-year event (3-5pm, room NU-3B05). Decisions will also be communicated via email after the event

 For more information and inspiration, visit

This year, we offer a matchmaking service: if you are interested in a project but have not yet found a co-applicant, or if you are a student interested in being a NIAA, please send an email to and we will attempt to identify potential collaborators.

 If you have any questions regarding this call or eligibility, please contact

We look forward to receiving your proposals!

NI Academy Team