Academy Assistants

With the Academy Assistant program (NIAA) the Network Institute aims to interest bright young master students for conducting scientific research and pursuing an academic career. The program brings together scientists from different disciplines; every project combines methods & themes from informatics, social sciences and/or humanities. For each project, 2 student research assistants work together. The projects result in papers and/or research proposals. The program started in 2010 with 4 projects funded by the KNAW.

This program 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.

Quick facts about the initiative:

  • Proposals shall combine two disciplines that are part of the Network Institute
  • 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)
  • 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
  • Upon acceptance by the NIAA organizers, supervisors have the possibility of trading a maximum of 2 months of student-assistant-time for receiving an additional budget of max 1000€. The additional budget can be used for supporting additional activities carried out during the project (in addition to the 500€ mentioned in the previous point)

An overview of all Academy Projects we funded since the first edition of the initiative in 2012 is available on this website (“Academy Projects” menu).

For each awarded project, the program will fund two student research assistants (0,2 FTE) for a period of ten months and 500€ of expenses.
The expected outcome of the projects are published papers and/or research proposals. In addition, at the end of the projects, we will publish all project proceedings on its website.

For more information, contact the student coordinator at or the coordinating team:

Organizers of the NIAA initiative