Academy Assistants

Call for Network Institute Academy Assistant Projects
Apply for an interdisciplinary research project and work with 2 student assistants 

Deadline June 14th, 2024 at 23.59 pm 

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 at least six proposals. 

Accepted proposals will start in October 2024. 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 outcome of the project is a published paper and/or research proposal. In addition, at the end of the project (July 2025) we will publish all final project reports on the 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 editable word template here (page 2, opens a preview before download). Send the completed proposals to:, before June 14th 2024 at 23.59.  An independent review committee will evaluate the proposals based on quality, interdisciplinarity, and novelty. The successful projects will be announced by July 5th 2024. All submitted projects are invited to attend the NIAA end-of-year event, where this year’s projects will be presented (July 3rd, 3-5pm, room tba).

Quick facts

  • Proposals shall be interdisciplinary and within the Digital Society scope;
  • Project supervision by two researchers (any researcher, e.g. teaching staff, research staff, PhD students, can be supervisors); 
  • At least one supervisor 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; 
  • Teams can include other people in supervising roles, as long as each assistant has one  responsible co-applicant supervisor;
  • Clear research outputs are expected by the project (e.g., scientific publications, seminars,  white papers, reports); 
  • 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 to a researcher, the researcher will have to find an alternative supervisor (please already indicate this in the proposal);  
  • 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; 
  • If more expenses are expected, the supervisors can instead opt to hire the two student assistants for 9 months (instead of 10) to add an extra 1000€ of travel/research expenses to the project (please indicate this in the proposal);  
  • Each supervisor is the primary responsible for one student. In case of a conflict between the two supervisors, the resources of the project (the two students and any remaining budget) will be split equally between the supervisors;
  • Submission before 14th June 2024 at 23.59
  • Decisions communicated by 5th July 2024 via email; 
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