Call for Network Institute Academy Assistant Projects 2021

Apply for interdisciplinary research projects with 2 student-assistants
Deadline 25 June 2021 at 23.59

The Network Institute’s (NI) Academy Assistants program (NIAA) has been running since 2008. 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.

Accepted proposals will start in October 2021. 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 funds two student research assistants (0,2 FTE) for a period of ten months. The expected outcome of the projects is a published paper and/or research proposals. In addition, at the end of the project (July 2022) we will publish all project proceedings on this 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 postdocs and PhDs, to apply for this funding.
Applicatns should send us a short research proposal as outlined in the template proposal below. Send the completed proposals to:, before 25 June 2021 at 23.59. An independent review committee will evaluate the proposals based on quality, interdisciplinarity, and novelty. The successful projects will be announced in July 2021.

Quick facts:

  • Proposals should combine two disciplines that are part of the Network Institute;
  • Project supervision by two (and not more than two) Network Institute researchers;
  • Regular team meetings (2 supervisors and 2 students) and progress reports are expected by all projects;
  • A clear research output is expected by the project;
  • Teams can include other people in supervising roles, as long as each assistant has one responsible co-applicant NI 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 one 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 ten months at one day per week (0.2 FTE);
  • 500€ travel/expenses budget per project;
  • Submission before 25 June 2021 at 23.59;
  • Decision send out on July 1st 2021.

Download Proposal Template (Word)

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:

Roser Morante,
Ilaria Tiddi, or
Jaap Ouwerkerk

We look forward to receiving your proposals!