Call for Outreach initiatives

Would you like to promote your research and have a more significant impact on society?  

Embark on a journey of community impact with our call for Outreach initiatives! 

The Network Institute wants to motivate you to collaborate with societal partners, such as councils and NGOs and we are looking for researchers passionate about making a positive difference. We want to support you to launch impactful outreach initiatives and for this we launch this new call. We want to join forces with you in planning, executing, and piloting impactful outreach activities. As a result, the Network Institute will test a new collaboration method with researchers and external partners to showcase VU research while widening our outreach activities!

Your initiative can range from community events to educational programs, as we explore diverse ways to connect and contribute to society. So, join us by initiating outreach activities that leave a lasting impact on our communities!

The winning initiative will obtain funding and support to carry out an outreach initiative within and outside the VU. The committee will fund one project.

Examples of outreach activities include but are not limited to: the setup of a longer-term collaboration to support a municipality with science-backed decisions, tackling a specific scientific problem with a societal partner (e.g., an NGO, a company, a municipality, etc.), organizing events with citizens and societal stakeholders, engaging with local communities to discuss societally-relevant topics, conducting educational sessions, etc. 

It is important to emphasize that this call is a pilot. The Network Institute is starting this year the “Outreach call for initiatives” as a pilot aimed at determining the optimal approach for similar initiatives related to outreach and transfer activities of VU researchers. The researchers winning this call are encouraged (and expected) to actively contribute to the development of this initiative for future utilization by the Network Institute.

Who can participate?

This call is aimed at VU researchers who are willing to plan, discuss, and carry out outreach activities related to their own research. Participants must be in teams of at least 2 members, of which at least one must be a member of the Network Institute. Team members can be VU researchers (at any level – from PhD students to postdoc researchers, professors, etc.), VU staff members (e.g., lab managers), and VU students.

Applicants must be willing to contribute not only to their proposed initiative, but also to the development of a solid outreach template that the Network Institute can use in future collaboration initiatives. This will involve working together with people from the Network Institute, DURF, and IXA to see: how to best handle this initiative, how (VU) resources are best put to use, what specific role(s) the Network Institute can and should play in these initiatives, etc. 


The committee will fund one project. A budget of up to € 10,000 will be made available for the winning project. This budget is intended to enable applicants to carry out outreach activities related to their research areas. This includes but are not limited to the following:   

  • Funding of maximum € 10,000 to be spent on activities related to the project;
  • Support from the NI Outreach team:
    • Help to gain more visibility among NI partners and other organisations via social media, newsletters, etc.
    • Internal advice (members of the NI Outreach team will be embedded in the team)2
    • Connecting you with stakeholders within and outside the VU
    • Help to create a template for similar initiatives for future use

Selection criteria

The winning projects will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Societal relevance: the research project must be about the Digital Society3.
  • Feasibility: the outreach activities must be possible to implement within the timeframe and budget of the present call. We encourage participants to make contact with the potential external partners before submitting the proposal.
  • Interdisciplinarity: having an interdisciplinary team is not a must, but it is a plus. 
  • Support for the NI: Willingness to work together with the Network Institute in developing an outreach collaboration template for future use.


  • Participants submit their proposal before February 29th 2024 according to the given proposal template (available here); 
  • The organisers of the call perform a first check of the well-formedness of all submitted proposals and submit the well-formed ones to the selection committee;
    • The selection committee is composed of:
      • All organizers of this call (as listed at the end of this document)
      • A member of DURF
      • A member of IXA
  • The selection committee assesses the received proposals according to the selection criteria described in this call;
  • On March 15th 2024 the organisers notify all participants about the decisions of the selection committee;
  • The NI organisers make the requested budget available to the winning team;
  • The NI organisers monitor the progress of the realisation of the winning project via multiple internal meetings with the winning team;
  • The winning team and NI organisers will work together from start to finish to facilitate the development of a template for similar outreach collaborative initiatives. This will include but is not limited to: do’s and don’ts, what support is needed, what resources are needed, how to make sure you approach the right party, how to report on the success (or failure) of the initiative, etc.
  • The realisation of the winning projects must be completed before March 15th 2025;
  • At the end of the projects, a short reflection report of the outreach activities and process are provided by the winning team. Such a report will be shared publicly on the website of the Network Institute, together with additional dissemination material for the general public, like a short video, an infographic, a comic, etc.

Proposal submission

Proposals must be submitted to by 23:59 of February 29th 2024. In order to be considered, each proposal must follow the official template of the initiative. The template can be downloaded on the official web page of the initiative:

Each proposal has a maximum length of 2 pages in A4 format. Participants can participate in more than one team.

Important dates

  • February 29th 2024: deadline for proposals
  • March 15th 2024: notification of the winning team
  • March 15th  2025: the winning project is completed


This initiative is organised and sponsored by the Outreach team of the Network Institute, the hub for interdisciplinary research on the Digital Society at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

For any further questions on the initiative, please contact its organisers:

1Funding and project duration are negotiable. Based on the project proposal, the NI will reserve the right to reduce/expand them.

2It is important to note that this is the first edition of the Outreach call for the Network Institute, so some aspects of the initiative will be refined during the execution of the winning project.

3See the mission statement of the Network Institute for further details.