I am working on a Veni (introductory individual) grant application to the Dutch Organization for Science, NWO. My proposal is interdisciplinary in its methodology, but firmly rooted in historical linguistis concerning its research question.

I wonder about the pros and cons of submitting my application to humanities (SGW) or as interdisciplinary (DO, for domein-overschrijdend) proposal.

I know that the domain will affect the choice of reviewers/committee members who get to judge the proposal, and that I will have to tailor my application to it.

What is unclear to me, however, is whether there are other factors that mean I should choose one or the other. In particular, are there differences in funding structure and application counts that would mean there is an expected difference in the success chances of an SGW versus a DO application?

NWO have changed their application structure this year. Applications in the domains of humanities or technology (but not interdisciplinary applications between the domains) now need to submit a pre-proposal which needs to be accepted before one is allowed to submit the full application. This was introduced to reduce the workload of referees, which to me suggests that the quota of applicants to grants in humanities and technologies is larger than elsewhere. However, when I asked NWO staff about the difference between the humanities and the DO application procedure, they did only mention the effect on reviewers, not any difference in funds. Are there summary statistics or funding allocation descriptions available online that would show whether a DO application has an a priori higher chance of success?

  • Are previous years grants public? At least the titles? That might help you determine how your grant would fit into one or the other. – Jon Custer Jul 12 '18 at 14:06
  • What is "domein-overschrijdend"? I can sort of guess, but this is not English. – Oleg Lobachev Jul 12 '18 at 16:07
  • Ah. Is there any use in editing this question into a non-shopping question? If there isn't, I'm happy to leave this as-is. – Anaphory Jul 12 '18 at 20:46

Three years ago, the Veni award report listed the applications and awards per domain

Table of Veni awards by domain

In that year, there is no significant difference between the success chance in the SGW domain and DO-applications.

In the two years since (2016 and 2017), the report does not list comparable figures. (The 2016 report lists awardees by field, but not the corresponding number of applicants per field.) But for 2017, the Vidi awards are represented by the table. Comparing the success rate A Fisher exact test gives a p-value of 0.0675, so this still does not necessarily imply a bias in favour of DO-applications.

Table of Vidi awards by domain, 2017

The data tentatively suggests that the targeted domain does indeed not make an a-priori difference for the success of an application.

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