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    Frequently Asked Questions

    Application procedure

    Can a professor nominate more than one candidate?

    Yes, this is allowed.

    Can an Emeriti professor nominate?

    Emeriti professors have the right to nominate candidates (“Ius promovendi”) up to five years after their retirement.The professors must state clearly why the candidate being nominated should be considered for the grant, and, in particular, to give an opinion on their expectations concerning the candidate as an academic in the future and concerning the contribution their candidate will make to science in the Netherlands.

    Can an assistant professor or associate professor nominate?

    Unfortunately, assistant Professors or associate Professors are not eligible to nominate candidates for the Fellowship.

    Can a referee recommend more than one candidate?

    Yes, this is allowed.

    Can the person who nominates a candidate also act as referee for them?

    No, this is not allowed. A nominator cannot also function as a referee.

    On the essay requirement: How do I prove my social commitment?

    The Niels Stensen Fellowship programme is implemented by Porticus, the international charity organisation that manages the grant-giving programmes of the Brenninkmeijer family entrepreneurs. The work of both Porticus and the Niels Stensen Fellowship is inspired by Catholic social teaching. Human dignity and social justice are key values of this teaching. The Committee gauges the extent to which candidates are aligned with these values by asking about their social commitment. A socially committed researcher will have developed a personal vision on the relevance and impact of their research. They will work with integrity, engage in dialogue with society and demonstrate a willingness to share their knowledge with colleagues and students. Social commitment is about the relationship between the researcher and society, not about the valorisation or social relevance of the research as such. The Committee assesses the essays on: Authenticity (intrinsically motivated, plausible story), Unselfishness (teaching, helping peers), Versatility (not just your own field), Environmental awareness (recognizing ethical dilemmas). For further instructions on the essay on social commitment, see the Candidates page. You are requested to write an essay of no more than one page.


    I do not have the Dutch nationality. Is that a problem?

    No. What counts is that you have obtained a PhD from a Dutch university, are currently working at a Dutch university or research institute and intend to continue your research in the Netherlands after the grant period.


    I have a PhD from a non-Dutch university. Does this qualify me for the Niels Stensen Fellowship?

    No, unfortunately it does not. You need to have a PhD from a Dutch university. You can still be eligible if you obtained your Masters degree at a non-Dutch university as long as you have a PhD from a Dutch university.

    I was awarded my PhD more than a year ago. Am I eligible for a grant?

    To be eligible to apply for a grant in this year, your PhD must have been awarded after 15 June last year. In some cases, you can ask for an exception to be made in the application form. The Committee will then take your situation into consideration when reviewing the application. For example: in the medicine field a postponement of one year can be considered, for maternity leave during your PhD a postponement of four months can be considered.

    I have not yet been awarded a PhD. Can I still apply?

    For you to be eligible to apply it has to be reasonably certain that you will shortly be awarded a PhD. You should provide us with a written statement from your university no later than 31 December of the current year confirming that the thesis committee has approved your thesis. The date of the PhD award should be before 15 June of the following year. If you have been awarded a grant and we do not receive this statement in time, the grant will be cancelled.

    Employment during and after fellowship

    Do I have to be employed by the university or research institute abroad?

    That is not obligatory. Your status at the university or research institute abroad will depend on what you have agreed with them. In some cases, researchers are on the payroll, but more often they have the status of visiting researcher or fellow. You are also free to work abroad on a self-employed basis. In that case it is important to be thoroughly informed about the consequences in terms of tax, pension contributions, insurance premiums, etc.

    Can I remain employed by a Dutch university or research institute?

    You may certainly remain employed by a Dutch organisation (under a contract for a small number of hours or even zero hours). We will deduct any income from the grant awarded (see under GRANT AMOUNT below). A zero hours contract is strongly recommended, because insurance premiums will remain.

    Can I stay abroad for a longer/shorter period than the 9-12 months the grant is awarded for?

    The grant is awarded for a period of no less than 9 months and no more than 12. A grant will not be awarded for less than 9 months. You may extend your stay by a few months, but we will not fund the extra time. We do expect you to intend to return to a Dutch university or research institute.

    I am not sure that I will be given a position in the Netherlands after the scholarship period.

    We understand this. What matters to us is your intention to return to work at a Dutch university or research institute.

    Grant amount

    How is the grant structured?

    The grant consists of three components 1) an allowance for living expenses (see: what are the standard allowances for living expenses?) 2) an allowance for travel expenses (see: what are the standard allowances for travel expenses?) 3) an allowance for ancillary expenses incurred during the scholarship period. You can request a maximum of € 5,000 for any ancillary expenses you expect to incur during your research project (for items such as the bench fee, conference costs, costs of training programmes, etc.). A detailed estimate of these expenses should be submitted and evidenced afterwards by means of a statement and receipts/invoices.

    What are the standard allowances for living expenses?

    The allowance for living expenses is a tax-free payment per month for the duration of the grant, adjusted upwards or downwards depending on the cost of living in the country in which you are carrying out research. We are aware that the cost of living can vary substantially from region to region or city to city within one country, but we have to base the allowance on the country average. You can add an additional 10% to the living expenses for each family member travelling with you, up to a maximum of 25%. Please note that an additional allowance can only be requested, for family members that are already born on the date of the application deadline. Pregnancies at that time can not be calculated in your budget. The standard allowances in the table are based on a scholarship period of 12 months. If you will be staying for less than 12 months, prorate the allowance amount. If you will be carrying out your research project at two different locations, calculate the standard allowances for the two locations on a prorated basis (based on the number of months to be spent at each location)

    What are the standard allowances for travel expenses?

    The travel allowance is based on the great-circle distance. Travel allowance is a standardized amount per country. You can also apply for a travel allowance for your partner and your children if they are accompanying you. Please note that an additional travel allowance can only be requested, for family members that are already born on the date of the application deadline. Pregnancies at that time can not be calculated in your travel budget.

    Will I have to pay tax on the scholarship I receive from the Niels Stensen Fellowship?

    No, the amount you receive for living expenses is tax free. The allowances for travel costs to and from the research location, for attending conferences and for your research costs are characterized as reimbursement of expenses and are also tax free. You do, however, have to provide us with documentation for these expenses.


    What type of insurance will I need?

    You will need to ensure you have adequate medical and third-party liability insurance. Check with your insurer whether your policy offers sufficient cover abroad. It is also advisable to ask the institute you will be visiting if there are any special arrangements in place.

    Are there any other types of insurance I can look into?

    You may want to arrange disability insurance, travel insurance, baggage insurance and home insurance in the destination country. - Disability insurance: please note that claims under this type of insurance are paid out as a one-off lump sum rather than in periodic instalments. There are exceptions to this; for more information please contact UWV (the Dutch body implementing employee insurance schemes) while you are still employed by a Dutch organisation. Different rules sometimes apply to some professionals such as doctors. You may also be eligible for disability insurance under the conditions of employment with a non-Dutch university. - It is up to you whether you opt to take out travel and baggage insurance. - It is also up to you whether you opt to take out home insurance in the destination country. Some insurance policies also cover your home contents abroad for a limited period. Your insurer will be able to provide more information on this. It may also be possible to temporarily extend your current policy to include cover abroad.

    May I include insurance costs as ' General expenses'?

    No, insurance costs should be paid from the allowance you receive for living expenses.

    AOW and pensioen

    How do contributions toward state and private pensions work during the scholarship?

    You can pay voluntary pension contributions. No separate amount is included for this is in the living expenses, however. If you will (continue to) be employed in the Netherlands, we advise you to contact the Human Resources department of your university or research institute. They will be able to inform you as to whether your employer will contribute towards your pension. For information about state pension contributions you can contact the Dutch Social Insurance Bank (SVB). For information about your private pension, please contact your pension fund.


    Does the Covid-19 pandemic restrict Fellows in doing research abroad?

    Niels Stensen Fellowship will continue to make grants to excellent researchers, also during the Covid-19 pandemic. We try to find solutions within the possibilities and that requires flexibility from both the Fellow and the Fellowship. The options to leave earlier or later have been expanded and in some cases it is even possible to partially carry out the research activities from the Netherlands. We ask Fellows to keep us informed and updated in a timely matter.
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