The young researchers are headed to institutions in the United States, United Kingdom, China, Australia, Canada and several European countries. The successful proposals include projects that focus on building smaller quantum computers, the history of maritime collaboration, and medicine for treating Parkinson’s disease.

But the current pandemic could still hold things up. They will only be departing when it is safe to travel, NWO announced. More and more countries seem to have the virus under control, but there is still a danger of new variants emerging.

Spread your wings

The intention of NWO’s Rubicon funding programme is to keep promising scientists in research. Thanks to these grants, after graduation they can spread their wings in international skies.

There are usually three application rounds for the Rubicon grant each year with approximately sixty scientists having their proposals honoured from a total pot of seven million euros, but everything was different last year. These 31 new awards are the results of the second and third rounds in 2020. The NWO received applications from 94 researchers, which means that close to one in three applicants managed to secure a grant.

Two scientists from Erasmus University receive a Rubicon grant. Jing Hiah (Erasmus School of Law) will go to the University of Bristol for her research on the influence of digital platforms on labor relations and exploitation in domestic work. And Tina van der Vlies (Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication) can go to Cambridge with the grant to investigate why the ideas about the goals of history education in Dutch and English mass media are changing.

The much sought after Rubicon grant has been around since 2005. It gives young Dutch scientists a chance to build an international network that they can continue to draw on for the rest of their careers.


A Rubicon grant is a springboard to the fiercely coveted Veni, Vidi, and Vici grants. These awards take their name from the famous words of the Roman general Julius Caesar. The Rubicon is also associated with him: it’s the name of the river he crossed with his armies to seize power in Rome.