What is a NIAS Research Theme Group?
A NIAS research theme group is a group composed of up to six scholars, half of them from the Netherlands, the other half from other countries. They are Fellows of NIAS either for one full research year (1 September to 30 June) or one semester of five months, starting on 1 September or 1 February respectively. Researchers work both individually and as a team on a clearly defined research topic with the aim of producing a concrete result such as a book, scientific paper or conference. The same quality criteria that apply to regular NIAS Fellows also apply to the participants of a theme group. On occasion, the theme group may offer a place to talented junior researchers who are thus able to further develop their skills by working closely with senior researchers.
A theme group should preferably be linked to an externally financed project (for example by the KNAW, NWO, EU), or to a NIAS area of interest (see NIAS Fellowships page).
How is a NIAS Research Theme Group initiated?
A NIAS research theme group can be initiated in a number of different ways.
- A researcher at a Dutch university can submit a theme group proposal.
- The Rector together with the Scholarly Committee may invite a specific researcher to submit a proposal that explores a topic which she considers of particular interest.
Procedure for submitting a NIAS Theme group proposal
A theme group proposal consists of a short summary of no more than two pages. This contains the topic, the methodology, and the expected research product, as well as a list of the preferred theme group members.
The theme group initiator is invited to discuss the proposal with the NIAS Directorate.
Following this discussion the initiator is asked to send in a more elaborate proposal (three to four pages, including the list of preferred theme group members). Then the Directorate solicits comments from external reviewers.
The following criteria are considered of importance:
- the academic status of the applicant within the research field in question;
- the originality of the proposal and evidence of the benefit of group collaboration;
- the expected impact of the theme group on the participants' research fields;
- previously established international collaboration between the proposed participants among themselves and with others;
- an account of how the planned activities will lead to a joint end product;
- the coordinator's leadership qualities;
- the feasibility of the study and resources, in particular the feasibility and the lasting impact of research results.
The initiator will be given feedback about the evaluation of the proposal. If necessary, the initiator will be asked to make adjustments or revise the proposal.
The final research theme group proposal is submitted together with the participants' individual fellowship applications and evaluated by the same external reviewers. The individual applications are evaluated both on their individual merits as well as in terms of their contribution to the theme group proposal.
Successful applicants are awarded a NIAS Theme Group Fellowship.
Ideally, the creation of a theme group is put in motion not later than the selection of the candidates for the individual non-themed fellowships starts, that is, 17 months before the start of the research year.
Deadline for research theme group applications for the research year 2014/15:1 April 2013
NIAS Research Theme Groups in previous years.