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Comenius programme

The Comenius program aims to improve Dutch higher education through educational innovations. The Comenius grants enable higher education professionals to put their ideas for educational innovation into practice. In addition, they enable teachers to develop into excellent teaching professionals and are a token of appreciation for excellent and inspired teaching. The Comenius program is available for both campus and distance learning.

There are three different Comenius grants for educational professionals at different stages of their career: Teaching Fellows, Senior Fellows and Leadership Fellows. As teachers develop, their potential impact expands further.  Each year teachers can apply by submitting their proposals.

Read more about the Comeniusprogramme here.

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The Comenius programme offers the following grants:

Teaching Fellows

€50.000, one-year project, small-scale innovation (e.g., course level). You are at the beginning of your career with at least two years of teaching experience in higher education (see application procedure for more information).

Senior Fellows

€100.000, two-year project, innovation in a complete degree programme. You have at least five years of teaching experience in higher education. A maximum of one candidate per faculty can submit (see application procedure for more information).

Leadership Fellows

€500.000, three-year project, innovation in one or more faculties or a complete institution. You have at least seven years of teaching experience, educational leadership skills and a track record of contributing to the educational climate of your higher education institution. A maximum of one candidate per institution can submit (see application procedure for more information).


Three themes have been determined for the Teaching and Senior Fellows grants, and there is a fourth open theme. The Leadership Fellows projects are not submitted within a certain theme. These are intended to give a boost to the educational ambitions of the university or university of applied sciences as formulated in the strategic (education) plan of the institution concerned. 

In 2024, the Comenius programme will have four themes, namely 'Education forms of the future', 'Diversity and inclusion', 'Connecting to the labour market', and an open theme.

Theme 1 | Education forms of the future

Just like society, education is being faced with large changes and developments. For instance, technological developments are approaching education at high speeds. Artificial intelligence, such as ChatGPT, has had an impact on the short term, for example, the kind of assignments teachers give to students, but can also in the long term deliver improvements. In hybrid education forms such as learning communities, students get together from various education levels and societal partners more often to learn from each other. Students are also more often working beyond disciplines, such as to solve (societal) challenges in challenge-based learning. At the same time, education is more often shaped together with students. More innovation projects that are being evaluated on an evidence-informed manner can contribute to obtaining more insights on these education forms of the future.

Projects within this theme focus on the question of how innovative education forms and technological developments can be developed and implemented in a useful way into higher education, to improve students' learning.

Theme 2 | Diversity and inclusion

An important question is how we can support various student groups to find their way to and through higher education with more success. How can good education be provided with equal attention to the qualification and socialization of students? How can we ensure that all participants in higher education feel at home, from the student to the teacher? Diversity in background or beliefs can be considered here, but for example also in the education sector, by improving the connection between universities and universities of applied sciences.

Projects within this theme focus on making education or the educational environment more inclusive for students.

Theme 3 | Connecting to the labour market

Universities and universities of applied science aim to prepare students for their career development. The labour market is changing rapidly, with shifts in supply and demand, which means that it remains a challenge for higher education to maintain a connection with the professional field in the future. Consider, for example, the increasing shortage in the labour market and what this will demand of graduate students. Or major transitions as a result of which students will need different skills for a sustainable and healthy career.

Projects within this theme focus on preparing students for the changing labour market of the future.

Theme 4 | Open theme

Within the open theme, it is possible to choose from a wide range of topics. These are projects that contribute to the innovation and improvement of higher education for the benefit of students.

Projects within this theme focus on topics that arise from the teacher's curiosity in education design.

Application procedure

Teaching Fellows

Precise guidelines for this application are published in the Calls for Proposals. If you are interested, please contact your faculty funding officer for internal deadlines and procedures.

  • Information meeting by NRO: 22 and 24 June 2022

  • Letter of intent (deadline): 19 September 2023, 14:00 CEST

  • Preliminary application (deadline): 17 October 2023, 14:00 CEST

  • Full application (deadline): 16 January 2024, 14:00 CEST

  • The decision by the assessment committee: April 2024

Senior Fellows

Precise guidelines for this application are published in the Call for Proposals.

For the Senior Fellow grant: Only one Senior Fellowship can be nominated per faculty. Most faculties, therefore, organize an internal selection procedure. If you are interested, please contact your dean and faculty funding officer for internal deadlines and procedures.

  • Information meeting by NRO: 28 June 2023

  • Letter of intent (deadline): 12 September 2023, 14:00 CEST

  • Preliminary application (deadline): 10 October 2023, 14:00 CEST

  • Full application (deadline): 9 January 2024, 14:00 CEST

  • Rebuttal based on preliminary advise: Mid-January 2024
  • The decision by the assessment committee: April 2024
Leadership Fellows

Precise guidelines for this application are published in the Call for Proposals.

For the Leadership Fellows grant: only one Leadership Fellowship can be nominated per institution. Therefore the UG organizes an internal selection procedure in which Deans are asked to submit names of possible candidates at the beginning of each calendar year. If you are interested, please contact your dean and faculty funding officer for internal deadlines.

  • Letter of intent (deadline): 05 September 2024, 14:00 CEST

  • Full application (deadline): 17 October 2024, 14:00 CEST

  • Rebuttal based on preliminary advise: Early January 2025

  • Interviews: Late March 2025

  • The decision by the assessment committee: April 2025

More information

More information

More information regarding the grants can be found in the Comenius brochure and by consulting the FAQ on the NRO website.

Tips for writing a proposal

Tips for writing a proposal

NRO has created short videos with tips on how to write a Comenius proposal, which you can view on this website. For questions, please contact our talent and grant coordinator, dr. Maaike Engels, via m.c.engels

Comenius Fellows UG

The UG Comenius laureates are:


Teaching Fellow | Dr ir. Pablo Druetta (FSE): “Improving the teaching of computational fluid dynamics courses in lecture rooms by means of virtual reality tools”

Computer simulation techniques have improved the way we do and teach engineering in the last decades. These tools have however a drawback: the visualization of a 3D world in 2D screens. Many students have faced this problem, trying to understand the complex physics at the same time they tried to elucidate what was displayed in the blackboards. This leads to a passive learning process and an increase in drop-out rates. Our proposal aims at tackling this problem by means of VR tools, which will ease the visualization and learning process as well as create an active learning environment.

Teaching Fellow | Dr Koen Van Benthem and Dr Thomas Hackl (FSE): “Teaching coding effectively through interactive formative assessments”

Data science proficiency is a vital skill in industry and academia. State-of-the-art data analysis requires coding, which has a steep learning curve for many students. We will implement a platform to which students in the biostatistics 1 and 2 courses can submit solution scripts. Upon submission, the platform will provide immediate automated individual feedback to the student. This will allow students to improve their analysis through multiple rounds of feedback, independent of teacher availability. Furthermore, it will allow teachers to adjust the course in real time based on an analysis of the submitted scripts and associated feedback.

Teaching Fellow | Dr Liga Klavina (FBSS): “Access Academic Skills: removing obstacles in the first-year learning community course”

Access to education, as a precondition for a diverse student body, ensures equity and talent utilization. About 30% of the students experience obstacle(s), may it be spaces, materials, group processes, or the academic culture. Learning communities (LCs) allow to provide accessible and inclusive learning experiences. To enable all students can make the most of the benefits of LCs and to increase access to ‘Academic Skills’, the obstacles need to be understood and reduced, using students’ input and evidence-based approaches. This project offers tools to reduce obstacles and to enable educators to manage diversity, increase accessibility and inclusiveness.

Senior Fellow | Dr ir. Erik Meijles (FSS): “Building student confidence by voluntary formative progress testing”

With this project, we stimulate students’ insight into their learning development and their self-confidence through progress testing at the programme level. We expect to increase student retention of knowledge and skills. Student can view their progress in comparison to programme learning outcomes, their previous results and their peers’ results on an informative dashboard. A second dashboard provides insight into the progress of specific student groups for educational managers and educators. We will share our experiences and the developing process with other educational institutions through open-access output.

Senior Fellow | Dr Ruby Otter-Drost (UMCG): “Exercise = Medicine: Interdisciplinary learning communities for applied exercise physiology”

Exercise is important for a healthy lifestyle, but this is not easy for everyone. Healthy exercise may be a challenge for the elderly, but also for athletes who exercise a lot. In the Netherlands, physicians and human movement scientists have the expertise but there is no common approach or education in applied exercise physiology. In this Comenius project, we will develop an academic program for students, teachers and professionals in multiple disciplines to learn together about healthy exercise in two subsequent learning communities. This creates a better connection between education and the professional field for the application of Exercise=Medicine.


Teaching Fellow | Dr. M.H. Lee: Developing a Framework to Optimize Existing Curricula for Hybrid Instruction

Many students attend university to study STEM fields, but may not be able to afford tuition and boarding without having a job at the same time. Given the recent increases in undergraduate students enrolling in those studies, which often have large introductory courses that lack the physical space to accommodate them during lectures and tutorials, universities need to reconsider how those courses are organized; one solution is hybrid education. Our project proposes the development of a framework, based on research of effective teaching practices, that instructors can use to adapt existing curricula for hybrid instruction.

Teaching Fellow | Dr. Audrey Rousse-Malpat: A multilingual approach for students from a broad language program

As a language student, you probably recognize this problem: you want to major in French but most of the courses in your language program are offered in English. Yet, you are supposed to reach a high level in French during your bachelor's degree. This project aims to help you by offering a multilingual course in which you learn to understand each other's languages and cultural points of view, while you continue to develop the French language through strategies such as language comparison, interpretation and mutual understanding. A premiere in a university!

Teaching Fellow | Dr. Gerd Weitkamp: Measuring and Imagining Spatial Design: integrating geospatial measurements and virtual realities to support spatial skills of students in collaborative spatial planning and design

Complex spatial problems in urban areas require the integration of knowledge from different perspectives to make informed urban design decisions. In this project, we develop a teaching module including a Geospatialreality toolset, that enables the use of spatial data for designing an urban area informed by quantitative measurements of spatial features and subjective experiences in a Virtual Reality environment. The toolset will be interactive and dynamic: changes in the design will affect the quantitative measurements and the experience in VR. The module will learn how to create a design with iterative and collaborative methods, enabling a transdisciplinary approach.

Senior Fellow | Dr. Oksana Kavatsyuk: Let’s WeBWork together: collaboration between faculty and students for successful blended/hybrid learning

Blended-learning tools are not automatically sufficient for the students’ study success. Educational design that facilitates community building and collaboration between students is vital. We have developed a comprehensive strategy, encouraging community building and collaboration between students, aiming to humanize the online/hybrid courses, through building of trust, presence, awareness and empathy. Easy to follow step-by-step guidelines for teachers will be produced, including a project website, instructions, and instructional videos on humanizing (online/hybrid) courses and using the WeBWork Open-Source platform for assignments. Students will be involved as co-creators and testers, gaining unique programming, communication, and management experience.

Leadership Fellow | Prof. dr. Jan Riezebos: Creating value of student diversity through logistical innovations

Student diversity is the norm rather than the exception in teaching nowadays. Diversity should bring value to the learning process of all students. However, research indicates that it requires careful planning of lecturers to develop diversity into a valuable asset in the learning process of students. If poorly managed, diversity may result in tensions and reinforcement of prejudices among students. To make value of diversity, lecturers need both technological and pedagogical training and support. This project offers technological support for, a.o., inclusive group work through educational logistics, while pedagogical support is offered through inclusiveness training.


Teaching Fellow | Dr. Bharath Ganesh: Pixascope: Big Visual Analytics for Social Media

The project is dedicated to “Pixascope”, a software package for students and researchers to analyze large-scale visual datasets, like those that can be collected from social media platforms. Currently, much of the research on large datasets focus on text, rather than images. This project hopes to give students the tools to use cutting-edge technology to analyze visual culture and enhance teaching and learning in RUG’s MA track in Social Media & Society. While visual platforms such as Instagram and TikTok are growing in prominence, education still prioritizes text. Pixascope hopes to change that by providing a new set of tools and an educational programme alongside them.


Teaching Fellow | Dr. Oksana Kavatsyuk: Gender inclusive education in the mathematics classroom

The project focuses on exploring how all students regardless of gender could be encouraged to explore their talents to their full potential in the domain of mathematics. Aim of the project is to show that a course like Calculus can be gender inclusive with a number of small changes. Till now a lot of efforts were put by different organizations to increase the enrollment of girls into STEM study programs, however, research universities are still behind to take measures to retain female students.

Teaching Fellow | Dr. Jolien Mouw: Keeping Order in a Virtual Kindergarten Classroom

Many pre-service teachers feel they are insufficiently prepared to effectively manage disruptive behaviors, especially when learning is situated in a dynamic setting such as a kindergarten. Moreover, they find it challenging to translate scientific theories on classroom management into everyday kindergarten teaching practices. Therefore, the main aim of our project "Keeping order in a Virtual Kindergarten Classroom" is to develop and evaluate an innovative and interactive Virtual-Reality kindergarten environment in which students of the Academic Teacher Training Program (AOLB) can safely experiment with different classroom management strategies.


Senior Fellow | Mr. Esther Hoorn: Privacy in Research: Asking the Right Questions

Within universities, much research is conducted and there is a big focus on how to do research. Since the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR, in Dutch: AVG), guarding the privacy of stakeholders has become a top priority. This project aims to teach students how to ask the right questions about privacy by helping them look at privacy issues from various perspectives (researcher, subject, legal expert, IT expert, etc.). Furthermore, it will develop an approach for successfully designing, implementing, and embedding responsible research methodology in interdisciplinary research. The project provides material and know-how for the next generation of researchers.

Senior Fellow | Dr. Jan Albert van Laar: Deliberative debating

The University of Groningen is developing an app based on insights from argumentation theory and deliberation theory that helps students conduct a deliberative debate. Information gathering, consultation, and the exchange of arguments are central to this. The app also allows students to experiment with self-designed discussion formats. The aim is to create widely applicable education modules, first for bachelor's and master's students, and then for students in secondary, secondary, and higher education.


Teaching Fellow | Dr. Marjolein Deunk:  Visual thinking strategies as a foundation for intercultural competence

In the innovative Visual Thinking Strategies method, students of Academic Teacher Primary Education at the University of Groningen discuss a work of art, in order to stimulate their awareness and a critical open attitude. They then similarly discuss a video recording of a reading session in a culturally diverse kindergarten class. The aim is to positively influence knowledge, attitudes, and self-efficacy (confidence in one's abilities) with regard to cultural-ethnic diversity in the classroom. This should contribute to the development of intercultural competence of prospective teachers.

Last modified:16 May 2024 11.17 a.m.
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