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Comenius programme

The Comenius programme contributes to the innovation and improvement of higher education in the Netherlands. The grants enable professionals in higher education to put their ideas for educational innovation into practice. Furthermore, they allow teachers to continue to develop themselves as excellent educational professionals. As they develop, their potential impact is extended further.

Each year, teachers can apply by submitting their proposal.

The programme includes three different grants, depending on the stage of your career: Teaching Fellows, Senior Fellows and Leadership Fellows grants.

More information about the Comeniusprogramme can be found on the NRO website.

Aim of the programme

The aim of the Comenius programme is to help teaching staff put their ideas to innovate education into practice. The Comenius programme offers grants to Teaching Fellows, Senior Fellows (up to one applicant per faculty) and Leadership Fellows (up to one applicant per institution). The Fellows are distinguished on the basis of their experience and the extent of their impact on education. Each year teachers can apply by submitting their proposals.

By facilitating a wide range of educational innovations each year, the programme contributes to the improvement of Higher Education in the Netherlands. Furthermore, by demonstrably valuing excellent and inspired teaching, the Dutch Ministry of Education is keen to contribute to more variety in the careers of teachers and researchers at universities and universities of applied sciences

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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. More information can be found on the NRO website.

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. More information can be found on the NRO website.

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. More information can be found on the NRO website.

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

NRO has created short videos with tips on how to write a Comenius proposal, which you can view on their FacultyFruit website.

For questions, please contact the TAG: tag


In 2022, the Comenius programme will have four themes, namely 'Studying together at the hybrid campus', 'Giving the student control over flexible education', 'Transdisciplinary collaboration', and a free theme on the subject of 'Fit for the future'.

Theme 1 | Studying together at the hybrid campus

The COVID-19 crisis has led to a rapid shift to remote learning in higher education. The past period has ensured an acceleration of ideas and innovations that already stood on the back burner in many institutions, as a result of which opportunities arose for a more permanent shift to hybrid education. Although this shift opens new doors, it is also accompanied by challenges. How can you enable students on the campus and students online to collaborate well together and achieve equivalent learning objectives? How can you facilitate the personal development and well-being of students in a hybrid environment? Projects within this theme will contribute to an optimal balance between offline and online education to increase the quality of education provided.

Theme 2 | Giving the student control over flexible education

Increasing diversity within higher education requires a more flexible connection with the characteristics and needs of students. This means that educational institutions must be able to differ in the approach to and design of courses, and in the extent to which students, from the outset, can gain control over their own learning path. Students’ control can be increased by more flexibility between and within degree programmes or in courses and forms of assessment. For this, a good support system needs to be in place. How can students’ autonomy be strengthened so that they can figure out for themselves what they need to learn? How can we ensure that all students can benefit from this? How can students be helped to (learn to) make these choices? Projects within this theme focus on the student’s control over and (joint) responsibility for designing his or her degree programme course in higher education.

Theme 3 | Transdisciplinary collaboration

Higher education institutions face a challenge in educating students for a changing society and employment market. Complex societal issues, in other words, wicked problems, require transdisciplinary or international collaboration with societal partners to realise innovative solutions. In this way, education can have added value for both society and the training of students. How can students taking part in a course work on questions and needs from society in collaboration with other education programmes, (education) institutions and civil society organisations? Projects in this theme contribute to the knowledge, skills, and insights needed to prepare students for society and the future employment market.

Theme 4 | Free theme – the entire breadth of 'Fit for the future'

The free theme covers the entire breadth of the Strategic agenda for higher education and research “Fit for the future”. Projects within this theme tie in with the subjects and ambitions stated in the strategic agenda.

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 | July 2022
  • Letter of intent | Deadline: September 2022
  • Preliminary application | Deadline: October 2022
  • Full application | Deadline: January 2023
  • Decision by the assessment committee | April 2023
Senior Fellows

Precise guidelines for this application are published in the Calls 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 | July 2022
  • Letter of intent | Deadline: September 2022
  • Full application | October 2022
  • Rebuttal based on preliminary advice | Mid-January 2023
  • Decision by the assessment committee | April 2023
Leadership Fellows

Precise guidelines for this application are published in the Calls 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.

  • Information meeting by NRO | July 2022
  • Letter of intent | Deadline: September 2022
  • Full application | Deadline: October 2022
  • Rebuttal based on preliminary advice | Early January 2023
  • Interviews | Late March 2023
  • Decision by the assessment committee | April 2023

Commenius Fellows UG

The UG Comenius laureates are: Dr. Bharath Ganesh, Dr. Oksana Kavatsyuk, Dr. Jolien Mouw, Dr. Esther Hoorn, Dr. Jan Albert van Laar and Dr. Marjolein Deunk.

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

2021 | Teaching Fellow

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 focuses 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.

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

2020 | Teaching Fellow

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 the STEM study programs, however, the research universities are still behind to take measures to retain female students.

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

2020 | Teaching Fellow

Many pre-service teachers feel they are insufficiently prepared for effectively managing 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 every day 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.

Dr. Esther Hoorn | Privacy in Research: Asking the Right Questions

2019 | Senior Fellow

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 knowhow for the next generation of researchers.

Dr. Jan Albert van Laar | Deliberative debating (Senior Fellow) | 2019

2019 | Senior Fellow

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.

Dr. Marjolein Deunk | Visual Thinking Strategies as a Foundation for Intercultural Competence

2020| Teaching Fellow

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 own abilities) with regard to cultural-ethnic diversity in the classroom. This should contribute to the development of intercultural competence of prospective teachers.

Last modified:31 March 2022 4.37 p.m.
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