The Graduate School Experimental Plant Sciences (EPS)

Call for proposals Graduate School Green Top Sectors TKI 2023

Call for proposals Graduate School Green Top Sectors TKI 20232023-08-24T13:27:17+01:00

The aim of this programme is to facilitate innovative and high-quality scientific research within the research field of the top sectors Agri&Food and Horticulture & Starting Materials by engaging young talented researchers at the start of their career.

The Top Sectors
The top sector Agri&Food covers everything related to food, both the primary production as well as the processing, handling, marketing and distribution of food. The top sector Agri&Food encourages the development of new knowledge and innovations to make use of economic and societal opportunities. Twelve of the 40 most prominent food and beverage companies in the world have R&D activities or a business location in the Netherlands. The sector wants to retain and further expand this leading position. This concerns not only the production of sustainable and high-quality food but also sustainable food chains in which people, animals and the environment take centre stage.

The top sector Horticulture & Starting Materials covers all plant-based chains in the horticulture complex. It is a broad sector, with subsectors that range from vegetables, fruit and avenue trees to flowers and bulbs. Starting materials are products, such as propagating material, planting material and seeds in agriculture and horticulture. The Horticulture & Starting Material sector leads the way in the development of crops that are less sensitive to weather conditions or that require fewer crop protection agents, for example. The sector also covers companies that supply, process, trade and distribute horticulture and starting material products.

Both top sectors have stated that the availability of well-trained personnel is a top priority. The expected demand exceeds the current size of the PhD training programmes in the Netherlands. It is therefore vital for companies and organisations to attract and train talented scientists.

Themes T&U and A&F
The research projects within this call must fit within the research missions of the Knowledge and Innovation Agendas of the top sectors. The following missions are relevant for the TKIs Agri & Food and Horticulture & Starting Materials:
A. Circular agriculture
B. Climate-neutral agriculture and food production
C. Climate-resistant rural and urban areas
D. Appreciated, healthy and safe food
E. Sustainable and safe North Sea and other waters
E1. Sustainable North Sea
E2. Nature-inclusive agriculture, fisheries and water management in the Dutch Caribbean
E3. Fisheries

The missions are supported by two key technologies: Smart Technologies in Agri-Horti-Water-Food and Biotechnology and Breeding.
Each mission is built up from ‘Multi-year Social Innovation Programmes’ (MMIPs). Each MMIP focuses on specific innovation tasks and hurdles to tackle. Also for the key technologies, MMIPs are developed.
The complete text of the Knowledge and Innovation Agenda, as well as the MMIPs can be found on the website

Available budget
A maximum of four projects can be awarded funding. Two projects can be awarded within the top sector Agri&Food and 2 projects within the top sector Horticulture & Starting Materials. The budget is available
for four-year PhD projects to be carried out by knowledge institutes that work together with one or more private partners (public private partnership (PPP)). One or more public partners can also participate.

Who can apply
For both A&F and T&U: Full, associate and assistant professors and other researchers with a comparable
appointment can submit an application if they are employed by one of the organisations affiliated with one of the graduate schools EPS, PE&RC, WIAS, VLAG, WIMEK or WASS.
Applications are submitted by a principal applicant on behalf of the project consortium. There is one principal applicant per proposal; co-applicants are not permitted. If an associate or assistant professor submits the application, the name of the full professor who has declared that he or she is prepared to act as the thesis supervisor (promotor in Dutch) must be stated in the application. An exception to the required duration of appointment can be made for applicants with a “tenure track” appointment that does not cover the entire duration of the project. In such cases, the applicant should demonstrate by means of a letter that adequate supervision is guaranteed for the entire duration of the research. The proposed PhD candidate who wrote the proposal is the person who will defend the proposal at the interview and whose performance will be taken into account in the assessment.

Additional conditions for submission:
– The proposal must fit within the research focus of the programme, as described above;
– The candidate must have a relevant master’s degree or be due to receive one shortly;
– The candidate must not already hold an appointment as a PhD student;
– Only one application per principal applicant may be submitted in this call.

Deadline for applications: 3 October 2023
Interviews: November 2023
Decision: December 2023

Applicants should send their applications by e-mail to

An application should include:
– The application form;
– Letters from the consortium partners in which they tangibly confirm the nature and value of their contributions to the project;
– Two letters of recommendation: The letters should at least say something about the candidate’s academic merits and motivation with regard to the conduct of scientific research. Candidates may choose who they ask to write the letters of recommendation. The principal applicant or the intended thesis supervisor cannot write one of the letters of recommendation.


All the requirements can be found in the “Call for proposals”. 

The call for proposals Graduate School Green Top Sectors TKI 2023 was officially drawn up in Dutch. Where there are differences between the Dutch and English version, the Dutch version applies.

Call for proposals: Call for proposals Graduate School Green Top Sectors TKI 2023_NL

Call for proposals: Call for proposals Graduate Schools Green Top Secors TKI 2023_EN

Application form : Application form Graduate School Green Top Sectors TKI 2023

Matchmaking form: here