International frontrunners in photonics research can work together on innovation

26 May 2021

The Netherlands and Taiwan, both frontrunners in photonics research, join forces through a new cooperation programme. Photonics is a technology that is used in many products, such as cameras in mobile phones, the Internet and lighting. Joint research should lead to photonic innovations that contribute to economic opportunities for societal challenges such as climate change. NWO, together with the Taiwanese science funding agency, is making 3 million euro available and facilitating matchmaking activities to form consortia.

Important key technology

Photonic solutions are the answer to growing needs in the fields of communication, food production, home comfort and health. Undoubtedly photonics is regarded as one of the important key technologies for the future. The Netherlands has a strong position in the field of photonics. Taiwan, too, devotes much research capacity to this field and has an excellent position in the production of semiconductors. 

Strong ties between research and industry

The Netherlands and Taiwan can benefit from each other’s strengths by joining forces in public-private partnerships. The Consortia in Photonics (Taiwan) programme aims to boost photonics research in both economies. NWO and the Taiwanese science funding agency MOST invest in research in which existing and newly formed consortia can build on the already strong ties in research and industry. 

Call for proposals

This call for proposals is one of the mission-driven calls of the funding programme of the Knowledge and Innovation Covenant (KIC). Joint research should lead to innovations in photonics. Within this call a budget of 3 million euro is available, with a maximum of 750,000 euro per project for the Dutch side. The deadline for submitting complete applications is 9 November 2021. A first virtual matchmaking event for this call will take place in June. Stay informed through the NWO newsletter and the programme page Consortia in Photonics (Taiwan).

Research brings solutions closer

Climate change, cyber security, ageing: our society faces a number of major challenges. These challenges call for breakthrough innovative solutions with impact. This offers economic opportunities for public and private parties to jointly develop innovative solutions to social issues. The contribution of scientific and practice-oriented research is indispensable here. In addition to societal impact, it also focuses on economic and scientific impact.

NWO is investing in programmes of considerable size so that a real difference can be made. In order to tackle the challenges posed, NWO initiates collaborations, establishes connections between scientists, private and public parties and NWO encourages exploring new avenues. Bringing the different parties together will create new consortia and innovative research. In NWO’s view, the chances of the intended changes and their impact are greatest when interdisciplinary research is sought in which cooperation is established with relevant knowledge institutions, public and private partners, including small and medium-sized enterprises. Partners make a substantial contribution to the research in money (in cash) and support (in kind).


Every year, NWO makes over one hundred million euros available for fundamental and practice-oriented research, carried out by scientists in collaboration with companies. NWO’s financial contribution is secured in the Knowledge and Innovation Covenant (KIC) 2020-2023, in which knowledge institutions, the business community, governments and other public parties jointly invest in innovation. This funding is in line with the cabinet’s mission-driven top sectors and innovation policy.