The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw)

Updated November 2014

Background Information on the Organisation

  • Innovation requires knowledge and its implementation. The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) funds health research in order to gain new knowledge and stimulates implementation in order to develop the evidence base of health care practice. Scientific
    excellence and societal relevance are equally important for selecting grant proposals by competitive mechanisms.
  • ZonMw is a self governing organisation established by Dutch law. ZonMw acts as an independent intermediary between government on the one side and performing organisations at the other, thereby besides funding providing a two-way policy and communication exchange.

Annual Research Budget

Our annual budget fluctuates. On the average between 2005-2011 our annual budget amounts to 161.3 million euro.

Stem Cell Budget

Allocated: 22 M€ programme Translational Adult Stemcell Research Funding of stem cell research is also possible in TOP grants ( and in the Innovational Research Incentive Scheme (

Stem Cell Strategy

  • The Dutch top sector approach is geared towards providing a solid exchange between businesses, knowledge institutes and the government (the ‘golden triangle’). Regenerative medicine (including stem cell research and development) is one of the main topics in the top sector Life Sciences and Health. investing-in-top-sectors/life-sciences-and-health
  • ZonMw Position paper on research with adult stem cells (2008 Dutch only, translation expected 2009).This was followed by the launch of a funding program for translational research with adult stem cells supported by the ministry of Health (brochure downloadable from
  • Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences published a strategy paper on regenerative medicine in The Netherlands in 2009: “Well Underway. Opportunities for regenerative medicine in the Netherlands” (

Key Stem Cell Centres/Investments

Translational Adult Stem Cell Research Programme.

Funding programme that aims to promote clinical research into adult stem cell applications after thorough pre-clinical translational research. Up to now 11 projects have been funded in which stem cell approaches for a variety of diseases are investigated.

The Netherlands Institute for Regenerative Medicine (NIRM).

The Netherlands Institute for Regenerative Medicine (NIRM), is an innovative and integrative life sciences research and development program. It is comprised of two formerly existing research consortia in The Netherlands: Stem Cells in Development and Disease (SCDD) and the Dutch Program for Tissue Engineering (DPTE). Integration of these consortia in NIRM combines cutting-edge research in stem cell biology with advances in tissue engineering, so as to improve existing and create novel regenerative medical treatments. Together, these biomedical research fields involving cells and biomaterials will lead to innovative approaches to promote the regeneration of damaged or diseased tissues and organs.

Leiden University Medical Center; Theme Regenerative Medicine (

Regenerative Medicine focuses on the functional regeneration of damaged organs and tissues by using (properties of) natural tissues and cells. The aim of the current research theme is to synergistically exploit our current knowledge in the area of fundamental and translational stem cells biology to develop novel therapeutic modalities in the field of regenerative medicine. These research efforts comprise technology platforms in the area of ex-vivo expansion, genetic modification and in-vivo imaging of stem cells as well as the development of novel stem cells cellular therapies under GMP conditions. These
efforts will have a strong national and international connection through the participation in large scale national and European initiatives.

Hubrecht Institute

The Hubrecht Institute is a research institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). Research at the Hubrecht Institute focuses on developmental biology and stem cells at the organismal, cellular, genetic, genomic and proteomic level. Basic insight into development and into stem cells will provide insight into (human) disease, such as cancer.

Erasmus Stem Cell Institute for Regenerative Medicine

The Erasmus Stem Cell Institute for Regenerative Medicine (ESI) has a strong commitment to fundamental and translational research that will facilitate stem cell therapies and innovative medical advances in the Erasmus MC.

MERLN Institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine

The MERLN Institute specialises in bone and cartilage repair, with a particular focus on developing new technologies for regenerative medicine. These include “smart” biomaterials that lead to tissue regeneration through the patient’s own stem cells.

Groningen Stem Cell Cluster

The Groningen Stem Cell Cluster (GSCC) is a collaboration between various clinical (Obstetrics, Neurosurgery, Pathology, Neurology, Cardiology) and preclinical (Cell Biology, Medical Physiology, Developmental Genetics, Medical Biology) groups within Groningen involved in research on the clinical applicability of stem cells to combat a wide variety of disorders such as neurological diseases (Parkinson, MS), cardiovascular disorders, diabetes and renal deficiencies.

Recent Research Achievements and Outputs

Intestinal crypt homeostasis revealed at single-stem-cell level by in vivo live imaging. Clevers Group, Nature. 2014 Mar 20;507(7492):362-5.
Generation, expansion and functional analysis of endothelial cells and pericytes derived from human pluripotent stem cells. Mummery Group, Nat Protoc. 2014 Jun;9(6):1514-31.
Metabolic programming of mesenchymal stromal cells by oxygen tension directs chondrogenic cell fate. Leijten Group, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Sep 23;111(38):13954-9.

New Funding Initiatives

ZonMw Call for regenerative medicine (topsector LSH)

Changes to Stem Cell Related Policies

Regenerative Medicine is one of the roadmaps of the top sector approach

National (or Regional) Stem Cell Network or Contact

Dutch Society for Stem Cell Research (DSSCR)
The goal of the society is to promote (the quality) of stem cell research and to propagate knowledge and information on this subject in the Netherlands.


Previous Member Updates

October 2013

January 2012


Leave a Reply