Apply Now for the Resilient Delta Kick-Starter Grant 2024-2025

Attention early career academics! Join the Resilient Delta Initiative on a transformative journey with the Kick-Starter Grant, your gateway to unleashing your potential! Get funding from €5,000 to €40,000 for impact-driven projects focused on one of three impact domains: Labor Transitions, Broad Prosperity , Investment Decision-Making, Delta Transitions and Urban Resilience & Wellbeing. Whether you’re building a consortium, creating a prototype, or exploring uncharted territories, this grant has you covered. The deadline for pre-proposal submission is April 1 2024.

But it’s more than just funding. Join a vibrant community of researchers and educators from the TU Delft, Erasmus Medical Centre, and Erasmus University. Together, we’ll pioneer new pathways, challenge the status quo, and create a ripple effect of change. Break free from the constraints of the current system and pursue projects that academia hasn’t fully embraced yet. You could contribute to an urban/delta-based lab, write a whitepaper addressing emerging societal challenges, or kick-start a knowledge network focused on a pressing issue. The possibilities are endless! By applying, you join a movement of young, dynamic researchers and educators who are passionately dedicated to tackling societal challenges through collaborative teamwork that breaks down traditional boundaries. The future is calling, will you answer?

Seeking inspiration? Explore the research programs from the 2023 kick-start program cohort.

Essential Information

Deadline for pre-proposal submission: Before April 1st  2024
How to apply: On this webpage you find attached the detailed grant criteria and the Resilient Delta kick-starter grant 2024 Application form The criteria and the application procedure is also described below.
Who can apply?:All PhD students or those with up to 5 years of post-PhD experience can apply, if they are employed by TU Delft, Erasmus University or Erasmus Medical Centre.
Contact: You can reach out to for your queries.

This year’s impact domains

Applying for the kick-starter grant works through a stepped approach described below in further detail. We invite pre-proposals that address ­one of the three key impact domains:

Securing “Brede Welvaart” in Labor Transitions

Large scale transitions in our production and consumption systems are already radically transforming how and where we work. This has consequences at a material level in terms of infrastructure and technological innovation, but also requires the reconfiguration of the labor force across different sectors. Labor shortages are already impacting the speed of the energy transition and climate adaptation, and new and high quality positions are needed to fill the emerging roles in renewable energy, sustainable infrastructure development, circularity and climate resilience planning. We invite projects which address questions including but not limited to:

  • How are these new positions being created, and what are the key skill sets and compentencies required for them?
  • How can we ensure that these new jobs are also socially just and do not contribute to increasing labour inequality?
  • In what ways can policies support equitable access to these opportunities, particularly for marginalized communities?

We invite projects that scope out the ways in which labor relations are being restructured in the context of societal transitions in general, or more deeply examine the impacts of transitions on specific traditional industries and supply chains, the potential for upskilling and reskilling programs, from a “brede welvaart” perspective in the Rijnmond region.

Finance and Integrated Investment Decision-Making for Delta Transitions

The energy transition, circularity, climate adaptation: these profound transitions require massive public and private capital investments in our delta region. These financing needs must be identified, prioritized, and coordinated – and ideally, integrated – with other transitions. We invite projects which address questions including but not limited to:

  • What transition-related investments are most crucial for our delta in the coming years and decades, and how might they be financed?
  • Can (new) tools, instruments, and collaboration approaches help public and private parties to align public and private investments in key domains?
  • How can near-term investments support long-term transition goals, and how can they secure (non-financial) values like “brede welvaart”?
  • How can the risks and benefits of delta transitions be included in approaches to finance and investment decision-making?
  • How can public asset managers such as Rijkswaterstaat or Municipalities improve their tendering procedures to facilitate complex, future-proof infrastructure and real estate development challenges?

We invite projects that scope out answers to one or more of these broad questions, or dive into into specific sectors or use cases. Likewise, projects might look at delta-wide investment needs (e.g., large-scale infrastructure), think from the perspective of an industry or value chain (e.g., decarbonizing a key regional industrial cluster), or drill down to household- and firm-level transition demands (e.g., retrofitting individual buildings for resilience). Projects might focus on problem-framing and agenda-setting, or more closely take up the potential of novel methods and instruments for addressing specific challenges.

Regenerating Wellbeing and Resilience in Cities

The “triple planetary crisis” – the interlinking challenges of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss – requires us to rethink how we analyse, design, engineer and engage with our cities and the (non-human) beings living in it. This requires us to generate tools, methods, and pathways to dealing with the effects of the planetary crisis crisis from the perspective of the Rijnmond region. We invite projects at the interface of wellbeing/health and urban resilience that address (1) societal concerns amplified by climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss, and (2) integrated concerns related to climate (in)justices with tangible pathways and inspiring innovations to (re)generate wellbeing. These questions could serve as a starting point for the development of your idea:

  • How can we design new evaluation tools and methods for measuring the social and environmental effects of urban (re)development?
  • How can we empower individuals to take collective action to increase both environmental and social resilience?
  • What are novel interlinkages and interfaces of urban climate resilience, wellbeing and the “triple planetary crisis”, and how can policies be designed to support them?


Application Criteria

  • Specify a clear idea in a maximum of 500 words in the attached template, focusing on one impact domain and with a clear deliverable and outcome (“Step 1”).
  • The grant can be used in several ways, including but not limited to: creating prototypes; developing a proof of concept; kick-starting urban living lab facilities; writing a whitepaper; creating and testing new transdisciplinary methodologies; initiating learning communities; expanding dissemination from previous projects; launching a shared graduation lab; and/or forming a consortium or coalition (e.g. for writing NWA-ORC research calls, etc.)
  • The applicants must commit to the co-creation of a route to societal impact (“Step 3”) with the RDi-team. This may include collaborative development of deliverables with societal partners, methodological innovation in relation to collaboration forms, or alignment with a specific larger grant proposal, consortium or existing societal initiative.
  • Projects must be Convergence based, creating a novel link between at least two of three Convergence partners. At least 1 co-applicant needs to be from the other institution[1]. Positive credits are given for meaningfully involving stakeholders other than academics through quadruple helix collaboration.
  • Projects should be compelling. Projects should spark new academic insights with societal relevance, while reamining honest, modest and realistic about their impact outlook. Positive credits for outputs of the project that are open source, easy to access for others and to build upon or use by other researchers.
  • Projects should be oriented towards the Greater Rotterdam-Rijnmond region, with an explicit focus on communities, networks, sectors, and issues relevant for this region.
  • Projects must run from July 1st 2024 until August 31rd 2025 at the latest. The maximum RDi in-cash contribution is 40K per project. Including a budget and project planning is not yet required for the pre-proposal, but please consider this when scoping your pre-proposal.
  • All PhD students or those with up to 5 years of post-PhD experience can apply. Each researcher can only apply as main applicant for one kick-starter grant and one as co-applicant. Main applicants who have not received any form of Resilient Delta funding are favored.
  • Granted applicants must commit to participating in the Resilient Delta Kick-starter community-events.
  • Please note that our funding cannot be used to compensate hours of existing academic staff with a permanent contract, but it can be used to hire new temporary staff or expand existing contracts (e.g., extending postdoc positions, hiring junior research assistants).

[1] Researchers affiliated with internal research institutes such as DRIFT, Erasmus UPT and AMS Institute are allowed to participate as co-applicant at cost rate tariffs. The same holds for Universities of Applied Sciences and Secondary vocational education institutions.



Step 1: Submit your pre-proposal

Write a pre-proposal using the attached template, taking into account the call criteria.
Deadline for pre-proposal submission: Before April 1st  2024. Please submit your pre-proposal to Start the title of your e-mail with “RDi Kickstarter Application”. We welcome you to reach out to before submitting a pre-proposal to with any queries.

Step 2: Selection of pre-proposals for further development

RDi selects the proposals fitting best to the criteria for further development. You will receive a “reject” or “pass” result. Please note that a “pass” is not a full guarantee that your project will be awarded. You will hear from us regarding this pre-selection no later than April 12th.

Step 3: Co-develop a full proposal with a route to impact and a transdisciplinary method

If you have received a “pass” after April 12th , you are allowed to develop a full project proposal. RDi will provide feedback to your proposal and facilitate one afternoon workshop to help you (1) to specify your desired route for impact and refine your use of methdologies and (2) to revise your project design and check for administrative feasibility. A collaborative working session is hosted at the RDi office in Rotterdam to develop on full proposal during the week of the  22nd of April. In the week of May 6th, we facilitate optional bi-lateral conversations with our academic leads, business developers and/or project management support colleagues to finalize your proposal as needed.

  • Full proposal application deadline: before June 1st2024
  • Notification of evaluation and awarding before July 1st
  • Project can formally start from July 1st onwards

Step 4: Award of full proposals and kick-off

Each project will have its own trajectory towards a full proposal. However we aim for each project to kick-off before mid-August 2024.  A celebratory kick-off event for all awarded projects in first week of September 2024.