EJP RD – Networking Support Scheme (NSS) Call

NSS Call is open.

This call has been slightly modified due to the COVID-19 outbreak

The very exceptional situation due to the COVID-19 outbreak has consequences for the procedures of the Networking Support Scheme (NSS) Call.

  • The planned collection date of June 2nd will be cancelled.
  • For the applications for collection date of September 1st an exceptional extension of 6 months for the organisational timeframe compared to the Call text will be allowed. This means that the events may be organised between 6 and 18 months after the application date.


The aim of the NSS in the EJP RD is to encourage sharing of knowledge on rare diseases and rare cancers of health care professionals, researchers and patients.

The NSS also aims to enable or increase the participation of usually underrepresented countries in Europe (see below) in new and in existing research networks on rare disease(s) or rare cancer(s). The aims of the NSS are in compliance with the vision and goals set by the International Rare Diseases Research Consortium (IRDiRC). The IRDiRC vision is: Enable all people living with a rare disease to receive an accurate diagnosis, care, and available therapy within one year of coming to medical attention. To work towards this vision, IRDiRC has set three goals for the next decade.

The scheme will provide financial support to applicants for fostering organization of workshops or conferences for new research networks or existing/expanding research networks to strengthen collaborations and to enable exchange of knowledge. The focus of these workshops or conferences should be (the implications of) research results and innovative solutions as well as to strengthening the collaborations between different stakeholders. The results of these networking events may lead to future collaborative and novel research efforts. The applying consortium is allowed to invite other participants to join the networking event. There is no limit to the number of participants, however the maximum budget that can be requested is € 30,000 for a networking event.


Eligible applicants to apply for the NSS are health care professionals, researchers and patient advocacy organizations from the following countries involved in the EJP RD (in alphabetical order): Armenia*, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria*, Croatia*, Czech Republic*, Denmark, Estonia*, Finland, France, Germany, Georgia*, Greece, Hungary*, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia*, Lithuania*, Luxembourg, Malta*, Norway, Poland*, Portugal, Romania*, Serbia*, Slovakia*, Slovenia*, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Turkey*, United Kingdom.

The countries that are indicated with an asterisk (*) are usually seen as underrepresented countries.

At least one Principal applicant and two co-applicants from three different countries mentioned above have to apply together for support of a Networking event. Applicants from Canada are not eligible for funding.  However, networking events can be organized in all countries mentioned above and in  Canada.


In this Networking Support Scheme applicants can apply for a budget of a maximum of 30,000 € per event to organise a transnational European/international event to share and disseminate knowledge on rare diseases or rare cancers. The date of the application should be 6-12 months before the proposed date(s) of the Networking Event.

We would advise you to read the Call Text of the NSS (EJP RD – NSS – Call Text) very carefully before completing the specific application template for this scheme and submit this application template on the electronic submission system ProjectNet of ZonMw. Please download the EJP RD – NSS – Call Text here:

EJP RD – NSS – Call Text

We would advise you to register the applying organisations in the electronic submission system ProjectNet as soon as possible when you are intending to submit an application. Please find the Instructions for use of the electronic submission system here:

EJP RD – NSS – Instructions for use of electronic submission system ProjectNet

A specific application template (EJP RD – NSS – Application Template doc) has to be completed. Please download it here:

EJP RD – NSS – Application Template

The call is open on a continuous basis. The applications will be collected every three months and the eligibility will be checked, please see below for specific deadlines.

Applications that pass the eligibility check  at each collection date will be evaluated in a competitive way by an independent Networking Evaluation Committee, consisting of health care professionals, researchers and patient representatives using defined evaluation criteria that are specified in the Call text. The rules of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme will be applied.


After four rounds, there will be an assessment of this Networking Support Scheme to analyze whether the scheme meets the expectations of the EJP RD and the rare diseases and rare cancers research community.


The Call for the NSS is open on a continuous basis. The applications will be collected on the following dates in 2021:

March 2, 2021 at 14.00 (CET)

June 1, 2021 at 14.00 (CEST)

September 2, 2021 at 14.00 (CEST)

December 2, 2021 at 14.00 (CET)


For questions related to the content and application template: Network Support Scheme Secretariat.
E-mail: NSSS(at)zonmw.nl
Telephone: +31 70 515 0330

For questions related to the electronic submission system of ZonMw: Servicedesk of ZonMw.
E-mail: servicedesk(at)zonmw.nl
Telephone: +31 70 349 51 78


Information for applicants to apply

Electronic submission system ProjectNet to apply for NSS click here.

Information for applicants if Networking event is selected




 In the first round of the Networking Support Scheme:

  • The secretariat received a total of 9 applications
  • Patient Advocacy Organisations are strongly involved in the organisation of 8 of the proposed Networking events
  • In 7 applications, usually underrepresented countries are involved
  • The applications are aimed at different groups of rare diseases, such as metabolic and neurological disorders

All applications are eligible and are currently evaluated by the Networking Evaluation Committee.
The coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak will not result in a delay in the evaluation of this first round of the Networking Support Scheme.