Part of the
TU DelftTU EindhovenUniversity of TwenteWageningen University

4TU Federation

+31(0)6 48 27 55 61


HTSF call 2021

Only available in English:

The High Tech for a Sustainable Future (HTSF) 2021 call aims to stimulate structural and sustainable theme-oriented collaboration between the 4TUā€™s that delivers societal impact through scientific breakthroughs. The call for proposals is now open. Deadline for submission of proposals is March 11, 2022; 14.00 hrs.

Built environment, health & food systems

The deans of 4TU have selected the following three themes for the 4TU HTSF 2021-call, which have been approved by the rectors:

For further information about the themes, see below.

Question hours

In order to answer any questions that you may have about the HTSF 2021 programme and the Call for Proposals we organize three online webinars / questions hours:

More about the themes

Inspired on the 54 Expressions of Interests that have been submitted in October, the deans of 4TU have selected the following three themes for the 4TU HTSF 2021-call, which have been approved by the rectors:

1)Ā Ā Ā Ā Ā  Materials and high-tech sensing technologies for the ageingĀ builtĀ environment
TheĀ builtĀ environmentĀ is full of ageing (physical) infrastructure that provides a range of services enabling our daily life such as energy, shelter, mobility, data, ecology and water). Besides the decay by ageing, current societal challenges force our (physical) infrastructure to be renewed and innovated sustainably. Solving this requires an ecosystem approach that takes into account multiple transitions like the energy transition, housing, repurposing areas, climate adaptation, digitalisation and shifts in the modes of transport.

This theme is centred around the question: How can we repurpose, renovate and improve infrastructure in the ageingĀ builtĀ environmentĀ in a sustainable way with (circular) materials and high-tech sensing technologies?

2)Ā Ā Ā Ā Ā  Low-cost sensing technologies for health
The corona pandemic has illustrated the importance of low-cost and easily accessible sensing technologies to support healthy living and allow easy monitoring of diseases. Moreover, new insights have been gained on social processes for adopting health technology. However, health care systems remain burdened by an ageing population, unhealthy behaviour and harming (social) environments. Digitizing and monitoring our health status and/or behaviour for prevention, during chronic illness, or in recovery offers opportunities to relieve the health system. While many sophisticated sensor and monitoring technologies focus on delivering high sensitivity and precision,Ā ease of use, accessibility and affordability are ultimately determining the adoption of new sensor technologies in health care. Moreover, new data processing technologies and system analysis provide new possibilities to obtain useful informationĀ based on low-cost and easy-to-use sensors.Ā 

This theme is centred around the question: Which low-cost high-tech solutions can help to sustain our health care systems responsibly and be adopted in society?

3)Ā Ā Ā Ā Ā  Sociotechnical approaches towards data-driven sustainable food systems

Food production, processing, supply and consumption (food systems) play an important role in numerous societal challenges.Ā In order to solve these challenges, our food systems need to transform. Thereby it is important to take cultural contexts and human behaviour into account. Ā Digital and physical technologies can offerĀ data-driven management and decision support for private, common and public actors. These technologies support for instance logistics, strategic investmentsĀ orĀ residue managementĀ towards a circular and more robust economy.Ā 

This theme is centred around the question: Taking into account cultural contexts and human behaviour, how can we accelerate data-driven sustainable food systems?

Ā Important steps & expected time line

Important characteristics of the programmes

* Current HTSF Programmes

DeSIRE: Designing Systems for Informed Resilience Engineering;
Precision Medicine: Integrating Multiscale Functional Imaging and Advanced Machine Learning;
Pride and Prejudice: Chronic disease prevention through real-life monitoring and intervention design;
Plantenna: Innovative sensors for plant stress and environmental strain for sustainable vegetation and farming;
Soft Robotics: Next generation soft robotic systems

The HTSF programme

The goal of the High Tech for a Sustainable Future (HTSF) programme is to stimulate structural and sustainable collaborative theme-oriented research between the four technical universities on topics that require 4TU collaboration and for which it is currently more difficult to acquire funding externally (i.e. new or high risk topics). The societal relevant research programmes attract and develop new and diverse talent for the four TUā€™s and aim to deliver societal impact through scientific breakthroughs. After a funded start-up period of five years, research should continue without 4TU.Federation funding. The programmes strive to increase visibility and impact of the 4TU.Federation in society.

Is it possible to be involved as applicant in more than one proposal?

No, each scientist can be an applicant at only one proposal.

What kind of positions can be applied for?

The focus of the HTSF-programme is on Tenure Track positions:

  • a programme proposal is shaped around a coherent set of Tenure Track positions (at least one at each of the 4 TUā€™s for each programme proposal).
  • Each Tenure Track position receives a starting package, worth 1 PhD-position. No additional PhD-positions can be applied for. It is possible to use the starting package for something else, e.g. lab facilities, a postdoc, data stewards, etc.
  • Additional postdoc positions or supporting staff can be part of the programme, if it is elaborated why this position is necessary for the programme and under the condition that the focus of the programme remains on Tenure Track positions.
Can we include existing Tenure Track positions in the programme?

Every programme has to consist of at least 1 new Tenure Track position at each university. Only new Tenure Track positions will get funding from 4TU. Existing Tenure Track positions can be added to the programme. However, they will not receive funding from 4TU.

Is there a minimum or maximum size or budget for the programme?

The minimum size of each programme is four TT-positions; one at each of the 4 TUā€™s and including a starting package for each TT-position + 5% for coordination and communication. The corresponding minimum budget will be in the order of about 2,5 Mā‚¬ for each 5-year programme. For details about the programme budget, see the ā€˜Call for proposalsā€™.

The maximum size of the programme is determined by the total budget available (about 15 Mā‚¬) and the number of programmes that will be funded (about 3-5). This corresponds to a maximum budget of about 5 Mā‚¬ per programme or about 6-8 Tenure Track positions per programme (at least one TT at each of the 4 TUā€™s and including a starting package for each TT-position) + 5% for coordination and communication. For details about the programme budget, see the ā€˜Call for proposalsā€™.

Does each individual programme proposal need to have at least one TT-position at each of the four TU’s, or is it sufficient that - overall - within the HTSF-2021 programme each of the 4TU’s is involved with at least one TT-position?

Each individual programme proposal needs to have at least one TT-position at each of the four TUā€™s.

What commitment is needed from the faculties?

Faculties involved in the programme have to maintain the Tenure Track position after the period of funding by 4TU (i.e. 2026 and beyond). This has to be confirmed by a commitment letter, to be submitted with the full proposal (template available).

Is co-funding of the programme by the faculties needed?

In the first three years of the programme (2023-2025), Tenure Track positions are fully funded by 4TU (at a fixed rate; see details in the call for proposals). Co-funding by the faculties is integrated in the programme by fully funding the Tenure Track position from the fourth year of employment onwards (i.e. 2026 and beyond). Other positions in the programme are fully funded by 4TU (at a fixed rate).

How long are the Tenure Track positions funded by 4TU?

All Tenure Track positions are funded for a maximum duration of 3 years (2023-2025) and must have commitment from the involved faculties to maintain the Tenure-Track position after 2025.

Do the Tenure Trackers receive any additional funding from 4TU?

All Tenure Track positions are supported via the HTSF-2021 program with a starting package, worth 1 PhD-position (yearly contribution for a 4 year duration).

Is funding only available for scientists at the four TU’s, or can others receive funding as well?

No, funding is only available for (new) Tenure Track positions (including a starting package) and (new) postdoc positions at the four TUā€™s. Other (knowledge) institutes may participate in the programme, but will not receive funding from 4TU.

Where can I find details about the funding/budget options?

All funding/budget options can be found in the ā€˜Call for proposalsā€™.

Where can I explain the usage of my material costs?

The total requested material costs must be specified in lines 46-49 in the Template Budget Table. You can briefly explain the requested material costs in the Section 2.5 (Envisioned programme) and/or Section 2.6 (Five-year plan) of the Application form. Ā Material costs can include equipment, consumables, Open Access fees and travel costs, but also (education) events for outreach.

I would like to submit a full proposal within the HTSF program. Is that possible?

You can only submit a full proposal, based on a submitted Expression of Interest. If you would like to be part of a HTSF proposal, you might join a consortium, please contact:

Can Wageningen Research receive funding from 4TU?

Only the universities from 4TU can receive funding within the HTSF programme. Wageningen Research can participate in the program as external party, but cannot receive funding.

Do we need to describe how the starting package of the Tenure Tracker will be used?

No, the Tenure Tracker can decide how to use the starting package. This can be a PhD position but also something else (e.g. equipment). If there are already clear ideas on how to use the starting package it may be valuable to add this in Appendix A of the application form.

Who will assess the proposals?

One independent assessment committee will assess all (eligible) submitted proposals, for all three themes. The assessment committee is formed by a professor of each of the 4TUā€™s and an independent chair from another university. The assessment committee will rank all proposals based on the selection criteria (i.e. one ranking list for all proposals; not split per theme). This ranking will serve as advise to the board of 4TU.Research who will decide which proposals will be funded. The board of 4TU.Research is formed by the four rectors of 4TU.