Open Call Crossing borders

For designers and spatial designers who want to conduct research by design into border areas with relevant collaborative parties and create awareness about the layout and division challenge that is part of the geographic character of border areas.

closing date

26 August 2024

€ 3,000

subsidy amount canvas application

€ 34,000

max application amount project phase

Important information

what is this open call’s theme?

Borders are often boundaries invented by people which can be experienced differently: administratively, scenically, ecologically, but also practically. They are defining because of their inclusive and exclusive effect; at the same time, they are not as precise and succinct when the area surrounding them is considered a whole. Here, life and work take place, there is nature and infrastructure, and there are challenges and opportunities that reach further than the border.

At the same time, government scenarios often seem to come to an abrupt halt at these boundaries. What would the transitional zone around the border look like if we approached the existing urgent challenges together in an integral way that transcends borders? And what role do administrative borders still play then? A part designers can play is to make the highly abstract level and multiplicity of the border perceptible and clear.

what is this open call’s objective?

Through research by design, the Creative Industries Fund NL aims to uncover what is happening on various scales in Dutch border areas, both in the country as well as overseas. What specific needs are there in light of the urgent challenges of today and of the future? Is there leeway? And how can we show that border areas can actually serve as an example when it comes to launching definitions such as reciprocity and multiplicity? We challenge applicants to discover the core values of various border areas and to reveal the opportunities that are there by means of observation, analysis, reflection and imagination. This will lead to valuable insights for both policymakers and designers and spatial designers, and of course for the occupants of these areas.

who is this open call for?

Proposals can be submitted by designers that form a relevant coalition with concerned parties and stakeholders. Think of collaborations with communities or social organizations or their representatives, nature management and waterboards, border guards, such as the Dutch Border Police, representatives of border provinces or regions, occupants and companies of border communities, area and project developers, corporations, educational institutions, knowledge institutions, but also daily urban/regional systems that go beyond borders or meet each other, connect with or overlap each other on the border. This could also include diversity and inclusivity, segregation and gentrification activists and scientists from the social, economic, political, cultural and spatial domains.

It is important for the application to clarify which coalition partners you are involving and what their contributions are going to be. We also encourage you to involve civilians or their representatives from each side of the border.

which projects are eligible for a grant?

The open call focuses on projects that develop innovative spatial strategies on the significance of borders, using research by design. The central aspect of the projects is an inclusive approach to the urgent challenges in border areas. They should explicitly concern uncovering something that is already there, but which has not sufficiently been seen or heard yet. Projects can focus on various scales and different levels of action and take place in the spatial domain, where borders lead to layout and division challenges. It is important to be explicit about the scale, the various perspectives from which the challenge is approached and the location of the research by design, but also about the form of the border that is central to the research. Motivate the choices made.

what are the phases of this open call?

The Open Call Crossing borders consists of:

first phase

The assessment of the applications in the first phase is split into two parts, namely:
- canvas application: In this phase, you draw up a concise application using the Spatial Design Action [SDA] project canvas. A maximum of 26 applicants will be selected and receive € 3,000 each to prepare a complete project application.
- complete project application: Only applicants whose canvas application has been selected can submit a complete project application of up to € 34,000. Up to 15 proposals can be selected.

development phase

After the final selection of the complete project application, in the development phase, you will work on the research by design together with your coalition partners from January up to and including September 2025, during which period you will focus on developing new working methods, insights and design proposals.

follow-up phase

Supported projects will receive a maximum of € 44,000 in the follow-up phase (€ 36,000 for research by design and € 8,000 for knowledge sharing and impact enhancement). The follow-up phase runs from November 2025 to September 2026.

Scheme Open Call Crossing borders

how do you prepare an application?

In order to prepare the application, it is important to acquire the right information based on the following documents:

open call crossing boarders

Applications are assessed on the basis of the Open Call Crossing boarders, which describes the reason and objective, central questions, criteria and procedure.

open call grant scheme

Applications are assessed on the basis of the Open Call Grant Scheme, which describes the general conditions, grounds for rejection, manner of publication, submission procedure, assessment, the award and any grant obligations.

spatial design action project canvas and explanatory notes

The Spatial Design Action project canvas (in Dutch only) is the core of your application. Check it out in advance so you know what is required of you. Also read the Explanatory Notes to the Spatial Design Action project canvas (in Dutch only).

You will receive information for preparing your complete project application at the time your canvas application is selected.

On Thursday 6 June 2024, the Fund is organising an online launch of this open call. Sign up here.

what is assessed?

Canvasapplications are assessed on the basis of the Open Call Grant Scheme and the Open Call Crossing boarders.

assessment criteria

- research question in relation to the open call’s theme;
- positioning with respect to existing knowledge on the theme within the area of expertise, and how that positioning is translated into an approach;
- relevance of the intended collaborations with respect to the approach to the issue;
- contribution to diversity and connection with the selection

The assessment criteria for the canvas applications are explained in the Open Call Crossing borders.

Applicants with a selected canvas application will receive by email the assessment criteria including explanations for the project application, development phase and follow-up phase.

what happens to your application?


When you have submitted your application, the Fund Desk will check if your application complies with the formal requirements of the Open Call Grant Scheme.


An independent advisory committee will assess your application on the basis of the Open Call Grant Scheme and the Open Call Crossing boarders. The committee advises the Fund’s Board.


The Board takes account of the committee’s advice in its decision on the rejection or provision of the grant. You will be notified about the result in a decision.

final selection

Selected applicants may submit a full project application. The closing date for this is 25 November 2024. These applications will also be assessed by the advisory committee.


If you receive a grant from the Fund, then you will have to comply with the obligations. Two weeks before the conclusion of your project, you will be asked by email to submit your accountability form in the application environment.

essential documents

Hoe kom je tot een overtuigende aanvraag?

tip 1

be clear and do not repeat yourself

tip 2

make sure the proposal fits the defined theme

tip 3

involve relevant collaboration partners

tip 4

ask for feedback and fine-tune your proposal

Steps to take

Do you want to apply for a subsidy under this open call?

Start your application
do you have any questions?

If some of the information is not clear, email your question to Manon van den Bliek or Ivo de Jeu via You can also call on 010 436 16 00. If you have a more general question, have a look at our frequently asked questions first.