Alongside the long-term programme tracks The Things and The Materials and Landscape and Interior, Time introduces the third main focus in the various activities of Het Nieuwe Instituut. Each annual theme includes additional forms of research, such as fellowships, however it can best be seen as a perspective on the current programmes, so that each year the issue of innovation and the various outcomes can be placed in the context of topical issues.

In 2014 Het Nieuwe Instituut presented the programme 2014-1914: Conflict and Innovation, which addressed 100 years of modernity. In 2015 Het Nieuwe Instituut focused on the phenomenon of the World Fair and related questions of national identity and national representation. In 2016 the Olympic Games serve as the starting point for a programme about the body itself.