Regulations for Scientific Research Networks

General Regulations

The General Regulations apply.
Detailed information, full regulations and forms are available online.
Any additional information can be obtained from the secretariat of the Research Foundation - Flanders, Egmontstraat 5, 1000 BRUSSELS, tel 02 512 91 10.

Art. 1.

The Research Foundation - Flanders may proceed with the creation of Scientific Research Networks (*). These are collaborative relationships among research departments that are aimed at promoting the coordination among and the international cooperation of Flemish research departments in the area of scientific research at postdoctoral level, with inter-/multi-/and transdisciplinarity constituting a positive element in the evaluation of the proposals.

* French nomenclature: Réseau de Recherche du Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique - Flandre (FWO).
German nomenclature: Forschungsnetzwerk des Fonds für Wissenschaftliche Forschung - Flandern ) (FWO).
Dutch nomenclature: Wetenschappelijk onderzoeksgemeenschappen van het Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek - Vlaanderen (FWO).

Art. 2.

A Scientific Research Network consists at least of:

  • three research units of at least universities in the Flemish Community, with the following being considered equivalent to the latter institutions: the Evangelical Protestant Faculty in Leuven and the Faculty for Protestant Theology in Brussels for research related to religious studies or theology, the Hogere Zeevaartschool for research related to nautical sciences, the Vlerick Management School and the Antwerp Management School for research related to management sciences, or the Institute of Tropical Medicine for research related to tropical medicine and veterinary medicine and to healthcare in developing countries;
  • minimum two research groups from the French Community and/or from abroad.

Art. 3.

§1 One of the Flemish research departments acts as the core group. This department must have received international recognition for its outstanding, high-quality scientific research.

§2 A research department is only allowed to act as core group for a single ongoing SRN. This means that a research department can only apply once as core group in each application round, and also that any application for an SRN whose scheduled start date falls within the term of an ongoing SRN having the same research department as core group, will be considered ineligible.

Art. 4.

A Scientific Research Network is headed by a steering group comprising the heads of the participating research departments from the Flemish Community. The head of the core group acts as president of the steering group and as spokesperson for the Foundation.

Art. 5.

A Scientific Research Network is, upon advice of the competent scientific committee, recognised by the Board of Trustees, for a period of five years, which may be extended, and receives an annual bench fee of maximum €12,500. The bench fee remains available to the research network for the duration of the collaboration plus the following two years. Any unused funds shall be returned to the FWO.

The Board of Trustees determines the number of Scientific Research Networks to be created.

Art. 6.

Scientific Research Networks can be created, provided it is clearly demonstrated that the allowance is necessary to enable and/or maintain the collaborative relationship at postdoctoral level and contributes to the scientific coordination in Flanders and to the internationalisation of scientific research at Flemish institutions.

Art. 7.

An existing Scientific Research Network may exceptionally be extended with (an) additional research group(s). To this end, the spokesperson of the initially approved Scientific Research Network must submit a new application to the FWO.

This application must clearly demonstrate why the extension is necessary for the further creation and/or maintenance of the initial collaborative relationship as set out in the initial application for a Scientific Research Network. The application must also demonstrate the quality of the research group(s) to be included in the initial Scientific Research Network. The written approval from all initial research partners for the addition of the new research group(s) must also be attached to the application.

The extension of the initial Scientific Research Network with (an) additional research group(s) is, upon advice of the competent scientific committee, recognised by the Board of Trustees, for the remaining period of the current initial Scientific Research Network, which may be extended. No additional bench fees are provided for this extension.

Art. 8.

A first report must be submitted before 30 September of the 3rd year (period from 1 January of first year to 30 June of third year = 2 ½ operating years).

The second report is a summary report on the five operating years. This report must be submitted by 1 October of the fifth year, together with the file for the extension, where appropriate.

If the extension is postponed or if no extension is applied for, the report must be submitted on 31 December of the final fifth year.

The reports are submitted for evaluation by the competent scientific committee, which subsequently reports to the Board of Trustees. If the first report is negative, the Board of Trustees may decide to discontinue the SRN.

Art. 9.

The funding is used exclusively for:

  • host colleges, symposia and scientific collaboration visits at postdoctoral level;
    • travel and accommodation costs for foreigners;
    • fees for established researchers from outside the Flemish Community;
  • travel and accommodation costs of postdoctoral researchers, affiliated to the Flemish research departments of the Scientific Research Network, in charge of carrying out information-gathering activities in foreign research departments;
  • secretarial costs for organising host colleges, limited number of symposia, workshops and research coordination meetings.
  • For duly justified reasons other expenses may be charged subject to prior consent of the FWO.

Art. 10.

Payments, reports and audits shall be undertaken in accordance with the provisions of the regulations for Research projects.

Art. 11.

Applications must be submitted at the secretariat of the FWO before 1 October of the year preceding the start year, using the appropriate forms. The head of the core group shall send a copy of the application to the head of the institution. The forms are available on the FWO website.

Rules of application

Research departments from Flemish or federal scientific institutions are eligible for inclusion in Scientific Research Networks. With regard to the federal scientific institutions, staff belonging to the French- or German-speaking community are considered being part of research departments from outside the Flemish Community.


Note: the English version of the regulations are only a translation and have no legal force.