General Regulations

Art. 1.

Pursuant to Articles 1 and 19 of the statutes, the FWO pursues its mission through activities aimed at pushing back the frontiers of knowledge in all areas of science, by stimulating and funding fundamental academic research at the universities in the Flemish Community and at scientific research institutes.

Art. 2.

§ 1 Property rights to inventions arising from FWO-funded research belong to the university/host institution by virtue of article IV 48 of the Flemish Codex on Higher Education of 11 October 2013.

§ 2 Following the Berlin Declaration of 2003 for the promotion of free access to scientific knowledge and cultural heritage, beneficiaries of FWO mandates, credits and projects must deposit the publications that result from the FWO subsidies in a public “Open Access” database, within one year from the date of publication, in order to effect greater impact and valorisation of their work. Researchers are also advised to publish their other publications in such an "Open Access" database, the so-called "Open Archives", together with the research data that resulted in these publications.

Art. 3.

The granting of a mandate or research credit does not imply any liability on the part of the FWO for any injury or damage to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, from such research.

Art. 4.

As far as ethical issues relating to their research are concerned, researchers are required to strictly comply with all relevant legislative provisions at European and national level.

They must truthfully fill out the questionnaire on ethical aspects in the application forms of the FWO and also seek ethical advice and provide it to the FWO where such is required by law or by institutional regulations.

In addition, they must carefully consider any other ethical issues that may be raised by their research.  In doing so, they shall act in accordance with responsible research practices as laid down in, amongst others, the Ethical Code for scientific research in Belgium (2009) and other deontological declarations and protocols.

Researchers undertake to conduct their research in a rigorous and independent manner and to faithfully publish the results.

Art. 4bis – Research integrity.

§1. Role of host institutions

  1. The host institutions where FWO beneficiaries carry out their research projects conduct a preventive policy with respect to research integrity and ensure the research integrity with which such research is to be carried out.
  2. In this context, academic administrations are required to inform the secretary-general of FWO as soon as they have established breaches of research integrity committed by beneficiaries of the FWO and after all the relevant customary procedures of the institute have been followed and there is no reasonable doubt as to the breach and its precise nature.
  3. The secretary-general of FWO will notify the host institution of any serious indications of breaches of research integrity committed by one of the beneficiaries of the FWO. The university will thereupon initiate its customary procedure for breaches of research integrity. The host institution will in that case conduct the investigation in accordance with its own rules, and send its findings to the FWO.
  4. In any report to the FWO the following shall be described clearly and exhaustively: the findings made, the investigative methodology used, the further findings and, where appropriate, the advice of the VCWI.  Throughout the entire procedure, the host institution shall be available to be contacted by the FWO to provide additional information and shall make all reasonable efforts to help avoid any financial loss and damage to the reputation of the FWO.
  5. Communication by the university to third parties and vice versa shall always take place in consultation with the FWO.

§2. Procedure for breaches of research integrity

  1. In the event of indications of a breach of research integrity by fellows of the FWO or in the framework of other research funded by the FWO, the host institution shall conduct the investigation in accordance with its own rules and send its findings to the FWO in accordance with paragraph 1. The findings must be sent in a way that enables the date of sending and receipt to be established clearly and conclusively. The file will, therefore, preferably be sent by the university to the FWO by e-mail, fax or registered mail.
  2. The FWO treats all files as strictly confidential.
  3. If the file includes an advice of the Flemish Commission for Scientific Integrity (VCWI), the researcher will as soon as possible be invited for a hearing by the FWO.
  4. If the host institution has not asked the VCWI for advice with respect to the file in question, the FWO may submit the file for advice to the VCWI. As soon as possible after receipt of the advice of the university or the VCWI, the researcher will be invited for a hearing by the FWO. The researcher has the right to legal counsel at the hearing.
  5. If, based on the first (local) or second (VCWI) advice, no case can be made against the researcher, the procedure automatically ends and the researcher does not have to be invited.
  6. After hearing the researcher, the FWO will, within the legally and/or contractually specified period, decide on the consequences attached to the facts.  The FWO may decide to terminate or revise the agreement relating to the fellowship, research project or other FWO grant channel, always taking into account the interests of the researchers who appear to be in good faith. If the fellow has an employment contract with the FWO, a decision in respect of possible dismissal for good cause will be made within three working days. 
  7. The members of the Board of Trustees of the FWO who represent the host institution to which the researcher is affiliated, shall in no case participate in the hearing or the decision process.
  8. If it is decided to dismiss the researcher for good cause, because the breach of integrity constitutes gross negligence, which immediately and definitively renders any professional collaboration between the FWO and the researcher impossible, this decision will in any case be made and notified to the researcher within three working days after sufficient certainty about the facts has been obtained.  By 'sufficient certainty about the facts' is meant: if the findings of the relevant institution(s) and/or those of the Flemish Commission for Scientific Integrity, which may be asked for a second opinion by the FWO, provide sufficient clarity.
  9. Notification of the reasons of the dismissal for good cause to fellows affiliated to the FWO under an employment contract, shall take place within three working days following the date of dismissal, clearly stating the reasons and the date of the facts. Saturday is counted as a working day for calculation of the three-day period.
  10. For PhD fellows and other beneficiaries of FWO funding, a decision on the agreement or on the other consequences attached to the facts will be made as soon as possible after sufficient certainty about the facts has been obtained.
  11. The FWO notifies the researcher of its decisions by registered letter or, where necessary, by a writ served by a court officer.
  12. The FWO also notifies the host institution of the relevant researcher of its decision within seven calendar days.
  13. The Board of Trustees of the FWO decides whether or not a criminal complaint will be lodged and notifies the Board of Trustees and the host institution of its decision. The Board of Trustees may, where appropriate, suspend the disciplinary procedure.

Art. 5.

Applications must be submitted at the office of the Research Foundation - Flanders, Egmontstraat 5, 1000 Brussels, no later than 17:00 on the closing date preceding the period to which they relate.

If this date falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the submission deadline is moved to the following Monday at 17:00. Exceptions regarding submission dates are the exclusive authority of the Board of Trustees. The closing dates are:

  • For Fellowships: 1st February
  • For Doctoral (PhD) grant strategic basic research: 15th September
  • For Research Projects and Research Grants: 1st April
  • The closing dates for other grants, including the grants for Scientific Research Networks, Travel Grants, Grants for the Organisation of Scientific meetings, Scientific Prizes, Sabbatical Leaves and the Odysseus projects, are indicated in the specific regulations.

Art. 6

Candidates may submit only one application for a fellowship per call. Candidates may apply twice for the same type of fellowship.

Art. 7

Where a specific regulation of the FWO requires an "appointment" as a condition for applying for resources, both as principal applicant and as co-applicant, or for the (co-)supervision of an applicant, a "remunerated appointment" is meant unless explicitly stated otherwise.

Art. 8

Upon sending out the invitations for the session, the dossiers will be available at the secretariat of the Foundation for the members of the Expertpanels.

Art. 9

The applications, accompanied by the recommendations of the competent Expertpanels, are forwarded for decision by the Board of Trustees.

Art. 10

The secretary general of the Foundation's Board of Trustees is responsible for the implementation of the Board's decisions.

Art. 11

These general regulations apply to all specific regulations. The specific regulations can be found on the FWO website.


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