TBM (Applied Biomedical Research with a Primary Social finality) projects


In the long term, the TBM programme aims at contributing to the implementation of (new) therapies, diagnostic techniques and preventive methods, which, without government funding, would not make it to the patient due to a lack of industrial interest.


  • Project period: 2 to 4 years
  • Start of project: October 1, 2017
  • Eligible organisations: research centres (e.g. universities, university hospitals, university colleges (‘hogescholen’) and strategic research centres)
    • max. 20% of the budget is earmarked for non-Flemish research centres
    • at least 10% of the budget should be earmarked for applicants that are a Flemish hospital or ITM (because of the clinical finality)
  • Acceptable costs:
    • staffing, operation, equipment, subcontracting contracts (in accordance with cost model rules)
    • max. 1,000,000 euro (for large or multicentric trials, exceptionally budgets up to 1,500,000 euro are allowed)
    • min. 250,000 euro
  • Funding percentage: 100%
  • Available budget for the current call: 14,000,000 euro
  • Call closed
  • Announcement of results: July 2017
  • Success rate 2016: 41%

Profile and conditions

  • Your project satisfies each of the following 4 conditions:
  1. It is aimed at the development of a new therapy, diagnosis and/or specific prevention of a particular human disease or a comparison of existing procedures in order to find out their relative efficacy and cost-effectiveness.
  2. It is directed at research that is positioned late in the path from discovery to a specific application (i.e. there is a clinically relevant proof-of-concept) and aims at translating and developing scientific findings into clinical applications rather than creating new knowledge from scratch. On the other hand, it is not positioned too late in the path from discovery to application: it does not consist of implementation activities that no longer require any research.
  3. It offers a clear applicability with an added value for the Flemish health situation, including at least a positive medical impact for a particular group of patients or a cost reduction for the Flemish healthcare system.
  4. At the time of submitting the application (or in the near future), the industry is not interested in your project for commercial reasons.
  • For the execution of the project, you need bench fees, equipment and personnel grants.
  • The organisation(s) to which you belong, is a (are) research centre(s).
  • The project executors are the owners of their own results.

Important changes compared to the previous call

  • The focus of the programme was broadened:
    • Regarding the first condition (see above): proposals in which existing therapies/diagnostics/preventive measures for a specific human disease are compared in order to find out their relative efficacy and cost-effectiveness, are eligible in this call;
    • Regarding the third condition: proposals in which therapies/diagnostics/preventive measures are developed/validated with the aim to lead to a cost reductionfor the Flemish health care system, without leading to a direct medical impact for the patient, are eligible in this call.
    • Regarding the fourth condition: proposals in which a medical device, marketed by a company, is compared with the gold standard in order to evaluate its efficacy, safety and cost-effectiveness, are eligible in this call on the condition that the study is conducted completely independently from this company and the company is neither willing nor legally obliged to perform such a study.
    • From this year onwards, exceptionally, a budget up to 1,500,000 euro is allowed for large scale and/or multicentre trials, given a thorough motivation.
    • Project proposals have to be submitted via the e-portal of FWO.
    • Fixed start date (October 1, 2017).


  • If you have doubts as to whether your idea may or may not fit within the TBM programme objectives, you can obtain FWO’s opinion by providing a short abstract (1-2 pages), sent via e-mail to tbm@fwo.be. It is also possible to request an oral preliminary discussion at FWO; please attach a short abstract, as well as any questions that you would like to see answered.
  • As supervisor of the project, you prepare your proposal via the FWO e-portal and submit your (complete) proposal to your host institution (=main applicant of the proposal) by April 18, 2017 at 5 PM.
  • Your host institution submits your proposal to FWO via the e-portal by April 25, 2017 at 5 PM.
  • Your proposal is reviewed by a number of (inter)national experts who will discuss and evaluate your proposal at a panel meeting at FWO. During the expert panel meeting you have the opportunity to briefly interact with the experts (to provide answers to the most crucial questions of the experts). The panel meetings will probably take place on one of the following dates: June 9, June 12, June 22, June 27, 2017. You will be informed about the exact date of your panel meeting as soon as possible.
  • The expert panels report to the board of directors of FWO.
  • The board of directors decides on granting support.
  • Subsequently, you will receive feedback on the decision.

Regulations and downloads


For questions with regard to the modalities of the TBM programme, please contact tbm@fwo.be. Questions regarding the functionality of the e-portal, should be addressed to fwohelpdesk@fwo.be. Alternatively, the helpdesk for the e-portal can also be contacted by phone on the number 0800 23326 (on working days from 09:00 until 17:00).