Code of Conduct

FWO Code of Conduct- Expertpanels

Established Line of Conduct

1. The panel chair and the panel members must always strictly adhere to the line of conduct. Upon assuming office as a panel expert, they commit themselves to this by signing the present Code of Conduct. The same rules shall apply to all panels.

2. All deliberations of the expert panels are strictly confidential. Panel members who fail to observe this rule will be called to account by the Board of Trustees.

3. The chair and the members of the panel are independent experts who will not be influenced.

4.a. An expert panel member cannot review a certain application when:

- the panel member is associated to the institution of the application;

- the panel member is involved in the application, either as applicant or researcher

- during the evaluation process or in the course of the three years running up to the application deadline, the panel member has been affiliated to an institute where one or more of the applicants are professionally appointed or enrolled as students

- during the evaluation process or in the course of the three years running up to the application deadline, the panel member has been affiliated to the same research unit as one or more of the applicants. A research unit is to be understood as a structural research cooperation team within the same department or spanning multiple departments of one or more faculties or institutes

- the panel member is the promoter of a research fellowship, an individual research grant and/or a research project in which one or more applicants are involved as (co)-promoters or researchers

- the panel member is a research partner of one or more applicants in a research project that has been applied for or has been running within the three years preceding the final submission date of the applications, or in a research project that has been applied for or has been running during the evaluation process

- the panel member is related with the applicant by family, marital or any other comparable ties

- the panel member is co-author with one or more of the applicants of a publication that was submitted or published in the three years preceding the final submission date for the applications or during the evaluation process. Co-authorship is to be understood as defined in article 18, §4 of these regulations.

b. b. An expert panel member cannot participate in the discussion and final evaluation of a certain application when:

- the panel member is involved in the application, either as applicant or researcher

- the panel member is affiliated to the same research unit as one or more of the applicants. A research unit is to be understood as a structural research cooperation team within the same department or spanning multiple departments of one or more faculties or institutes.

- the panel member is the promoter of a research fellowship, an individual research grant and/or a research project in which one or more applicants are involved as (co)-promoters or researchers

- the panel member is a research partner of one or more applicants in a research project that has been applied for or has been running within the three years preceding the final submission date of the applications, or in a research project that has been applied for or has been running during the evaluation process

- the panel member is related with the applicant by family, marital or any other comparable ties

Each panel member is expected to inform the chair of each conflict of interest as defined by the above criteria and of all other elements that might compromise the panel member’s objectivity. The chair will not appoint this panel member as reviewer and sees to it that this panel member does not participate in the discussion on and final evaluation of the specific application. If a panel member does not indicate a (possible) conflict of interest, he/she can be suspended by the Working Group on Research Policy. The Board of Trustees will judge the appeals made by panel members and will take a final decision on it.

5. During deliberations with regard to the ranking or assigning of budgets, the panel members having a conflict of interest will also need to leave the meeting.

6. Any decisions made are irrevocable, unless all persons present at the time the original decision was taken are attending again.

Paragraph 1: Decision-making process for the Fundamental Research channels

The Decision Making Process

All panels need to adhere to the following working procedure with regard to fellowships, grants and projects.

The fixed working procedure for the decision making process is made up of the following steps:

  1. All dossiers will be submitted to all panel members, who are considered to read every application. The panel chair and the panel vice-chair (a Flemish member ranking in seniority next to the panel chair) will jointly distribute the dossiers to be evaluated among the panel members. To the extent possible, each of the 16 experts[1] will receive a limited number of dossiers.
  2. Each application must be thoroughly evaluated by at least two, and preferably by three, panel members. To this end, they will draw up a ‘pre-report’, thereby making use of the evaluation template which contains a series of criteria. On the basis of this, they assess the dossiers that were assigned to them.
  3. The chair must not be a pre-reporter.
  4. The pre-reports are distributed, filled in and consulted through a dedicated digital platform of FWO. By means of this platform chair and vice-chair distribute the applications among the panel members who have been selected as pre-reporters for an application. The panel members fill in their pre-reports at least one week before the meeting. After its finalisation the report can be consulted by the other panel members. During the panel session the pre-reporters comment on their report or the (vice-)chair can read out or summarize the report if its pre-reporter is absent.

  5. On the basis of these preliminary reports, the full panel will deliberate on each separate dossier. As such, the preliminary reports only constitute a starting point for the deliberation and should not be considered as a final assessment. Preliminary reports should be as concise as possible. These reports are strictly confidential and will remain within the panel.
  6. For each project and, in the case of an inter-university project, for each host institution, an amount between € 45,000 and € 130,000 per annum must be applied for, in order to cover the personnel and consumables. If one of the partners only submits an application for operating resources, the bottom limit for said partner may be lowered to € 20,000. Additionally, a maximum of € 150,000 worth of equipment can also be applied for, and it is possible to request matching funding up to a maximum amount of € 150,000.
  7. If it so desires, the FWO Expert Panel may be informed of the current and submitted projects during the meeting; the result of the evaluation by another FWO Expert Panel will not be communicated.
  8. The FWO representative sees to it that adequate feedback can be formulated for each dossier. The panel members themselves are not allowed to give any feedback to any candidates or promoters. If the panel members receive any questions with regard to the meeting, they can always refer these questions to the FWO. In no case shall any information about the meeting be communicated to third parties.
  9. The number of candidates for a pre-doctoral or postdoctoral fellowship that may be ranked is equal to the number of candidates to be funded. In addition of that ranking, a number of reserve candidates can be ranked up to half the number of effective candidates.
  10. a. The general success rate established for postdoctoral fellowship renewals is applied to the volume of applications per discipline. The exact distribution of the number of resulting fellowships is carried out by discipline-specific panels made up of the chairs and vice chairs of the panels of the respective disciplines. The interdisciplinary panel allocates its own fellowships, their number being equal to the general success rate applied to the volume of applications within that panel, with upward rounding.
    b. The discipline-specific panels perform the selection based on a comparison between the rankings within the relevant panels, with the rating of a given position in the ranking becoming higher as the total number of ranked candidates increases. The pre-reports of the discipline-specific panels on the candidates act as a substantively supporting element in the discussion. In no case can the ranking of a discipline-specific panel be reversed.

Evaluation Criteria

§1. In annex to these regulations, an overview is provided of all criteria for each category, as well as for the selection of the application dossiers and for the evaluation of the activity reports. These criteria are also included in the evaluation templates.

§2. The panels must adhere to these criteria and must not implement any secondary, unwritten rules which might exclude certain dossiers beforehand or may be contrary to the general rules.

The following criteria are not acceptable:

  1. Distinguishing between last year students and graduates in the selection of candidates for a PhD fellowship grant. The a priori exclusion of last year students is therefore not acceptable;
  2. The a priori exclusion of foreign candidates for PhD fellowships because their study results are difficult to evaluate;
  3. The a priori exclusion of candidates who already receive another grant;
  4. The non-systematic allocation of a research grant when no fellowship grant is awarded;
  5. The a priori rejection of a research grant because the applicant is a fellow with a bench fee;
  6. The a priori rejection of a research grant because the applicant is a supervisor or co-supervisor of a research project;
  7. The a priori rejection of research projects of an applicant who is already a supervisor or co-supervisor of one or more research projects.

§3. For the evaluation of the application for a PhD fellowship grant, the panel members can consult the study results provided by the applicant and the histograms provided by the educational services of the universities.

Budget Reduction of Projects

§1. Research projects: We try not to reduce any full-time scientific staff to a half-time position. This may only be done in exceptional cases.

§2. Reduction of the budget by the panels:

    1. Projects with a 1st tier ranking: the proposed budget should enable full completion of the project.
    2. Projects with a 2nd tier ranking: budget cuts are possible.

§3. Selection key: To be determined on the basis of the available resources and the total budgets applied for.

Paragraph 2: Decision-making process for the Strategic Basic Research and Applied Biomedical Research channels

Decision-making process for doctoral (PhD) SB grants

The decision-making procedure established for calls for doctoral (PhD) grants for strategic basic research comprises the following steps:

  1. All panel members receive all dossiers by mail and all panel members are expected to read all applications. Each application must be thoroughly evaluated by at least two panel members. They write a concise preliminary report to be based on a template with the evaluation criteria. The preliminary reports focus on the criteria 'project' and 'potential applications'. Together with the oral examination, they provide a major input for the (consensus-based) assignment of the final scores.
  2. The panel members must submit their preliminary reports to the FWO at least one week before the session. The preliminary reports are made available to the other panel members prior to the session. Preliminary reports are strictly confidential and remain within the panel.
  3. During the session, the candidates take an oral examination. This exam consists of a short presentation and an interrogation of the candidate by the panel members.
  4. Based on the reading of the dossiers, the preliminary reports and the oral examination, each dossier is assigned consensual scores in relation to the evaluation criteria (candidate, project, potential applications). For the three criteria, letter code scores are assigned based on scores for the sub-criteria. The scores reflect 'top x%" percentiles within an assumed normal distribution of the quality of the proposals. A+ stands for the top 5% ("top"), A for the top 10% ("excellent") and A- for the top 20% ("very good"). Scores B+, B and B- represent the top 50% ("good", "moderate", "average"), and C is "below average"). A score of D ("unacceptable", "critical") for one of the three criteria entails exclusion from the ranking.
  5. As moderator, the representative of the FWO sees to it that all elements necessary for the evaluation are addressed during the interrogation and that the scores are assigned in a uniform and objective manner.
  6. The representative of the FWO also ensures that sufficient feedback can be formulated for each dossier. The panel members are not allowed to provide any feedback to candidates or supervisors. If the panel members receive any questions with regard to the meeting, they can always refer these questions to the FWO. In no case shall any information about the meeting be communicated to third parties.
  7. The candidates are ranked according to a weighted total score based on the assigned scores for the three evaluation criteria, with the weight of the score 'candidate' exceeding each of the other two criteria by a factor of 3. The conversion from letter codes to numerical values is performed as follows:
     A+          A            A-           B+          B            B-           C            D
      7            6            5             4            3            2             1            0

    In the case of ties, a weighted total score is calculated without taking into account the score for applicability. If there is still a tie, the 'candidate' score will be decisive. Finally, the sub-criteria per main criterion are examined in succession (in the following order: candidate, project, applications).
  8. A number of fellowships per panel, the 'panel quota', can be awarded directly to the best ranked candidates who have also obtained a predefined minimum score for the three criteria.
    The panel quotum or maximum number of fellowships to be awarded directly is obtained by multiplying the number of candidates within a panel by the overall probability of selection, and then rounding down the result.

    The minimum scores (e.g. B+, B+, B-) are aligned with the percentage of candidates that obtained at least this score combination during previous calls, and that also approaches the overall selection probability.
    For each call, the FWO establishes the minimum score prior to the panel sessions.
  9. The remaining fellowships are awarded on the basis of a ranking of remaining candidates from all panels. This ranking is based on the weighted total scores, normalized (z-scores) in each panel. Each expert panel decides (without breaking the ranking and including the candidates with at least the minimum scores) which candidates qualify for this overall ranking.

Decision-making process for SBO projects

The decision-making procedure established for calls for SBO projects comprises the following steps:

  1. Each project proposal is presented to at least four international experts. For a highly multidisciplinary project proposal, the number of experts may be increased. The assessment by the international experts is based on the assessment criteria given in the annex and covers both the scientific aspects and the valorisation aspects.
  2. To avoid any conflicts of interest, the applicants may submit to FWO a short list of maximum 5 experts to be avoided. This holds especially for industrial experts or possibly experts from research organisations that have a significant affiliation with a competitive company or spin-off development. Such a short list must be submitted no later than the submission of the project. The short list must be specific i.e. based on the name of the expert or company to be challenged.
  3. The written expert recommendations and scores on the scientific part are sent anonymously and unabridged to the applicants, together with any additional valorisation-related questions from FWO staff members. The applicants can formulate their written responses on maximum 7 A4 pages. This written response is attached as an addendum to the project application.
  4. Based on the expert recommendations and the written feedback from the applicants, the FWO staff prepare the reporting to the SBO steering commission. This commission assigns a score to the project proposals and makes a ranking based on this score.
  5. Possible scores that can be awarded per (sub)criterion are: Virtually no information (if the information in the project application is inadequate to assess the criterion), Unacceptable, Poor, Reasonable, Positive, and Excellent.
  6. The following projects are ineligible for support and will not be ranked:
    • Projects scoring "unacceptable" or "virtually no information" on at least 1 sub-criterion. Projects having an overall delta score < -2 on at least one of both assessment dimensions (scientific quality or utilisation). This score is calculated as follows:
      • the scores “excellent”, “positive”, “reasonable” and “poor” on a sub criterion are translated into +1, 0, -1, -2 points respectively;
      • a double weight is assigned to two criteria, notably W1.1. (contribution to the state-of-the-art) and W1.2. (challenging, high-risk and inventive character of the research) because of the importance of both aspects for an SBO project.
      • The overall delta score is the sum of the scores on the criteria.
    • Projects scoring overall less than "reasonably good" on at least one of the main criteria (W1-W4, U1-U4).
  1. Projects that meet the minimum support requirements are ranked based on the following rules:
    • Projects are ranked based on an equal weight assigned to the scores on scientific quality and utilisation prospects and on the necessary diversity as regards fields of application in case of equivalent scores;
    • Projects with an economic finality aimed at a contribution to sustainable development receive selection priority by assigning a double weight to the U4 criterion (contribution to sustainable development);
    • A bonus (+1 on the total score) is assigned to projects with a social finality which, through relevant cooperation with relevant social stakeholders for application-oriented activities, bridge the gap between the SBO results and their applications in the field.
  • Maximum 20% of the available budget for SBO projects with a primary economic finality can be spent on projects whose valorisation strategy is aimed at the creation of a new spin-off company.
  1. The highest ranked project proposals are supported within the limits of the available budget.

Decision-making process for TBM

The decision-making procedure established for calls for TBM projects comprises the following steps:

  1. For the assessment, a representative of the FWO subdivides the project proposals are into different expert panels as a function of the research topic.
  2. Depending on the research topics, a representative of the FWO forms an expert panel for each group of project proposals.
  3. All panel members receive all project proposals belonging to the relevant panel and are expected to read all applications.
  4. Each application must be thoroughly evaluated by at least two panel members. They write a concise preliminary report to be based on a template with the evaluation criteria. The panel members must submit their pre-reports to the FWO at least one week before the meeting. The pre-reports are made available to the other panel members prior to the meeting. Pre-reports are strictly confidential and shall remain within the panel.
  5. In each expert panel, the projects are ranked by an external expert panel, which is preferably composed of 5 experts. This will be done at a meeting held in the FWO offices in Brussels.
  6. Experts who have a conflict of interest with a dossier or who are associated to the same department as one of the applicants of a dossier, will not be allowed to participate in the assessment of that dossier.
  7. At the expert panel meeting, the applicants of the TBM project proposals are given the opportunity to answer a number of  specific questions of the expert panel during a short interaction of max. 10 minutes.
  8. As moderator, the representative of the FWO ensures that the questioning and the discussion within the expert panel are conducted in accordance with the applicable regulations and guidelines.
  9. The representative of the FWO also ensures that sufficient feedback can be formulated for each dossier. The panel members are not allowed to provide any feedback to the applicants. If the panel members receive questions about the meeting, they can always refer them to the FWO. In no case shall any information about the meeting be communicated to third parties.
  10. For each project, the complete score grid with 14 criteria is completed by consensus. The following scores are possible for the majority of criteria:

excellent (= a numeric score of +1),

positive or good (= a numeric score of 0),

reasonable (= a numeric score of -1)

poor (= a numeric score of -2)

critical (= immediate exclusion, even on the basis of a single criterion!)

  1. The total project score is the sum of the individual scores on the 14 criteria. The score provides an indication of the extent to which the project differs from the expectations for a good TBM project: a project that meets all the criteria has a numeric score of 0.  The total numeric score may vary between -28 and +11.
  2. After the panel meetings, the projects are ranked based on their total score. Project proposals that received at least one 'critical' score on one of the 14 criteria, will not be ranked. The Board of Trustees can also establish a minimum project score to be obtained.
  1. The highest ranked project proposals are nominated for support within the limits of the available budget. In the case of ties, project proposals with the highest scores on the programme fit (= sum of criteria W1, W2, U4 and U5) are ranked higher. The FWO Board of Trustees subsequently decides on the support for these projects.

Paragraph 3: Decision-making process for the Research Infrastructure channels

Decision-making process for Science (large-scale research infrastructure)

§1. The procedure established for the decision-making process by the Science commission comprises the following steps:

  1. For the assessment of the application dossiers, the Science commission is assisted for each dossier by at least three external reviewers recognised as authorities in the relevant disciplines and not active in Belgium. These reviewers only submit a written report and are not members of the commission.
  2. After the call is closed, the submitted application dossiers are provided as soon as possible by the FWO secretariat to the effective and substitute members of the Science commission and any third-party organisations with which the FWO has signed an agreement on support with the selection of reviewers, for the purpose of proposing potential reviewers.
  3. The effective and substitute members of the Science commission and any third-party organisations with which the FWO has signed an agreement on support with the selection of reviewers, submit their reviewer proposals for each application to the FWO secretariat. For each proposed reviewer, they also provide a succinct justification why that person is considered an authority in the relevant discipline(s).
  4. The FWO secretariat collects all proposed reviewers for each application, including those proposed by the applicants. It analyses for each proposed reviewer whether he/she is recognised as an authority in the relevant discipline(s) and whether he/she is to be considered as unbiased and independent with regard to the application to be assessed by him/her.
  5. The secretary shall invite the reviewers to assess the application for which they were designated.

§2. The assessment of the scientific quality of the submitted applications by the Science commission takes place during at least two meetings.

§2.1. During a first meeting, it is determined which applications will preliminarily be assessed as excellent and whose applicants will therefore be invited for a hearing. This preliminary assessment is based on the application dossiers, the assessment reports received from the reviewers, and the written reactions from the applicants following the receipt of the anonymised assessment reports from the reviewers.

Also during the first meeting, the hearings with the applicants of the applications preliminarily assessed as excellent are prepared. This means at least that:

-        For each application, it is determined which additional information has to be provided by the applicants to the Science commission prior to the hearing, as well as how and by when this information is to be provided;

-        For each application, it is determined which key questions will be asked to the applicant during the hearing;

-        For each hearing, it is determined who will chair the hearing and who will ask which key question, it being understood that the Science commission may decide that the chairman will chair one or more hearings and/or ask several or all key questions, or that another member will chair one or more hearings and/or ask several or all key questions; and

-        it is also determined how much time the introductory presentation and the last word, to which the applicants are entitled, may take.

§2.2. During a second meeting, the hearings with the applicants whose applications were preliminarily assessed as excellent, take place.  The practical organisation of these hearings is the responsibility of the secretary, in consultation with the Chairman of the Science commission. The invitation contains the place, date, start time and expected end time of the hearing. It also contains any additional information to be provided by the applicants to the Science commission prior to the hearing, and also specifies how and by which date said information is to be provided, and the key questions that will be asked during the interview. It further specifies that the applicants are entitled to an introductory presentation at the start of the hearing and to a last word at the conclusion of the hearing, and the maximum time that this introductory presentation and this last word may take.

A hearing is chaired and the key questions are asked by the designated member of the Science commission. Each member of the Science commission present at the hearing has the right to ask additional questions to the applicants.

The applicants have the right to give an introductory presentation at the start of the hearing. In this presentation, they present their investment initiative for large-scale research infrastructure and outline the reasons why they believe it is eligible for funding on the basis of the specified selection criteria. The member of the Science commission who chairs the hearing explicitly asks them at the start of the interview whether they wish to avail themselves of this right. The applicants also have a right to the last word. The member of the Science commission who chairs the hearing explicitly asks them at the end of the interview whether they wish to avail themselves of this right.

In case of urgent necessity, the chair may deviate from the above provisions.

§2.3. Based on any additional information provided by the applicants, and the progress and outcome of the hearings, it is determined which applications are definitively assessed as excellent.

A ranking is made of these applications. This ranking is based on the specified selection criteria and the application dossiers, the evaluation reports received from the reviewers, the written reactions submitted by the applicants to the FWO following the receipt of anonymised evaluation reports from the reviewers, any additional information provided by the applicants, and the progress and outcome of the hearings.

Finally, an advice to the Board of Trustees is formulated.

§3.1. The Board of Trustees can only ratify or reject an advice of the Science commission. In case of rejection, the Science commission is questioned again, where appropriate with explicit statement of the elements which according to the Board of Trustees should be investigated further.

§3.2. If the Science commission is questioned again, it has two options: either it maintains its original advice, or it formulates a new advice.

If the Science commission maintains its original advice, the original justification of the advice is also maintained.

If the Science commission formulates a new advice, it also formulates a new suitable justification.

§3.3. If the rejection by the Board of Trustees explicitly refers to elements which it believes should be investigated further, the Science commission shall, when justifying its advice, regardless of whether it maintains its original advice or formulates a new advice, pay explicit attention to these elements and specify the results of the further investigation and their impact on its decision.

§4.1. Both effective and substitute members of the Science commission shall be invited to the meetings.

§4.2. The Science commission can only validly deliberate and decide when a total of at least six of the effective and substitute members are present. If this quorum is not achieved, the deliberation and the decision process are postponed to the next meeting.

§4.3. All effective and substitute members of the Science commission that are present during a meeting, can fully participate in the deliberation and the decision-making process.

§4.4. The deliberation of the Science commission is secret. The opinions and positions of the individual members shall not be disclosed.

§4.5. The Science commission can only decide by consensus.

Decision-making process for Invest (large-scale research infrastructure)

The procedure established for the decision-making process by the Invest commission comprises the following steps:

  1. Both effective and substitute members of the Invest commission shall be invited to the meetings.
    1. The Invest commission can only validly deliberate and decide when a total of at least two of the effective or substitute members are present. If this quorum is not achieved, the deliberation and the decision process are postponed to the next meeting.
    2. All effective and substitute members of the Invest commission that are present during a meeting, can fully participate in the deliberation and the decision-making process.
    3. The deliberation of the Invest commission is secret. The opinions and positions of the individual members shall not be disclosed.
    4. The Invest commission must submit an advice to the Board of Trustees, preferably by consensus among the members present. If no consensus can be reached, the advice shall specify the points on which no consensus was reached and the different opinions points of view shall be presented.

Annex to the ‘Code of Conduct for Expert Panels’

Predoctoral fellowships:

PhD Fellowships - Special PhD Fellowships - Clinical PhD Fellowships

Selection

  • Research competence and potential (a.o. study results)
  • Research skills and methodological skills
  • Scientific autonomy
  • Originality and innovative nature of the project
  • Feasibility of the project
  • Purposefulness of the project
  • The quality of support and assistance

Evaluation

  • Research competence and skills of the university graduates
  • Progress status of the doctoral thesis
  • Quality of the doctoral thesis
  • Quality of the published results
  • Clinical experience and autonomy of the postulant

Doctoral (PhD) grant strategic basic research

Selection

  • Potential ability to independently undertake doctoral research as an innovation-oriented researcher;
    • Potential ability as a doctoral researcher: reasoning abilities and critical mind, scientific knowledge and project insight.
    • Potential ability as a strategically thinking and innovation-oriented researcher.
  • Scientific quality and relevance of the research project, and its feasibility within a period of four years;
    • Scientific quality, relevance and challenge, inventiveness and innovativeness.
    • Quality of the research approach and feasibility of the project.
  • Strategic importance of the research project with regard to the long-term potential for innovative applications with economic added value;
    • Strategic importance of the research approach for the intended applications (relevance).
    • Strategic importance of the potential applications for possible users (impact).

Postdoctoral fellowships:

Postdoctoral fellowship:

Selection

  • Research competence and potential (a.o. publications by the candidate)
  • Research skills and methodological skills
  • Scientific background of the candidate
  • Scientific autonomy
  • Originality and innovative nature of the project
  • Mobility of the applicant
  • Feasibility of the project
  • Purposefulness of the project

Evaluation

  • Research competence and skills
  • National and international level of the publications
  • Involvement in a research team

Senior Clinical Investigator:

Selection

  • Research competence and potential (a.o. publications by the candidate)
  • Research skills and methodological skills
  • Scientific background of the candidate
  • Scientific autonomy
  • Originality and innovative nature of the project
  • Mobility of the applicant
  • Feasibility of the project
  • Purposefulness of the project
  • Clinical experience and autonomy of the postulant

Evaluation

  • National and international level of the publications
  • Involvement in a research team
  • Promoting of the relationship between research and clinical practice

Research Grants:

Selection

  • Scientific production of the postulant
  • Scientific excellence of the research unit
  • Research methodology
  • Originality and innovative nature of the project
  • Feasibility of the project
  • Purposefulness of the project
  • Necessity of the budgeted resources

Evaluation

  • To what extent were the set objectives attained?
  • results and publications

Research Projects:

Selection

  • International scientific level of the research groups
  • Methodology
  • Originality and innovative nature of the project
  • Importance of the project
  • Purposefulness of the project
  • Feasibility of the project
  • Cooperation and coordination among research units
  • Necessity of the budgeted resources

Evaluation

  • To what extent were the set objectives attained?
  • High-quality publications in international journals with peer review.

Strategic Basic Research (SBO) projects:

Selection

  • Scientific quality
    • Strategic character of the research and its contribution to the development of a broad knowledge base with broad possibilities for further research activities
    • Efficiency and quality of the research approach, the project planning (including the way in which coordination is ensured for project proposals that are carried out within a consortium), the work programme and the planned project management
    • "Value for money" and practicability or feasibility of the proposed research with the planned manpower and resources
    • Existing competence, infrastructure and potential available to the project applicant(s) to conduct the proposed research
    • Social or economic utilisation prospects
      • Importance, scope and feasibility of the expected economic or social valorisation potential and its significance for Flanders
      • Quality of the proposed strategy and the approach for the support of the further social exploitation of the research results
      • Available competence as regards the management of research results and their transfer to economic or social stakeholders
      • Added value of the project in the field of sustainable development, where appropriate

Applied Biomedical Research with a primary Social finality (TBM) projects:

Selection

  • Scientific quality
    • Focus of the project on the development of a new therapy, diagnosis and/or specific prevention of a specific disease or a comparison of existing procedures that allows a conclusion to be drawn about its relative effectiveness and cost efficiency
    • Positioning of the project in the path from discovery to application
    • Contribution to the state-of-the-art/scientific importance
    • Relevance of the scientific approach to achieving the scientific objectives
    • Balance between risks and feasibility of the scientific project objectives
    • Quality of project plan + management
    • Competence and infrastructure
    • Social utilisation prospects
      • Relevance of the project in attaining the utilisation objective
      • Intrinsic feasibility of the utilisation objective
      • Anticipated impact for the individual patient
      • Anticipated scope of the societal potential for Flanders
      • Lack of industrial interest
      • Quality and feasibility of the utilisation approach
      • Competence and track record in terms of transfer and utilisation

Large-scale research infrastructure:

Selection by the Science commission

  • Scientific quality and relevance of the research programme to be implemented using the research infrastructure
  • Importance of the research infrastructure for research within the scientific discipline concerned
  • Innovative character of the research programme to be implemented using the research infrastructure
  • Extent to which the research infrastructure as a logistics hub is capable of generating a wide range of new projects
  • Technologically innovative character of the research infrastructure
  • In case the research infrastructure has to be constructed: technical feasibility of the research infrastructure
  • Quality and competence of the research group(s) involved, scientific position of the relevant research group(s) in an international context, and its/their involvement in the policy of international research infrastructures
  • Extent to which the proposal fits in with the strategic research policy of the institution(s) concerned
  • Extent to which the investment in the research infrastructure contributes to the strengthening  of the Flemish or regional position in the research field in question
  • Extent to which the proposal is aligned with both domestic and foreign initiatives and infrastructures within the research field in question
  • Accessibility of the research infrastructure for researchers external to the host institution, and quality of the access procedure

Selection by the Invest commission

  • Description of the targeted investment
  • Description of the way in which the infrastructure is obtained
  • Utilisation plan
  • Description of the quality of the infrastructure in which the research infrastructure will be housed, if applicable
  • Estimate of financial, human and material costs
  • Balanced budget

Assessment

  • Scientific return on the investment, measured by the number of publications and utilisations
  • Effectiveness of the investment, measured by the number of hours that the infrastructure is available and the number of hours that it is effectively used
  • Accessibility of the research infrastructure to the researchers, measured by the number of hours that the infrastructure is available for and is used by researchers from the host institution, the partner members of the consortium and external users
  • International significance of the investment in the approved research infrastructure, measured by the number of ongoing and new projects financed by entities other than the Flemish government, in which the infrastructure is used
  • Extent to which the availability of the research infrastructure has contributed to attracting public research funding and contracts in collaboration with third parties, and companies in particular, with a detailed overview of the contracts, the funding bodies, the duration and the scope of the contracts

[1] Exceptions are the Exper panels Cult2, Cult3, G&M2, G&M3, G&M4, Med5, Med8, W&T7 and W&T8. These panels are composed of 18 members, 8 of them appointed of an institution belonging to the Flemish Community or to the Dutch-language register of a Federal institution.

27/04/2017