Regulations FWO - Internal and External Peer Review

Art. 1.

For the evaluation of research applications and applications for research infrastructure, the FWO relies on both internal and external peer reviews. As stipulated in article 17 of the FWO statutes, the Foundation’s Board of Trustees may call upon the advice of scientific committees. The deliberations of these expert panels/commissions/juries are considered as internal peer reviews. With regard to applications for postdoctoral fellowships (including applications falling under the Pegasus program), senior clinical investigators, fundamental research projects, SBO projects, TBM projects (where appropriate), the Odysseus program, the Big Science program and various scientific awards, the advice of the reviewers is submitted to the scientific commissions for the purpose of further refining their evaluation. The evaluations of these reviewers are considered as external peer reviews.

Chapter I – Internal Peer Review

Paragraph 1: Channels for Fundamental Research and Mobility

Art. 2.

§ 1. There are 30 ordinary scientific committees, also called Expert panels, and 1 interdisciplinary panel. The ordinary Expertpanels are each composed of sixteen members that are associated with either a university or a scientific research institute, and who are appointed by the Board of Trustees. Amongst these sixteen members, seven belong to an institution operating within the Flemish Community or are entered into the Dutch-language register of a federal institute [1].

The other members may not have been affiliated during the last 3 years to an institution of the Flemish Community (by way of a professional appointment, guest professorship or as a voluntary collaborator). This rule only applies to newly appointed members, starting from the call of 2013.

§ 2. The mandates are assigned on a personal basis and are non-transferable. The mandates of the members appointed at an institution operating within the Flemish Community or entered into the Dutch-language register of a federal institute are for a 3 year term and are renewable once, with the exception of the provisions included in article 5. The mandates of the non-Flemish members are for a 3 year term and are renewable twice.

§3. For the entire duration of their mandates, the principle applies that the experts need to be engaged at a university or a scientific research institute for at least 50% of their time.The Board of Trustees may allow deviations from this condition for reasons of scientific expertise.

§ 4. No more than 2/3 of the members may be of the same gender.

§ 5. Any expert may only be a member of one single discipline-specific expert panel.

§ 6. Experts that have failed to attend two consecutive panel meetings without submitting their scientific advices, may be dismissed from the expert panel.

§7. In principle, the membership of an expert panel is incompatible with other activities that are assumed to be very time-consuming for a member of the academic staff and as stipulated in the Decree of the Flemish Government of May 5, 1993. Membership of a FWO Expert panel is also incompatible with the functions of rector, vice-rector or director/person responsible for research policy.
Emeriti can now sit in an expert panel. They still must be actively involved in the research.

[1] Exceptions are the expert 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.

Art. 3.

§1. The interdisciplinary Expert panel is composed of 11 permanent experts, appointed in accordance with the same procedure as used for the ordinary panels. All other stipulations in the present regulation shall likewise be applicable to these permanent members.

§2. The permanent experts of the interdisciplinary panel are supplemented by another 11 alternate experts which will be individually designated for each separate meeting by the permanent members in function of the dossiers that need to be evaluated. These alternate experts must be members of a discipline-specific Expert panel.

§3. An expert may at the same time be member of an ordinary Expert panel and a permanent member of the interdisciplinary panel.

Art. 4.

§1 At the end of a member’s mandate, the Board of Trustees shall appoint his or her successor on proposal of the Member Committee.

§2. The Member Committee that provides advice to the Board of Trustees with regard to the appointment of members of the Expertpanels is composed of members who, at the time of their own appointment, were member of the university research councils. Their mandate is of a three-year duration. The Member Committee is composed as follows: one member representing the exact and applied sciences; one member for the bio-medical sciences, and one member for the language, cultural and behavioral sciences. This committee must also comply with the provisions as set forth in art. 2, § 4.

§3. To fill any vacancies in the expert panels, a public call for candidate experts shall be issued at least three months prior to the commencement of the mandate in the committee, both domestically and abroad. The Expertpanels involved shall be consulted with regard to the required expertise profile.

§4. The Member Committee and the Expertise Centre for R&D Monitoring (ECOOM) shall conduct scientific screening of the candidate experts. The Member Committee subsequently will formulate a proposal for the appointment of new panel members by the Board of Trustees. For this, the following selection procedures are followed:

  1. The candidates must belong to at least the top 40% of their discipline in Belgium; the same level is required for experts coming from abroad.
  2. A very important aspect of the appointment process of new members is the implementation of a gender rule, on the basis of which no more than 2/3rds of the members of an expert panel may be of the same gender.
  3. The Flemish members of the expert panels must adequately mirror the high-level expertise available in Flanders. As a rule, a panel should be made up of experts from all Flemish universities, to the extent that these universities are scientifically active within the scope of the panel concerned.
  4. The composition of the panels must guarantee maximum coverage of the study area concerned, thanks to the expertise of all members. The expertise of any new members must be of a supplementary nature, rather than simply duplicating the expertise that is already present in any given expert panel.

§5. To fill the vacancies of members with a non-Flemish affiliation, the expert panels shall, in parallel, also submit three possible names in order to ensure that enough candidates are available. Foreign members need not be associated with a university and will be selected solely on the basis of their scientific competence.

§6. Persons that already have been a member of an Expert panel in the past cannot resubmit their candidacy until at least three years following the termination of their previously held mandate.

§7. A renewal cannot be assigned to a member who, during his/her previous mandate, has attended less than half of the meetings. The Board of Trustees shall consult the Expertpanel concerned with regard to any mandate extensions.

Art. 5.

The Flemish member with the longest service in an Expert panel will act as Chair of this panel. The Flemish member with the second longest service from another university than the Chair, will act as Vice Chair of the panel. If the mandates of both members were to end simultaneously, the Vice Chair will be invited to sit on the panel for one more year and to act as Chair. If the Vice Chair cannot accept this invitation, the Chair will be invited to continue to act as Chair for one more year.

Mandates can end simultaneously for maximum one-third of the Flemish members.

If, within one panel, more than one-third of the members with a Flemish affiliation were to leave simultaneously, the member with the shortest panel service of this group will be invited to extend their membership by one year, and so forth until again maximum one-third of the members have to be renewed.

Art. 6.

The Expert panels will give their advice according to the consensus principle. When no consensus can be reached, the panel will proceed to a vote; in the case of equality of votes, the Chair shall the deciding vote.

Art. 7.

The Chair of the Board of Trustees may attend the meetings of the panels.

Art. 8.

§ 1. The 30 + 1 Expertpanels are:

In the area of Biological Sciences

In the area of Humanities

In the area of Social Sciences

In the area of Medical Sciences

In the area of Science and Technology

Interdisciplinary

Art.9.

§1. The Board of Trustees may call upon the International Collaboration Committee (CIWC) for advice on its evaluation of applications for the funding of scientific contacts and coordination.

§2. This commission is multidisciplinary and is composed of members who are, or have been, members of a scientific commission/Expert panel for at least three years.

§3. The term of the mandates shall be two years, with the possibility of two renewals extensions. In principle, every two years, one third of the members with the highest anciennity are replaced. Emeriti can now sit in the International Collaboration Committee (CIWC). They still must be actively involved in the research.

§4. Members who are absent more than three times in the course of a given year will be replaced in the next year.

Art.10.

For specific cases, the Board of Trustees may seek assistance from a ‘ad hoc’ commission composed of experts who are competent in the matters concerned.

Art.11.

§1. The Board of Trustees may call upon the Panel for International Cooperation (‘CIS’) for its evaluation of international cooperation projects. To this commission, applications for funding of international cooperation projects or consortia will be submitted which surpass the scope of individual exchange. This is, amongst others, the case for applications involving the following funding channels:

- Bilateral research cooperation

- International coordination action

- Pegasus Marie-Curie fellowships

The exchange agreements, the individual travel and stay allowances, and participation in ERA-NET fall under the competence of the International Collaboration Committee (CIWC).

§2 This commission is made up of sixteen members, 9 of which are not associated to a Flemish university or research institute; at the time of composition of this commission, the following indicative distribution key is applied:

5 members from the Biomedical Sciences

5 members from the area of Science & Technology

3 members from the Behavioral and Social Sciences

3 members from the Humanities

For the areas counting 5 members, the principle applies that a minimum of two members should, and a minimum of two members should not, be affiliated to a Flemish research institute or belong to the Dutch-language register of a federal research institute. For the areas that may supply 3 members, the principle applies that at least 1 member should, and at least 1 member should not, be affiliated to a Flemish research institute or belong to the Dutch-language register of a federal research institute.

§3 Membership of the CIS may be combined with the membership of a regular Expert panel.

§4 The procedure for submitting an application as a candidate (with the exception of scientific screening by ECOOM – cfr. supra art. 4 §4), as well as the provisions with regard to the term of appointment, the functioning of the commission and the code of conduct are identical to those applicable to the regular Expert panel.

Paragraph 2: Channels for Strategic Basic Research and Applied Biomedical Research

 

Art. 12.

§1. The Decision of the Flemish Government on doctoral (PhD) grants for strategic basic research (*) stipulates that expert panels shall advise the FWO Board of Trustees on deciding on any grant application. The Board of Trustees is authorised to determine the number, the composition and the operation of these panels. These panels (SB expert panels) will be formed ad hoc after each call in relation to the dossiers to be evaluated.

(*) 29 MAY 2009 - Decision of the Flemish Government regulating the award of doctoral (PhD) grants for the implementation of strategic basic research projects.

§2. At least one-third of the total number of members of the SB expert panels are directly involved in research and development in an industrial context, and at least one-third of the number of members are affiliated with a higher education institution or research centre.

§3. For the 2016 call, the goal is for at least one-third of the total number of members to be neither affiliated to a Flemish research institution, nor to belong to the Dutch-speaking staff of a federal research institution or to a Flemish establishment of a company.

§4. No more than two thirds of the total number of members may be of the same gender.

§5. Any expert may only be a member of one SB expert panel per call. For new calls, the Board of Trustees ensures the regular renewal of the panels.

§6. Each SB expert panel consists of 5 or 6 members. At least one expert is directly involved in research and development in an industrial context.

§7. Each SB Expert panel evaluates 12 to 16 candidates (reference values). During the session, the candidates take an oral examination. The examination is conducted in English.

§8. The Expertpanels will give their advice according to the consensus principle.

§9. Each SB Expert panel is overseen by a representative of the FWO, who, as moderator, also acts as session chair. He/she may be an FWO policy officer or an adviser of the Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (**).

(**) 25 January 2016 Protocol on cooperation between the FWO and the Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Art. 13.

§1. The Decision of the Flemish Government on strategic basic research (*) stipulates that expert panels shall advise the FWO Board of Trustees on its decisions regarding all project applications. The Board of Trustees is authorised to determine the number, the composition and the operation of these expert panels. These panels (SBO expert panels) will be formed ad hoc after each call in relation to the dossiers to be evaluated. The operation and the composition of the expert panels is described in article 19 of these regulations.

In addition, the Board of Trustees may appoint steering commissions of external experts for both finality parts, which shall draw up a final ranking and selection proposal based on the results of the individual expert panels.

(*) 3 OCTOBER 2003 - Decree of the Flemish Government concerning the establishment of a financing channel for strategic basic research in Flanders.

§2. During the SBO evaluation procedure, two steering commissions (one commission for each finality part: SBO-E and SBO-M) shall be called upon. Through the authority delegated to them by the Board of Trustees, they shall ensure 1) the appointment of the (inter)national evaluators who sit on the expert panels and 2) the formulation of a final ranking and selection advice based on the results of the individual SBO expert panels. Based on the advice of the steering commissions, the Board of Trustees shall subsequently decide on the SBO support.

§2.1. The aim is to set up an SBO steering commission composed of 15 academic and non-academic experts representing different scientific and socio-economic research areas. The commission members are selected so that the relevant commission as a whole possesses the necessary expertise in a broad range of social and/or economic applications of innovative products, processes and services, scientific research and/or policy.  To ensure maximum complementarity with the project-specific scientific SBO expert panels, they must in particular be skilled in the evaluation of the utility prospects of the project proposals: potential uses of the results in the longer term and subject to further research, by economic, social, or governmental actors. The aim is to ensure that maximum two-thirds of the members are of the same gender.

§2.2. The independent functioning of the steering commissions must also be ensured. This implies that members of Flemish research centres cannot sit on the commissions. Similarly, membership is not desirable for persons having occupied an active or advisory role at Flemish research centres less than 3 years ago.

§2.3. For the SBO-M commission, for the purpose of evaluating the social context of the social valorisation/utilisation in Flanders, half of the commission members are recruited from Belgium and/or the Netherlands.

§2.4. The members of the steering commission are elected for 3 years, which term may be extended once by 3 years.

§2.5. The FWO Board of Trustees shall decide on the composition of the steering commission for each of both finality parts.

Art. 14.

§1. The Decree of the Flemish Government on applied biomedical research with a primary social finality (*) stipulates that expert panels shall advise the FWO Board of Trustees on its decisions regarding all project applications. The Board of Trustees is authorised to determine the number, the composition and the operation of these expert panels. These panels (TBM expert panels) will be formed ad hoc after each call in relation to the dossiers to be evaluated.

(*) 15 SEPTEMBER 2006 - Decree of the Flemish Government for the funding of applied biomedical research with a primary social finality.

§2. TBM expert panels shall be called upon for the evaluation of TBM project proposals. The Board of Trustees shall compose the TBM expert panels. Based on the evaluation criteria defined in the TBM decree, the TBM expert panels shall formulate a substantiated advice.

§2.1. The TBM expert panels are formed ad hoc from a pool of experts for each call. To this end, the FWO shall maintain a sufficiently large pool of TBM experts (80 or so) including the following profiles: representatives of the major clinical expertises (several per expertise area), research methodologists and statisticians, health economists, experts capable of judging the potential industrial interest in the project outcomes. For any missing expertises, additional experts can be sought. The aim is to ensure that maximum two-thirds of the members are of the same gender.

§2.2. The TBM expert pool shall be renewed on a regular basis. Experts who have participated in a TBM expert panel for 3 to 4 years shall be replaced by new experts, so that experience with the program and the selection procedure is combined with new insights and expertise.

§2.3. The composition of the TBM expert pool may be reviewed annually on the basis of an evaluation of the panel meetings and the necessary expertise for the proper operation of the TBM expert panels. Proposals for review of the TBM expert pool shall be submitted for approval by the FWO Board of Trustees.

Paragraph 3: Research infrastructure

Art. 15.

§1. Research infrastructure comprises all facilities and sources that promote the performance of frontier and strategic basic research across all scientific disciplines. This includes, in addition to scientific infrastructure, collections, natural habitats, corpora and databases (including digital access to the data).

§2. Large-scale research infrastructure covers investment initiatives in excess of 1 million euros.

Art. 16.

§1. The Science commission is composed of at least six effective and six substitute members who are an international authority in their respective research areas and whose views extend beyond the (sub-)discipline(s) in which they are active. The composition of the commission covers all fields of science. At least one effective and one substitute member shall be recruited from the industrial sector. The commission shall also possess expertise in science and innovation policy and in the management of large research facilities. No more than one-third of the members shall be active in Belgium at the time of composition of the commission.

The members of this commission shall be appointed by the Board of Trustees for a renewable term of six years. The Board of Trustees shall appoint a Chair and a substitute Chair from amongst the members.

§2. The Science commission shall evaluate the scientific quality of the applications and rank the applications judged as excellent on the basis of the following selection criteria:

1°          Scientific quality and relevance of the research programme to be implemented using the research infrastructure;

2°          Importance of the research infrastructure for research within the relevant scientific discipline;

3°          Innovative character of the research programme to be implemented using the research infrastructure;

4°          Extent to which the research infrastructure as a logistics hub is capable of generating a wide range of new projects;

5°          Technologically innovative character of the research infrastructure;

6°          In case the research infrastructure has to be constructed: technical feasibility of the research infrastructure;

7°          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;

8°          Extent to which the proposal fits in with the strategic research policy of the institution(s) concerned;

9°          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;

10°        Extent to which the proposal is aligned with both domestic and foreign initiatives and infrastructures within the research field in question;

11°        Accessibility of the research infrastructure for researchers external to the host institution, and quality of the access procedure.

§3. The activities of the Science commission result in a written advice to the Board of Trustees. This advice consists of two parts, one being an overview of the applications that are considered to be excellent and those that are not, and the other being a ranking of the excellent applications.

The Science commission shall justify its advice to the Board of Trustees. This justification shall at least include the reasons why a given application is or is not considered to be excellent and why it ranked the excellent applications the way it did. The justification must be factual and adequate. This means that it must substantiate its advice by, amongst others, citing material elements from the application dossier, by taking into account the review reports from reviewers, the written reactions from the applicants to the anonymised review reports, any additional information provided by the applicants, and the progress and outcome of the hearings, by referring to specialised and relevant information of which it is aware, or by using generally known facts. It shall link these justification elements to the specified selection criteria.

§4. The Chair has the following tasks:

-        Chair the meetings of the Science commission;

-        Set the date and agenda of the meetings, in consultation with the secretary;

-        Delegate preparatory and administrative tasks to the secretary.

The secretariat is staffed by one of the FWO staff members, called the secretary.

The secretary has the following tasks:

-        Provide the members of the Science commission, the members of the Board of Trustees and any third-party organisations with which the FWO has concluded an agreement, with the electronic version of the application dossiers for the purpose of proposing potential reviewers;

-        Provide the members of the Science commission with the application dossiers, reference reports, reactions from the applications to the anonymised evaluation reports and any additional information to be provided by the applicants to the Science commission prior to the hearing;

-        Send out invitations for the meetings, on behalf of the Chair, and all other documents to both the effective and the substitute members;

-        Practical organisation of the hearings, in consultation with the Chair;

-        Send out invitations for the hearings to the supervisors-spokespersons of the applicants;

-        Prepare minutes of the meetings and hearings and draft advices under the supervision of the Chair;

-        Perform the tasks assigned ad hoc to him/her by the Science commission.

Art. 17.

§1. The Invest commission consists of one effective member and one substitute member nominated by the Department of Economy, Science & Innovation, the Flanders Participation Company and the FWO respectively. Neither members of the FWO Board of Trustees nor FWO staff can sit on the Invest commission.

The members of this commission shall be appointed by the Board of Trustees for a renewable term of six years. The Board of Trustees shall appoint a Chair and a substitute Chair from amongst the members.

§2. The Invest commission must verify whether the investment plans being part of the applications judged to be excellent by the Science commission, are sufficiently realistic and objective. In addition, it shall examine whether any needs or opportunities can be identified in the area of cross-institutional or cross-association cooperation or cooperation with research centres, scientific institutions, or companies.

To this end, the investment plans shall include at least the following elements:

-        Description of the targeted investment;

-        Description of the way in which the infrastructure is to be achieved;

-        Detailed 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;

-        Conclusive budget.

If deemed necessary as part of its tasks, the Invest commission may request the applicants to provide additional information either in writing or via an interview.

§3. The activities of the Invest commission result in a written advice to the Board of Trustees. This advice consists of a sub-advice per application dossier of which the investment dossier has been evaluated by the Invest commission. This sub-advice shall contain on the one hand any comments made by the commission with regard to the realistic and objective character of the relevant investment plan, and on the other hand any suggestions it has made with regard to the needs or opportunities in the area of cooperation.

The Invest commission shall justify its advice to the Board of Trustees. This justification shall at least include the reasons why, in relation to specific investment plans, it has formulated comments regarding the realistic and objective character, and why, in relation to specific application dossiers, it has made suggestions regarding the needs and opportunities in the area of cooperation. The justification must be factual and adequate. This means that it shall substantiate its advice by, amongst others, citing material elements from the application dossier, by referring to specialised and relevant information of which it is aware, or by using generally known facts.

§4. The Chair has the following tasks:

-        Chair the meetings of the Invest commission;

-        Set the date and agenda of the meetings, in consultation with the secretary;

-        Delegate preparatory and administrative tasks to the secretary.

The secretariat is staffed by one of the FWO staff members, called the secretary.

The secretary has the following tasks:

-        Provide the members of the Invest commission with the application dossiers judged as excellent by the Invest commission;

-        Send out invitations for the meetings, on behalf of the Chair, and all other documents to both the effective and the substitute members;

-        Prepare minutes of the meetings and draft advices under the supervision of the Chair; 

-        Perform the tasks assigned ad hoc to him/her by the Invest commission.

Chapter II – External Peer Review

Paragraph 1: Channels for fundamental research and mobility

Art. 18

§1. For postdoctoral fellowships, Pegasus Marie Curie Fellowships, senior clinical investigators and  fundamental research projects, the applicant will need to attach a list to the application, containing the names of ten experts who possibly might act as external reviewers. In case the response by the invited reviewers does not allow to meet the requirements as stipulated in §2 of the present article, the applicant will be asked to provide another five extra names. In no case shall the applicant be asked to submit more than a total of 15 names of candidate reviewers.

§2. From the aforementioned reviewer list, the FWO-administration will select the reviewers who will be invited to submit an evaluation in writing of the research proposal and the candidate concerned. The aim is to collect at least two evaluations per application.

§3. Reviewers must be affiliated to a university, research institute or research department of another organizational type and must be active at least at a postdoctoral level.

§4.Not eligible as referee are:

- members of the Board of Trustees of the FWO;

- members of an FWO-Expertpanel;

- persons appointed to a Belgian university, research institute or any other organization; or, in the case of calls for proposals in the framework of bilateral or lead agency agreements, persons appointed to similar institutions or organizations in the country where the foreign project partner is professionally active;

-persons with a professional appointment to a foreign institute where the applicant(s) had been enrolled as a student or professional after January 1st of the year n-3 (n=year of application);

- any co-authors with the applicants of a publication that was submitted or published after January 1st of the year n-3 (n=year of application);

'Co-authorship' is to be understood as follows:

- co-authorship of a monography of which the applicant is co-author as well;

- co-autorship of an article or another type of contribution to a collection (book, journal issue, report, congress proceedings, abstract,...) of which the applicant is co-author as well;

Editors are not regarded as co-authors insofar as they have not also acted as what is understood under 'co-author' as described above. Co-editors of the applicant are not accepted as an external referee.

- partners of the applicant(s) in a research cooperation ,whether formalised in a research project or not, that has been applied for or has been running after January 1st of the year n-3 (n=year of application. In this context, the following shall in any case qualify as research cooperation (non-exhaustive list):

  • Cooperation under a research fellowship, granted by the FWO;
  • Cooperation under a research project, whether relating to a specific subject or not or under an international cooperation project, granted by the FWO;
  • Cooperation under the Odysseus programme or the Big Science programme, granted by the FWO;
  • Cooperation under a Scientific Research Network, granted by the FWO;
  • Cooperation under programmes similar to those mentioned above, granted by  organisations other than the FWO;
  • Joint research work not formalised in a cooperation structure as defined above;
  • Research carried out in the research areas and/or with research facilities provided by the applicant to the referee or vice versa;

§5.

1.      The applicants are responsible for the eligibility of the proposed referees.

2.     In the case of one or two violations of the rules on conflicts of interest between an applicant (being the candidate fellow or, in case of projects, the supervisor and/or co-supervisor) and a proposed referee within the same round for applications, a negative remark will be made.

This negative remark will be included in the file of the applicant involved in the conflict of interest, i.e. it will not apply to applicants of the same file that are found not to be involved in a conflict of interest.     

3.      The applicant will then be given the opportunity to remedy the violation by proposing another referee.

 

4.      If a new violation is discovered as part of a subsequent application, it will render the file ineligible upon discovery:

  • for fellowship applications: during the round for fellowship applications following the one during which the violation was discovered;
  • for project applications: during three rounds for project applications following the one during which the violation was discovered.

 

5.      If the rules are violated more than twice, the application is to be declared ineligible.

 

6.     In case the applicant doubts the eligibility of the proposed referee, he or she can contact the FWO through his/her e-portal account before submitting the application. Questions about eligibility that reach the FWO before submission of the application will be presented to the FWO referee commission of the appropriate scientific domain, consisting of all expert panels' chairs of that domain. There are five referee commissions, one for each domain: biological sciences; humanities; social sciences; medical sciences; science&technology; for applications submitted to the Interdisciplinary Panel the referee commissions of the respective scientific domains will be consulted. In case of co-authorship publications involving ten or more authors, the FWO administration will always consult the referee commission. In all the above cases, the referee commission will decide on the alleged eligibility of the proposed referees. 

When the referee commission answers negatively to a question concerning the eligibility of a proposed referee that reached the FWO before submission of the application, the applicant will be asked to propose a new referee that meets the eligibility criteria.

When the referee commission decides negatively on the eligibility of a proposed referee in an application that has already been submitted, this submission will be considered a violation, taking into account the provisions of points 2 to 5 of this paragraph.

 

7.       After the administrative check, the FWO will inform the applicant about the violations that were found. In case the alleged violations result from a factual error of the FWO administration.

§6. The applicants must see to it that any contact information of the reviewers is up-to-date. If this is not the case, then the FWO will take no further steps for tracking down the reviewer(s) in question and the applicants may be asked to submit new names of candidate reviewers, pursuant to the provisions in §1 of the present article.

§7. The applicants and the reviewers may not in any way communicate with each other about any aspect of the application and of the evaluation.

§8. At the time of entry in the application process, the reviewers will need to declare that they comply with the eligibility requirements or reviewers and that they will treat any information contained in the application as confidential and that they will not use any of this information for purposes other than the drawing up of their evaluation.

§9. Primarily, the FWO Executive Committee will see to it that applicants strictly observe the eligibility regulations and other guidelines.

§10. The FWO Working Group on Research Policy will make the final decision on such violations.

Paragraph 2: Channels for Strategic Basic Research and Applied Biomedical Research

Art. 19.

§1. For each SBO project proposal the steering commission shall form an SBO expert panel of (inter)national evaluators. The SBO expert panel is tasked with assessing the SBO project proposals based on the assessment criteria set forth in the SBO decree.

§2. Each SBO expert panel must be composed of at least four members. The panel members shall, independently of each other, provide written feedback on both the scientific part and the valorisation part of the project proposal.

§3. The aim is to ensure that each expert panel includes at least one expert from the field in which the valorisation is to be carried out.

§4. Maximum two-thirds of the total number of members in the SBO expert panels shall be of the same gender.

§5. The provisions of article 18 §4, §7 and §8 concerning the eligibility of reviewers and the confidentiality agreement also apply to the external peer review of SBO project proposals.

Art. 20.

Within the TBM financing channel, the submitted proposals are evaluated by ad hoc expert panels. For any missing expertises, additional experts can be sought.

Paragraph 3: Channels for Research Infrastructure

Art. 21.

§1. The rules and procedure for external reviewers with regard to applications for large-scale research infrastructure by the Science commission are set forth in articles 29 and 30.

§2. The search, nomination and invitation of external reviewers is the responsibility of the secretariat, the aim being to receive at least three reviewer reports. The applicants may themselves put forward up to five names of potential reviewers and three names of experts who they do not wish to be selected as reviewer.

§3. The provisions of article 18 §4, §7 and §8 concerning the eligibility of reviewers and the confidentiality agreement also apply to the external peer review of the Science and Invest commissions.

Chapter III – Code of Conduct of FWO Expert Panels

27/04/2017