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Sustainable travel policy

Internationalisation as common thread throughout FWO

The FWO focusses on the internationalisation of scientific research by offering researchers in Flanders in all career stages opportunities to collaborate internationally and to gain experience abroad. This international dimension is a common thread throughout the FWO as a driving force for maintaining and reinforcing the competitiveness of Flemish research on a global scale. 

However, international mobility of researchers also has a downside in that it undoubtedly affects climate change. Given the fact that FWO annually funds a great amount of travels within the framework of scientific research, it wishes to actively contribute to awareness-raising on this issue. Therefore, as from the 1st of January 2020, the FWO will implement in all its funding channels a sustainable travel policy that aims to contribute to the climate objectives, without creating extra barriers for the researchers themselves. 

The FWO raises awareness

The FWO focusses on raising awareness on the CO2 issue by putting its sustainable travel policy at the forefront in all its funding channels. The following general guideline applies: for all travels with a travel time of less than 6 hours – counted from the working address of the researcher – the researcher is invited to use a technological alternative (e.g. videoconferencing) or a mode of transport other than air travel. For travelling in a sustainable way within the FWO-channels, the FWO offers researchers a visual roadmap to plan their travel, as well as an accessible city map to help them make an estimation of the travel time.  

The FWO recognises CO2 contribution as an eligible cost within FWO projects and fellowships

As from the 1st of January 2020, expenses for a CO2 contribution in connection with science-related travel by plane within the framework of FWO projects and fellowships, will be an eligible cost at FWO. 

Since there is as yet no worldwide standard for calculating the CO2 contribution, each researcher is required to comply with the current guidelines of his/her host institution. The host institutions report on an annual basis to the FWO on the total cost for the CO2 contribution incurred by their researchers (within the framework of an FWO project or fellowship) and on how they re-invested this cost. 

The FWO invests in a scientific climate prize for CO2-contribution on FWO-travel grants

Within the channels of ‘Outgoing mobility’ (travel grants), and ‘mobility projects’, flight or train tickets can only be booked through a travel agency authorized by the FWO. Bookings through another travel agency and any extra costs will not be reimbursed by the FWO.

Based on an overview of the total amount of air miles per year (provided by the travel agencies), the FWO calculates the total CO2 emission and corresponding cost for the CO2 contribution. The FWO invests this COcontribution in a prize for climate research that will be scientifically assessed. 

In the framework of an FWO travel grant the researcher cannot book any CO2 contribution him/herself.