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I have an Odysseus project

The Odysseus programme offers start-up funding for a period of five years to outstanding researchers who have built up a career outside Flanders, in order to develop, possibly in collaboration with another or other Flemish research organisations, a research group within a Flemish university or set up a research line.

Information

The Odysseus programme offers start-up funding for a period of five years to outstanding researchers who have built up a career outside Flanders, in order to develop, possibly in collaboration with another or other Flemish research organisations, a research group within a Flemish university or set up a research line.

What makes this programme unique is the combination of a position at a Flemish university and sufficient project funding to establish your own research team. This symbiosis forms the ideal starting point to attract high level, international research to Flanders. Proposals are submitted on the initiative of researchers in all scientific disciplines. This webpage is designed to present all essential practical and administrative information for the benefit of the beneficiaries of an Odysseus project grant.

Contract

The contract is drawn up in accordance with the FWO Odysseus regulations. Upon award of the contract, the supervisor (the appointed Odysseus researcher) receives an email from the FWO with a link to the contract. Via this link they can digitally sign the document, together with the FWO Secretary General. Unlike in recent years, the contract will not be submitted by the Research Coordination department of the main host institution. The FWO regulations Odysseus programme and the FWO general regulations form an integral part of the contract.

The awarded Odysseus grant will not be made available until the researcher has been correctly appointed at the relevant Flemish university. This is ZAP position for Type I Odysseus researchers and a full-time tenure track fellowship for Type II Odysseus researchers. In this respect it is important that the Odysseus researcher, in close consultation with the Flemish university and the relevant department, faculty... determines the start date of the Odysseus project and duly informs the FWO thereof. The costs of the positions to be made available by the universities cannot be paid for under the Odysseus programme. The approved funding can be used throughout the approved project period (typically 5 years). The FWO provides for an additional phase-out period of 3 years. The grant is guaranteed provided that the FWO regulations are complied with at all times.

Reporting

Information concerning FWO’s reporting policy can be found on a dedicated webpage.

Scientific reporting on the supervisor and the Odysseus project

Guidelines for reporting under the Odysseus programme can be consulted here. The report template for evaluation of the Odysseus supervisor can also be found on the website, as well as the report template for evaluation of the Odysseus research project. These guidelines only apply to Odysseus researchers selected from 2021 who fall under the new Odysseus regulations. Odysseus researchers selected under the previous Odysseus regulations will be contacted by their host institution with regard to the reporting procedure.

Financial reporting

In each project year, before March 15th of the following grant year, you must provide to the FWO a financial report on the expenditure of the grant year in question.

The financial report includes a breakdown by expenditure category, posting number, posting date or invoice date and an overall total for the year.

The overall financial report includes the totals per year, per project and per category.

This financial report is signed by the head of the Finance department and a second manager (e.g. head of the research administration) to confirm that the necessary audits have been carried out. They certify the financial report to be "true and accurate".

Completed projects for which no more expenses can be justified are definitively settled on the basis of the submitted financial reports and, if applicable, the project audit by the auditor of the Research Foundation - Flanders.

Deviations from the initial contract

Changes to the Odysseus research project or to the planned expenditure are subject to prior approval by the FWO. Changes between categories of staff that can be hired on a project and between staff and consumables are allowed without permission of the FWO, provided they do not exceed the allocated budget. Purchases under the “equipment” budget category that were not included in the approved proposal are not allowed, except if the purchase involves other equipment within the first three years of the Odysseus project for which a thorough scientific substantiation is provided that is subsequently approved by the expert panel. Shifts between the “staff” and “consumables” budget categories on the one hand and the “equipment” budget category on the other hand are never allowed. You can report this via Odsysseus@fwo.be. Proposals for fundamental changes will first be examined as if they were a new research proposal. If the FWO agrees to the fundamental change, it will be incorporated into the contract. Contracts will not be extended.

Data Management Plan

You are required to prepare a data management plan (DMP) within 6 months after the official start of your Odysseus project. The supervisor (the appointed Odysseus researcher) will submit the DMP to the research coordination department of the main host institution. You do not need to submit it to the FWO.

At the end of the Odysseus project the final version of the DMP must be attached to the final project report via the e-portal of the supervisor. This DMP may of course have been updated since its first version. The DMP is an element in the final evaluation of the project by the relevant expert panel.

There is a standard template (see our DMP webpage) for preparing a DMP. It is used by all institutions and should also be used by you. The final version of the DMP can be created online in the DMP online planning tool and exported via this tool as a PDF file to be attached to the final report.

Ethical questionnaire and approval

In the application form for your Odysseus project you also completed a questionnaire on the ethical aspects. If you answered affirmatively to a question with an asterisk, you are required by law to obtain ethical approval from the competent ethics committee of your main host institution before undertaking the relevant research activities. For other questions institutional obligations may apply and/or you are expected to consider any ethical aspects that could be related to the subject matter, the research approach and/or the consequences of the results, and, where necessary, take appropriate precautions.

Please consult the Guidelines on the FWO’s ethics checklist for help and background information.

The required ethical approval must be obtained before you start working on the associated work package. For project proposals aimed at performing experiments on non-human primates you had to be in possession of an approval by the relevant ethics committee already at the time of evaluation of the proposal by the FWO.

The supervisor (the appointed Odysseus researcher) shall submit the certificates of the ethics committee to the research coordination department of the main appointment, where they are stored and can be retrieved by the FWO if necessary. For details see our research ethics webpage.

Miscellaneous

Acknowledgement of funding source

FWO must be acknowledged as grant giver in publications or other relevant communication about your project (results).

Open access

Holders of an FWO Odysseus research project are required to deposit their publications, realised in whole or in part with FWO resources, in a public “Open Access” database no later than one year after publication. Further information can be found on the website.

Transparent clinical trials

If your project involves a clinical trial, the trial must be registered in a public clinical trial registry (e.g. https://www.clinicaltrials.gov)) prior to the start of the trial (see Article 4 §2 of FWO’s General Regulations). For these purposes, a clinical trial is any research study in which human participants or groups of human participants are prospectively assigned to receive one or more health-related interventions in order to assess the effects on health outcomes.. Clinical trials include interventions such as, but not limited to drugs, cells and other biological products, surgical procedures, radiological procedures, devices, behavioural treatments, changes in care processes, preventive care, etc. This definition includes phase I to phase IV trials.

When the first patient is enrolled, the FWO must be informed (via tbm@fwo.be) of the start date of the trial (first patient in) and the registration number of the clinical trial. The data in the registry must be kept up to date for the duration of the trial and, within one year of the end of the clinical trial (six months for paediatric trials), a full descriptive clinical study protocol and a summary of the trial results must be added to the same registry, regardless of whether the trial results were negative, inconclusive or positive. For more background information, see Research Foundation - Flanders - Research Ethics (fwo.be)/Attention points/1. Transparent clinical trials.

Scientific integrity

Beneficiaries of FWO funds undertake to ensure the scientific integrity of the research practice and outcomes. Research Foundation - Flanders - Scientific integrity (fwo.be)

Vacancies

Vacancies linked to research projects can be posted via the FWO website. You can forward the vacancy notice to the FWO via communicatie@fwo.be. Additionally, it may be useful to publish such notices via the Euraxess website of the European Commission: http://ec.europa.eu/euraxess/.

If your Odysseus project includes a clinical trial, the trial must be registered in a public clinical database (e.g. https://www.clinicaltrials.gov)) before the start of the trial (see Article 4(2) of the FWO General Regulations). You must include the registration number of the clinical trial in your final report. The complete descriptive protocol and the summary results must be published within 12 months of completion of the research, via the same database, regardless of whether the results were negative, unconvincing or positive.

Contact

For questions regarding the Odysseus programme you can always contact us at Odysseus@fwo.be. Please make sure to always state the project number.

Reservation concerning applicable regulations

In the event of any discrepancy between the different information sources, the Dutch versions of the regulations shall always be binding.