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From Application to Award

Core principles for selection for FWO funding

The most important criterion on which all applications submitted to the FWO are assessed is scientific excellence.

In addition, the principle for FWO’s funding of research is that the applicants themselves determine the subject of that research (bottom-up principle). It is only calls within the framework of European Partnerships and other thematic calls that must comply with a specific theme.

A third central principle is that applications are assessed in comparison with other applications from the same universities and research institutes. Thus, FWO is always about inter-institutional competition.

Last but not least there is a guarantee of transparency, which we also expect from researchers and partners, and equal opportunities.

Application programmes

There are application programmes for both basic research (FO) and strategic basic research (SBO).

  • Individual researchers: fellowship FR and SB fellowship, postdoc FR, mobility
  • Research teams: projects FR, SBO projects, European projects, International cooperation, brain gain programme Odysseus
  • Research infrastructure
  • Scientific prizes

Submitting an application

All applications to the FWO are done completely digital, via our e-loket. You can complete and edit personal details and application forms up to the call deadline.

Assessment of applications

Applications are always assessed by scientific experts who themselves are conducting world-class research in your domain or discipline (peer review). FWO brings these researchers together on its panels and juries. There is a web fact sheet for each application programme indicating which panel is responsible for which disciplines and is therefore suitable for your application.

In addition to these internal assessors, we usually (but not for applicants and applications of the smaller type) call upon external assessors for each specific application on the basis of their expertise on its subject matter.

Panels and other evaluation bodies work under the guidance of the FWO administration and the supervision of the Board of Directors, which sets the rules and procedures and makes the formal decision to award applications.

Panel evaluation sometimes involves an interview (for applicants for pre- and doctoral fellowships selected for this purpose during pre-selection) or an opportunity for interim reaction to evaluators' findings (rebuttal) before the integral panel takes a final selection decision (for FO and SBO projects).

You can find out more about the various administrative steps and requirements that follow an award on our dedicated web pages.

Selection or rejection and thereafter

Once the formal decision to award or reject an applicant has been made, the applicant is informed as soon as possible. Upon award, an agreement is made between the FWO and the beneficiary regarding the nature and use of the funding. All applicants receive feedback on the assessment, which may enable them further to improve an awarded application if necessary or to consider whether or not to resubmit a rejected application and how to adapt it for resubmission.