Bilateral research cooperation China


The FWO is keen on promoting international collaboration as a driving force for excellence. That is why the FWO signs bilateral agreements with a number of countries for the funding of joint research projects. These projects go further than the traditional exchange projects, because personnel and consumables can also be financed.

One of the selected countries is China. In November 2017, the FWO has signed an agreement with the ‘National Natural Science Foundation of China’ (NSFC) on the funding of new research projects. For the 2018 call the cooperation is limited to all fields of natural sciences, engineering sciences, management sciences and medical sciences in the following themes (linked to the ‘NSFC scientific departments’):

  • Mathematical & physical sciences
  • Chemical sciences
  • Life sciences
  • Earth sciences
  • Engineering & material sciences
  • Information sciences
  • Management sciences
  • Health sciences


  • Joint research project with Chinese partner(s)
  • Duration of the project: 3 years
  • Personnel costs and consumables applied for at FWO:  minimally € 45,000 and maximally € 75,000 per year per project
  • Additional equipment/matching funding applied for at FWO: maximally € 150,000
  • Call closed
  • Announcement of results: November-December 2018
  • Start of project: 1 January 2019

Profile and conditions

  • The collaboration with partners from China will have an added value for your research.
  • As a team of researchers you need funding for consumables, equipment and staff.
  • Your research will be carried out under the supervision of an applicable Flemish host institution (see article 3 regulations research project).
  • Your research project will be carried out under the direction of a supervisor, possibly in collaboration with one or more co-supervisors (see article 9 regulations research project).
  • In the framework of this call with NSFC, you can only act once as a principle investigator (supervisor) or co-investigator (co-supervisor).
  • All material acquired thanks to an operation or equipment grant from the FWO, shall become property of the host institution.
  • The host institution is employer of the staff remunerated in research projects.
  • No remuneration or accumulation of a remuneration is allowed for (co-)supervisors in connection with a research project.
  • Applications in the framework of this cooperation are not part of the regular project competition and:
    • do not count toward the calculation of the maximum number of projects per application round for which you may act as (co-)supervisor;
    • are not taken into account for the maximum of two projects applied for and ongoing on the start date of the newly allocated project;
    • supervisor-spokesmen, who were awarded a project, do not need to skip an application round before being able to submit an application.
  • You agree with the Research Integrity Clause.


  • Your joint application is submitted simultaneously at FWO (by using the online application form in the FWO e-portal) and at NSFC, according to their respective modalities.
  • Each supervisor and co-supervisor of both the Flemish and Chinese research team must have an online profile including an updated list of publications on the FWO E-portal.
  • You propose 10 external referees in your application (in order to see who is eligible, please consult the regulations). Please be aware that the proposed international referees cannot be appointed to a Belgian university, research institute or other organization. Moreover, the proposed international referees cannot be appointed to similar institutions and organizations in China. Please note that there also cannot be a Conflict of Interest (CoI) with the Chinese partner(s).
  • Your application is presented to a number of these referees for evaluation.
  • A joint selection committee comprising of experts designated by FWO and NSFC makes a final ranking.
  • The selection committee reports to the Board of Trustees of FWO and NSFC. The Board of Trustees makes a decision on your award.
  • Afterwards you will receive feedback on this decision.

Regulations and downloads