Bilateral research cooperation Russia

Discontinuation partnership Russian Science Foundation

The Board of Trustees of the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO) strongly condemns any forms of aggression against independent states, such as Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, and deplores the inhuman suffering caused, including its impact on the affected academic communities. It is a direct attack on fundamental European values that are also important to the FWO. It is a severe violation not only of an independent state’s sovereign integrity and of the right to self-determination of its democratic society, but also of basic human rights. Against this backdrop, the FWO has decided to discontinue its partnership with the Russian Science Foundation (RSF) and to no longer launch calls for joint Russian-Flemish research projects for as long as it deems necessary. In the current context, the FWO will also stop funding Russian and Belarussian research. In practice this means that it is no longer possible to apply for research funding for Russian or Belarussian partner institutions through the various FWO funding channels, and that ongoing partnerships with institutions that support the Russian aggression against Ukraine are discontinued.

Science knows no colour, no nationality, no creed, no gender, and serves only to acquire knowledge that contributes to a better, healthier, more sustainable, freer and more peaceful society. However, scientific cooperation can only take place with respect for generally accepted core values. The FWO will therefore continue to support all international research partnerships on the strict condition that they respect the freedoms and rights that are necessary to create a favourable climate for scientific excellence.


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 Russia. In May 2018 the FWO has signed an agreement with the Russian Science Foundation (RSF) on the funding of new research projects in fundamental research in all scientific domains.

In contrast to the regular research projects fundamental research no distinction is made between junior and senior research projects. In addition, it is not possible to use 10% of the budget requested at FWO for non-Flemish universities.


  • Joint research project with Russian partner(s). It must be an integrated research proposal with one central problem, methodology and elaboration.
  • Fundamental research in all scientific domains
  • 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 per project

Profile and conditions


  • Read the guidelines for applicant carefully (see underneath ‘Downloads).
  • Your joint application is submitted simultaneously at FWO (by using the online application form in the FWO E-portal) and at RSF, according to their respective modalities. Be aware that besides the application, a signed Letter of Acknowledgement also needs to be submitted at RSF (see ‘Downloads’).
  • Each supervisor and co-supervisor of both the Flemish and Russian research team must have an online profile including an updated list of publications on the FWO E-portal.
  • The applications are assessed for eligibility: the FWO and RSF check whether the application meets the formal requirements of the respective agency.
  • Each project will be evaluated separately by FWO and RSF. At FWO the evaluation procedures is as follows:
    • You propose 10 external referees in your application (for more info see FWO-RSF guide for applicants or online application form). 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 Russia. Please note that there also cannot be a Conflict of Interest (CoI) with the Russian partner(s).
    • Your application is presented to a number of these referees for evaluation.
    • An ad hoc FWO interdisciplinary panel evaluates all applications.
  • FWO and RSF compare the outcome of their respective evaluation procedures. Only applications that are evaluated as excellent on both sides, qualify for funding.
  • The FWO and RSF board of trustees ratify the funding decision.
  • Afterwards you will receive feedback on this decision.

Regulations and downloads