FAQ International mobility

WHO CAN APPLY? - ELIGIBILITY

I will not keep my salary during my long stay abroad. Can I submit an application?

Since the funding awarded under this section of travel grants are merely lump sums and additional fees, candidates should keep their salary or scholarship with a minimum appointment of 50% from the Flemish university or scientific institution where they remain affiliated during the entire period of their stay abroad. This requirement is a precondition for the grant.

I am affiliated to a higher education institution, can I apply for an outgoing mobility travel grant?

No, unless you are part of the staff of an academic education at a Flemish School of Arts.

Can a foreign scholarship (i.e. a scholarship at another foreign institution such as, e.g., Fulbright, BAEF, JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship, etc.) or outgoing mobility travel grant be combined with a FWO fellowship?

Yes, a foreign scholarship can be combined with a FWO fellowship, but only when permission from the FWO and the host institution in question has been obtained. You should therefore first contact hr@fwo.be.

If, as an FWO fellowship holder, you wish to apply for an FWO outgoing mobility travel grant (e.g. participation in a conference, short study visit or participation in a course/workshop), you can only do so for participation in a conference, short study visit or participation in a workshop/course outside the EEA, Switzerland or the UK, because you already have a bench fee.

If, for a long stay abroad, you receive, in addition to an FWO travel grant, a full research fellowship or scholarship from another institution (e.g. BAEF, Fulbright, etc.), you must indicate this in your FWO application. The FWO will then allow a monthly top-up of €500 and the FWO allowance will be adjusted accordingly. The scholarship should not exceed the amount of an FWO salary with a long stay allowance (€1,650/month) and a top-up of €500.

Can I, as an FWO fellow, make use of my bench fee during my stay abroad (either or not in combination with a grant for a short study visit outside the EEA, Switzerland or the UK/long stay)?

A FWO fellowship holder with at least a 50% appointment under a FWO fellowship remains entitled to the full bench fee. If less than 50%, no bench fee is payable.

The bench fee can be used abroad in accordance with the regulatory requirements. For specific questions, you should contact the Research Coordination Office of the Flemish main host institution or the relevant department of the university hospital. For questions regarding the grant management of the bench fee, the fellowship holder should contact the Finance department of the main host institution or university hospital. 

APPLICATION PROCEDURE

Additional documents to the application:

  • My travel grant application has already been submitted. How can I add the official proof of approval/letter of invitation to my file?

Once the application has been submitted, you can no longer add this document online to your file. To ensure that the proof of approval/letter of invitation is added to your file, please contact your file administrator via e-mail (see contact details for each discipline).

  • Organization of a scientific conference in Belgium: I intend to respect the 6-month submission deadline, but the conference programme is not available yet. What am I supposed to do?

We advise you to submit an application stating the outlines of the programme and the names of any keynote speakers. You can then later send the detailed programme via your file administrator (see contact details for each discipline).

How many publications are required and what does this entail? (Is “in press” also allowed?)

By “publication” is meant a peer-reviewed publication (included in Web of Science or the VABB-SHW lists). “In press” is considered a full-fledged article, as is “accepted” or “accepted pending revisions” - but NOT: “submitted” or “in preparation”.

For a conference outside one of the member states of the EEA, Switzerland or the UK, there should preferably be 3 such publications; for participation in a conference within the EEA, in Switzerland or in the UK, there should be at least one such publication.

For short study visits, participations in workshops/courses or long stays, a derogation from this requirement may be granted, if duly justified in the section provided for this purpose in the online application form.

Should I be mentioned as first author on the required publication(s) to be eligible for a travel grant?

This is not required, but will be an advantage during the selection.

For participation in a conference abroad, should the publications to be specified be related to the subject of my lecture?

No, the 3 best publications over the last 5 years suffice.

Can travel grant applications be combined? For example, combining an application for participation in a conference and one for short study visit into a single application?

Yes, you can, but in that case interim journeys (e.g. from the location of the conference to the location of the study visit or vice versa) will not be reimbursed. If you want your local travel expenses to be reimbursed, you should submit two separate applications.

Example 1 - Combination conference-short study visit or workshop:

  • 1 application (as short study visit or workshop) -> interim journey will not be paid directly
  • 2 applications (1 for conference + 1 for short study visit or workshop) -> if both awarded, interim journey will be paid, but max. quota of grants for that year will be reached (max. 2 grants/applicant/year in the conference/short study visit/workshop or course category)

Example 2 - Combination conference-long stay:

  • 1 application (as long stay) -> interim journey will not be paid directly
  • 2 applications (1 for conference + 1 for long stay) -> if both awarded, interim journey will be reimbursed, but max. quota for long stay travel grant will be reached (max. 1 grant/applicant/year); conference or short study visit applications can still be submitted in that year

Can a long stay abroad be performed at two different locations? How will the travel expenses be reimbursed?

Yes, a long stay can be performed at different locations, provided, of course, the added value thereof is clearly demonstrated in the application and (strategic) basic research is involved. As regards the reimbursement of travel expenses, only 2 tickets will be reimbursed by the FWO (outward and return journey). Concrete example: stay in Australia and New Zealand -> the flight from Brussels to Australia and the flight from New Zealand to Brussels are reimbursed by the FWO. Other (interim) flights have to be paid out of the fixed daily allowance or at the beneficiary’s own expense.

What if after my long stay abroad has been approved I want to change something to my destination(s)?

For any change to an already approved stay, you must seek prior permission from the FWO (interprog@fwo.be).

Can two connected conferences be mentioned on one application?

Yes, but if awarded, FWO will pay only the first journey (outward journey) and the last journey (return journey). Interim journeys will have to be paid by the beneficiary.

Can I book my tickets with a FWO authorized travel agency before the travel grant has been awarded?

In some cases, most often for conference grants, the researcher may want to book tickets before the FWO has made a decision regarding the travel grant. The FWO is aware of this problem and, in a joint effort with the FWO authorized travel agencies with whom the FWO has an agreement, it has come up with a solution: 

ELIGIBLE COSTS & PAYMENT

The location of the conference/accommodation is far away from the airport: are the transport costs from the airport to the conference/accommodation also reimbursed? And the transport costs from my place of residence to the airport?

Transport costs from your place of residence to an airport/railway station in Belgium will only be reimbursed if public transport was used. Transport costs from an airport/railway station abroad to the location of the conference/accommodation can also be reimbursed. Here, too, the transport should preferably be performed by public transport. For each reimbursement of transport costs the necessary receipts must be sent to FWO.

How is the fixed allowance for a stay abroad or participation in a workshop or course abroad paid out?

The fixed allowance is paid into the beneficiary's account in Belgium.

  • For long stays 80% of the awarded amount is paid in advance. The remaining amount (20% of the awarded amount) is paid as soon as you have sent the expense statement (financial report) to the FWO, no later than three months after your return to Belgium.
  • For short study visits (from 8 days onwards) or participation in a workshop or course abroad (from 8 days onwards), the entire awarded amount is paid in advance.

What expenditure qualifies for a grant for a short study visit (from 8 days onwards)/participation in a workshop or course (from 8 days onwards/long stay abroad?

Financial justification (reporting) needs to be done making use of the appropriate template to be found on the specific webpage of each channel. Expenditure that qualifies for the accommodation grant (eligible costs) can also be found on that form. An original proof of payment should only be included for major expenditure (in excess of €500). All other expenditure can be expressed as a fixed amount per day for daily living costs.

Can I leave for a long stay abroad from another destination than Belgium or return to Belgium from another destination than that of the long stay abroad?

The regulations provide for the reimbursement of transport costs from Brussels to the location of the conference/accommodation and back. A deviation from this rule is possible, but any extra cost thus incurred will have to be borne by the beneficiary.

EXECUTION OF THE AWARDED GRANT

Can I split up my long stay abroad for social reasons?

In principle, the stay abroad should be completed in one uninterrupted period, but for stays longer than six months some flexibility can be allowed for duly justified social or family reasons.

MISCELLANEOUS

Do I have to declare a grant for a short study visit or long stay abroad on my tax declaration?

No, allowances for short study visits or long stays are tax-free personal reimbursements of expenses and do not have to be declared.