Regulations for Senior Clinical Investigator (new version 26/06/2019)

Art. 1.

Candidates must submit a detailed scientific research programme for the five-year period for which the fellowship is requested.

* French nomenclature: Maître de Recherches Cliniques du Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique  -Flandre (Belgique) (FWO).

Dutch nomenclature: Fundamenteel Klinisch Mandaat van het Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek - Vlaanderen (België) (FWO).

Art. 2.

Candidates must be a medical specialist, general practitioner or pharmacist specialist and hold a PhD by thesis (*). In addition, as of 1 October, at the start of the fellowship, they must be recognised in Belgium as a medical specialist, general practitioner or recognised by the Ministry of Public Health as a pharmacist specialist in clinical biology. At the start of the fellowship, they must have obtained their PhD degree no longer than 20 years ago.

* The thesis defence must have taken place no later than 1 June preceding the fellowship.

Art. 3.

As of the start of the fellowship (1 October), candidates must have an open-ended employment contract at a university hospital affiliated to a university in the Flemish Community, where they perform an exclusively clinical role for at least 80% of the time. Candidates recognised as general practitioner must, from the start of the contract and until the end of the fellowship, be appointed at a Flemish university department of general practitioner medicine and at the same time perform a clinical role in general practitioner medicine for the remaining percentage.

Art. 4.

Senior clinical investigators must submit a report on their scientific research to the FWO at mid-term (2.5 years into the project) and at the end of their fellowship. 

If renewal is requested for the next 5-year period (see article 5), the final report shall be part of the renewal request. In this case, the report will cover a period of approx. 4.5 years instead of the full 5-year period. This final report will also enter into the evaluation for the granting of the renewal application.

Art. 5.

The fellowship begins on October 1 and lasts 5 years. It can be extended twice by 5 years each, subject to a positive evaluation by the expert panel.

Beneficiaries must choose one of the following options:  (i) a part-time research position that cannot be delegated, or (ii) a research position for 20% of a normal working week together with the appointment of a scientific and/or technical assistant (e.g. a full-time PhD student or a part-time postdoc or a technician; this profile is flexible depending on the needs). Accumulation with a ZAP mandate of 50% or more is excluded.

The Senior Clinical Investigator fellowship can as a rule not be accumulated with a leading position within the management or administrative bodies of the university or university hospital.  Fellows can, however, at any time apply for an exception by submitting a well-founded request.

Art. 6.

Fellowship grant:

  • If the candidate opts for the part-time research position (option 1 in article 5), it is intended to replace 50% of the candidate’s clinical duties, with a maximum of EUR 60,000 per year.
  • If, in exceptional cases, the candidate makes a reasoned choice for the 20% research position, supplemented with a scientific/technical assistant (option 2 in article 5), it is intended as the sum of (i) the amount needed to appoint a scientific/technical assistant and (ii) the amount intended for the 20% replacement of the candidate’s clinical duties.  In this option, too, the maximum amount is limited to EUR 60,000 per year.

This sum is paid to the university hospital (or university in the case of a general practitioner) after the university has submitted

  • a detailed salary slip of the fellow (and in option 2 also of the PhD or postdoc concerned as they appear on the payroll of the university or hospital)  
  • a declaration (signed by the fellow, the director of the university hospital concerned and the head of the department concerned) that the fellow has been relieved from his/her clinical duties so as to enable him/her to conduct research for the senior clinical investigator fellowship. This declaration must also specify the name of the replacement for the clinical duties.

The maximum amount of EUR 60,000/year paid to the institution by the FWO   must be spent exclusively on a clinical replacement.

In addition to the EUR 60,000 per year, during the first term of the senior clinical investigator fellowship, an amount of maximum EUR 100,000 (covering the full 5-year period) or EUR 20,000 per year will be paid for as compensation for other costs (operation, equipment, etc.) associated with the fellowship. The regulations for the bench fee of FWO fellows are applicable (https://www.fwo.be/nl/mandaten-financiering/reglement-voor-de-werkingstoelage-van-de-fwo-mandaathouders/).

Art. 7.

Applications must be accompanied by a certificate from the CEO of the university hospital concerned, the head of the department concerned, and from the dean of the faculty concerned, stating that, if the fellowship is awarded, the candidate will be relieved part-time (or exceptionally 20%) from his/her current duties so as to enable him/her to pursue translational clinical research (this article does not apply if the candidate is a general practitioner).

Art. 8.

Applications must also be accompanied by a written guarantee from the university hospital and/or faculty of medicine stating that the candidate will, upon completion of the fellowship, be re-employed full time in his/her original position. (This article does not apply if the candidate is a general practitioner). The application for the last renewal (start of third fellowship) must also contain a description of the future planning for the developed research line(s) and for the researcher concerned after the last SCI term has come to an end.

Art. 9.

Applications and reports must be submitted to the FWO in English, using the online forms "Senior Clinical Investigator". The forms must be submitted no later than the submission date and time stated in the call.