Medium-scale research infrastructure

Objective

Research infrastructure comprises all facilities and sources that promote the performance of cross-border and strategic basic research across all scientific disciplines. Besides scientific infrastructure, this includes collections, natural habitats, corpora and databases (including digital opening up).

Medium scale research infrastructure is defined as research infrastructure with a total subsidy cost excl. co-funding of at least EUR 150,000 and at most EUR 1,000,000 (including VAT).

Features

  • Project period: 4 years, renewable with maximum two years
  • Eligible organizations: research groups from Flemish universities.  Applications for medium scale research infrastructure are made within each university
  • Acceptable costs:
    • Equipment: Costs for research investments, i.e. the costs of purchasing and connecting the research infrastructure or purchasing the components for the construction of the planned research infrastructure, including the non-refundable portion of VAT. This also includes the upgrading, i.e. the substantial improvement of existing research infrastructure;
    • Personnel costs for the development and construction of the research infrastructure. This also includes the personnel costs for upgrading the research infrastructure and the costs for the operational or maintenance personnel once the infrastructure is up and running;
    • Operational costs consisting of maintenance costs over the entire depreciation period, i.e. the costs arising from maintenance agreements or research infrastructure upgrades and equipment repairs.
  • Funding percentage: 100%
  • Call open: from March 15, 2023
  • Submission of applications through the FWO e-portal
  • Pre-announcement: deadline June 30, 2023 (only tabs ‘general’, ‘host institution (without funding)’, ‘peer review’ and ‘consent’)
  • Deadline transfer of the proposal in preparation from project supervisor to the ‘host institution of the supervisor’ (=main applicant): September 11, 2023 (internal deadline)
  • Deadline submission final project proposal by the main applicant: September 18, 2023 at 5 PM
  • Announcement of results: April 2024

Procedure

  • Each university incorporates a regulation on medium scale research infrastructure and establishes an internal selection procedure.
  • As supervisor of the infrastructure project, you prepare your proposal via the FWO e-portal and transfer your proposal in preparation to your host institution (= main applicant of the proposal ). The internal deadline is set on September 11, 2023. Please contact the research coordination office of your research institution for practicalities.
  • Your host institution submits your proposal to FWO via the e-portal by September 18, 2023 at 5 PM. Application dossiers must clearly indicate whether
    • there is cooperation with (an)other university(ies) or with third parties;
    • such cooperation with (an)other university(ies) or with third parties will be developed further.
  • Between September 19, 2023 and October 22, 2023the universities consult each other with a view to achieving maximum cooperation;
  • The applications are assessed within each university in accordance with the provisions of the internal rules on medium scale research infrastructure of each university. In the process applications are reviewed by min. two international peer reviews .
  • Each university draws up an indicative list of applications proposed for subsidies and transfers this indicative list to the FWO before March 29, 2024.
  • For each university, the FWO assesses the indicative lists taking into account the selection criteria of each university, as well as the results of the inter-university consultations;
  • The FWO board of trustees makes a final decision on the financing to be allocated in during its meeting in April 2024.

New

From call 2023, new regulations will apply with the aim of promoting cooperation in the use of the research infrastructure and creating more transparency in the evaluation process by adding an assessment by at least 2 international experts. The main changes to the regulations concern:

  • A pre-announcement will be introduced with a deadline of 30 June 2023. Only information about the title of the application, consortium composition, (main) host institutions, supervisors, keywords, suggestions for referees and forbidden referees will then be submitted.
  • The subsidy amount excluding co-financing (and not the total financing cost) is the limit amount between medium and large scale research infrastructure.
  • The applications are assessed by a minimum of two international experts on the basis of a uniform template for all institutions
  • Shifts between personnel and operational costs are possible and must be reported in the scientific report. The equipment grants can only be transferred to personnel or operational costs, subject to a motivated request addressed to FWO. However, in the event of approval, the payment terms as included in the grant agreement will not change.
  • The supervisors must submit a scientific report to the host institution. The host institution evaluates the reports and reports on this to FWO.
  • The performance of specific sub-tasks can also be outsourced to subcontractors, provided this has been included in the application. The subcontractors do not receive direct funding from FWO. The cumulative contribution from subcontractors is a maximum of 20 percent of the total operating costs. A higher share is only possible on condition that this is thoroughly justified in the application.

Regulations and downloads

Contact

General questions on the call for medium-scale research infrastructure or specific questions related to submitting an application for this call, can be obtained from the universities’ contact person.

Any additional information can be obtained from the secretariat of the Research Foundation - Flanders, Leuvenseweg 38, 1000 BRUSSELS, tel 02 512 512.91 10 or infrastructuur@fwo.be.

Questions regarding the functionality of the e-portal should be addressed to fwohelpdesk@fwo.be.

Contact persons within the universities: