Big Science projects


The Big Science programme supports research projects at major international research facilities, the membership for which is paid for by the Belgian Federal or Flemish government.  This enables Flemish researchers to carry out fundamental research at major research infrastructures that transcend the national level.

These facilities serve a highly international user community and are a unique meeting point for researchers. This often leads to international collaborations and also contributes to the education of young researchers. Access to top-level scientific equipment is not only a catalyst for scientific research in Flanders, but also has a considerable impact on the business community.


  • Costs that can be charged to the Big Science project:
    • fixed costs (e.g. 'right to compete' contributions, MoU, accommodation for researchers...) and commitments entered into under international collaboration agreements as a precondition for participation. 
    • logistic costs (personnel, bench fee and equipment) associated with the execution of the Big Science project. 
  • Costs that cannot be charged to the Big Science project:Expenses incurred for the actual research.  These must be submitted as a regular FWO research project.  

Profile and conditions

  • Your research will be carried out under the supervision of a university in the Flemish Community or at officially registered higher education institutions that can award a PhD degree.
  • Your research project will be carried out under the direction of a supervisor, possibly in collaboration with one or more co-supervisors.
  • Per host institution, at least the supervisor or one co-supervisor shall hold an appointment that fully covers the duration of the research project applied for.
  • You agree with the Research Integrity Clause


  • A special international Big Science jury evaluates the applications. 
  • This jury:
    • selects the Big Science programme projects and submits funding proposals upon favourable advice of the universities concerned; 
    • ensures the follow-up and evaluation of the Flemish participation in major international research infrastructures;
    • gives advice in consultation with university research coordinators on memberships/participations in major international research infrastructures. 
  • The Board of Trustees decides on the appointment.

Regulations and downloads