The Odysseus programme provides outstanding researchers who have built up a career outside Flanders, a start-up funding in order to develop or to set up a research line during a five-year period a research group within a Flemish university, potentially in collaboration with (an)other Flemish research organisation(s), and become progressively more involved in the Flemish research landscape.

What makes this programme unique is the combination of a position at a Flemish university and sufficient project funding to establish their own research team. This symbiosis forms the ideal starting point to attract high level, international research to Flanders.

In 2020, FWO launches a first call within the reformed Odysseus programma. For more information regarding the key elements and new framework of this reform, see this webpage.

The available budget for this Odysseus call is 21.8 million euro.


  • Project funding:
    • Odysseus Type I
      • for researchers who are internationally recognised as pioneers in their field;
      • research funding: from 400,000 euro to 1,000,000 euro per year (2,000,000 euro to 5,000,000 euro for the 5-year period).
    • Odysseus Type II
      • for postdoctoral researchers who have the potential to develop a leading international position;
      • research funding: from 100,000 euro to 200,000 euro per year (500,000 euro to 1,000,000 euro for the 5-year period).
  • Period: 5 years
  • Financial means: Salary costs for staff, equipment and consumables. Salary costs of the positions that need to be made available to the candidates by the universities, cannot be paid by the funding of the Odysseus programma. Budget for equipment can be requested and used in the first three project years. Budget transfer from staff and consumables towards equipment or visa versa is not allowed. Besides this, the same guidelines apply as for FWO fundamental research projects.
  • Call closed
  • Announcement of results: 25 March 2021
  • Start: up to 1 year after granting date (i.e. March 2022)

Profile and conditions

  • Only the universities in the Flemish Community can, potentially in collaboration with (an)other Flemish research organisation(s), nominate candidates at the FWO.

As an eligible candidate (for Type I as well as for Type II):

  • you shall not have (had) a main appointment at a Belgian university, research institute, organisation or company for more than one year preceding the FWO submission deadline. Please be aware: This is a transitional measure, only applicable in the Odysseus call 2020. From the 1st of January 2022 onwards this rule will change to: as a candidate you shall have a main appointment of minimum 80% at a foreign institution on the date of the FWO deadline.
  • you shall have been affiliated with a foreign institution, with an appointment of minimum 80%, for at least three years in the past five years preceding the FWO submission deadline. During this period abroad, you shall have had an appointment of maximum 10% in Belgium.
  • you are only allowed to submit one application per Odysseus call.
  • you must update your online FWO E-loket profile including a detailed list of publications.

As the university, when nominating a candidate, you should:

  • officially declare in a binding declaration of commitment – signed by both the university (rector) and the relevant department/faculty (head of department/faculty) – to appoint the candidate, if selected for Odysseus funding, for a period of five years. Either by providing a ZAP position (Type I) or either by providing a full-time tenure track fellowship (Type II).
  • strive for a gender balance (= max. 2/3rd of the same gender).
  • approve the research plan.

The candidate as well as the involved university/universities and, if applicable, other involved Flemish research institution(s), are required to agree with the Research Integrity Clause.


  • Carefully read the guidelines for candidates and host institutions.
  • Internal selection: each university establishes an internal procedure for the selection of the candidates that they want to nominate to the FWO.
  • Nomination to FWO: taking into account the FWO-deadline, nominated candidates submit their application through the link received from the Research Coordination Office (DOC). Remark: the entire application should be written in English and should include the above-mentioned declaration of commitment as well as two letters of recommendation.
  • Eligibility check: the FWO performs for each application an eligibility check.
  • International external peer review: each application will be evaluated in writing, in principle by 4 international external referees.
  • Interview phase: In principle, each eligible candidate will be invited to present his/her project to an ad hoc international jury. After the oral presentation, candidates will be interviewed by this Odysseus jury. However, in case of more than 25 eligible candidates of a specific Type, the FWO reserves the right to perform a pre-selection. In this case, the international jury will decide which eligible candidates will be invited for an interview, based on the scientific advice of in principle 4 international external referees. The Odysseus jury for both Type I and II, will take place on the 25th and 26th of February 2021.
  • Ratification: Successful candidates are awarded by the FWO Board of Trustees, acting on the advice of the Odysseus jury.

Regulations and downloads

In case of any further questions regarding the Odysseus programme, mail to Odysseus@fwo.be