Odysseusprogramme

Objective

The Odysseus programme provides outstanding researchers who have built up a career outside Belgium, 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.

With respect to the upcoming 2024 call some changes to the regulations took place. An overview of these changes can be found in this document. At the launch of the 2024 call in April 2024 the Odysseus website will be updated accordingly.

Features

  • Project funding:
    • Odysseus Type I
      • for researchers who are internationally recognized as pioneers in their field;
      • research funding: from 400,000 euro to 700,000 euro per year (2,000,000 euro to 3,500,000 euro for the 5-year period).
    • Odysseus Type II
      • for postdoctoral researchers who have the potential to develop a leading international position; max. 12 years post-doc senority.
      • 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 programme.
  • Call closed - new call opens April 2024
  • Interview phase: End-March 2025.
  • Announcement of results: Beginning of April 2025.
  • Start: Up to 1 year after the granting date (i.e. April 1 2026 latest).
  • Call: Every 2 years.

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 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 an overview of obtained degrees, past and current occupations and 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.

Procedure

  • 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 unique 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 20 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.
  • Ratification: Successful candidates are awarded by the FWO Board of Trustees, acting on the advice of the Odysseus jury.

Regulations and downloads