Reform Odysseusprogramme

The Odysseus programme has been reformed in 2019-2020.

In the light of this, we would like to inform you about the key elements of this reform. Please also consult the new Odysseus regulations.

1. Selection based on excellence:

Funding under the Odysseus programme are allocated based on the principle of excellence. In practice, this means that the highest ranked Odysseus projects within the available Odysseus budget will be proposed for support and that the BOF key will no longer be used.

2. Frequency of Odysseus calls

Odysseus calls are launched every two years.

3. Budget bracket TYPE I

The budget conditions for TYPE I Odysseus projects has changed:

The support offered ranges from €400,000 to €1,000,000 per year (€2,000,000 to €5,000,000 for the 5-year period).

The budget conditions for TYPE II remains unchanged.

4. Eligibility of researchers:

The eligibility window has changed. There is, however, a transition period and the following rule will be applied for the next call (2020):

Only the universities in the Flemish Community can, possibly in cooperation with other Flemish research organisations, nominate candidates to the FWO.

Both Type I and Type II candidates:

  • 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;
  • 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, the candidate shall have had an appointment of maximum 10% in Belgium.

For calls from January 2022 the following rule will apply:

Both Type I and Type II candidates:

  • shall have a main appointment (appointment of minimum 80%) at a foreign institution on the date of the application (FWO deadline);
  • 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, the candidate shall have had an appointment of maximum 10% in Belgium.

5. Declaration of commitment by host institution

In the Odysseus programme, the FWO is responsible for providing research funds via an Odysseus research project and the universities are responsible for appointing the candidate, i.e. a ZAP position or a fulltime tenure track fellowship for Type I or Type II respectively. This symbiosis makes the Odysseus programme a particularly strong and attractive proposal, because it offers the hosted researcher a perspective of his/her future within Flanders and also provides him/her with necessary funding to conduct the research together with his/her research group. To ensure the commitment of the university, starting from the next call, the candidate’s nomination must be supported by a binding letter of commitment signed by both the university (rector) and the relevant department/Faculty (head of department/Faculty), in which they state that the nominated candidate, if selected for funding, will effectively be able to take up a fellowship, i.e. a ZAP position for Type I or a tenure track fellowship with advancement opportunity for Type II. Applications for Odysseus projects that are submitted to the FWO without such binding letter of commitment will not be eligible. For the nomination by the universities, a gender balance shall be strived for, meaning that maximum two-thirds of the nominated candidates must be of the same gender.

In case you have any further questions concerning the Odysseus programme, see the Odysseus webpage or mail to Odysseus@fwo.be.