TBM (Applied Biomedical Research with a Primary Social finality) projects


In the long term, the TBM programme aims at contributing to the implementation of (new) therapies, diagnostic techniques and preventive methods, which, without government funding, would not make it to the patient due to a lack of industrial interest.


  • Eligible organisations: research centres (e.g. universities, university hospitals, university colleges (‘hogescholen’) and strategic research centres)
    • 20% of the budget can be earmarked for non-Flemish research centres
    • at least 10% of the budget should be earmarked for applicants that are a Flemish hospital or ITM (because of the clinical finality)
  • Start of project: October 1, 2021
  • Project period: 2 to 4 years
  • Acceptable costs:
    • staffing, operation, equipment, subcontracting contracts (in accordance with cost model rules)
    • max. 850,000 euro (for large or multicentric trials, exceptionally budgets up to 1,275,000 euro are allowed)
    • min. 215,000 euro
  • Funding percentage: 100%
  • Available budget for the current call: 11,806,695 euro (including overhead)
  • Call open: from December 1, 2020
  • Submission of project proposals via the FWO e-portal
  • Deadline project transfer from project supervisor to the ‘host institution of the supervisor’ (=main applicant): March 4, 2021 at 5 PM
  • Deadline of submission by the institution of the main applicant to the FWO: March 18, 2021 at 5 PM
  • Announcement of results: 1 July 2021
  • Success rate 2020: 22.9%

Profile and conditions

  • Your project satisfies each of the following 4 conditions:
  1. It is aimed at the development of a new therapy, diagnosis and/or specific prevention of a particular human disease/medical issue or a comparison of existing therapies, diagnostics or preventive methods in order to find out their relative efficacy and cost-effectiveness.
  2. It is directed at research that is positioned late in the path from discovery to a specific application (i.e. there is a clinically relevant proof-of-concept) and aims at translating and developing scientific findings into clinical applications rather than creating new knowledge from scratch. On the other hand, it is not positioned too late in the path from discovery to application: it does not consist of implementation activities that no longer require any research.
  3. It offers a clear applicability with an added value for the Flemish health situation, including at least a positive medical impact for a particular group of patients or a cost reduction for the Flemish healthcare system.
  4. At the time of submitting the application (or in the near future), the industry is not interested in your project for commercial reasons.
  • For the execution of the project, you need bench fees, equipment and personnel grants.
  • The organisation(s) to which you belong, is a (are) research centre(s).
  • The project executors are the owners of their own results.

Important changes compared to the previous call

  • The project budget must be prepared according to the new cost model. While overhead costs were included in the previous model, overhead costs no longer are to be included in the project budget. The maximum requested budget is € 850,000 (excluding overhead) or exceptionally € 1,275,000 (excl. overhead) for large or multicentric clinical trials.


  • If you have doubts as to whether your idea may or may not fit within the TBM programme objectives, you can obtain FWO’s opinion by providing a short abstract (1-2 pages; see template under Regulation and downloads), sent via e-mail to tbm@fwo.be. It is also possible to request an oral preliminary discussion at FWO; please attach a short abstract, as well as any questions that you would like to see answered.
  • As supervisor of the project, you prepare your proposal via your personal FWO e-portal and submit your (complete) proposal to your host institution (=main applicant of the proposal) by March 4, 2021 at 5 PM.
  • Your host institution submits your proposal to FWO via the e-portal by March 18, 2021 at 5 PM.
  • Your proposal is reviewed by a number of (inter)national experts who will discuss and evaluate your proposal during a panel meeting at FWO. During the expert panel meeting you have the opportunity to briefly interact with the experts (to provide answers to the most crucial questions of the experts). The panel meetings will probably take place on one of the following dates: June 8, June 10, June 14, June 15, 2020. You will be informed about the exact date and the modalities of your panel meeting as soon as possible.
  • The expert panels report to the board of trustees of FWO.
  • The board of trustees decides on granting support.
  • Subsequently, you will receive feedback on the decision.

Regulations and downloads


For questions with regard to the modalities of the TBM programme, please contact tbm@fwo.be. Questions regarding the functionality of the e-portal, should be addressed to fwohelpdesk@fwo.be.