Researchers and Corona: update measures FWO

Researchers and Corona: update measures FWO

Following the measures taken by Belgium and many other countries to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the FWO is also making a number of adjustments. In addition, the FWO also allocated in 2020 5 million euros to COVID-19 research:

Further, the FWO has taken a number of measures to compensate some consequences researchers in a FWO project or fellowship have encountered since Corona.

Execution ongoing fellowships

Researchers who experience delays and/or other issues in the execution of their fundamental research, strategic basic research and/or TBM project due to the situation caused by the coronavirus, are offered the option, as provided for in the regulations, to continue to use their budget for both staff and consumables for a period of up to two years after the formal end date of the project, in order to finalise their research.

As concerns the EOS research projects, in light of the current COVID-19 situation, F.R.S.-FNRS and FWO jointly decided that the budget for both consumables and staff can be used for up to two years after the formal end date of the project, in order to finalise the research. This 2-year period replaces the 1-year period as stipulated in Art. 20 §3. The limits of the originally allocated budgets must obviously be respected at all times. The scheduled end date of the EOS research projects remains unchanged (i.e. 31 December 2021).

In the reports on their projects, researchers can indicate the delays and problems they experienced due to the coronavirus situation. The FWO will explicitly ask the expert panels responsible for assessment of the reports, to take these extraordinary circumstances into account.

Projects under European Programmes

For certain calls with FWO involvement, in the framework of the European Programmes (ERA-NET, EJP, JPI), measures will be taken that allow researchers to complete research proposals by extending the submission deadline. These predominantly European, multilateral cooperation agreements are severely impacted by the recent events, also due to the multitude of partners and countries/regions involved, all of which are facing organisational problems.

However, this does not imply that the submission deadlines for all calls are systematically extended. Possible extensions will be considered for each network and for each call in consultation with all national/regional funders involved. The FWO will inform the central coordination units of the Flemish knowledge institutions of any extensions and will also update the FWO website when it publishes the announcements of the calls. Obviously, the information on the websites and in the communication (channels) of the specific networks involved will be updated as well.

FWO PhD Fellowships

To PhD fellows

Activity reports

In the reports on their fellowships, researchers can indicate the delays and problems they experienced due to the coronavirus situation. The FWO will explicitly ask the expert panels responsible for assessment of the reports, to take these extraordinary circumstances into account.

Postdoctoral fellowships

To postdoc fellows

Activity reports

In the reports on their fellowships, researchers can indicate the delays and problems they experienced due to the coronavirus situation. The FWO will explicitly ask the expert panels responsible for assessment of the reports, to take these extraordinary circumstances into account

Schematic overview of measures related to international mobility

Independent of the situation regarding COVID-19, all outbound travel paid for with FWO funds is only allowed if positive travel advice is given by the employer (research institution to which you are affiliated as a researcher). You are required to comply with the applicable guidelines and procedures of the institution concerned. 

If you wish to reschedule your departure, because of contamination or because of the situation at the destination, and have not yet booked a ticket with one of the licensed travel agencies (Omnia or Uniglobe South West Travel), you can still use the grant at a later date if the destination has a positive travel advice from your host institution. For this purpose, contact the responsible advisory body of your university. Please also advise the FWO of your rescheduled departure.

If you already booked a ticket with one of the licensed travel agencies and you wish to cancel it, you must contact the relevant travel agency (Omnia or Uniglobe South West Travel) to cancel or reschedule your flight. If your flight cannot be rebooked free of charge or if the associated additional expenses cannot be recovered from the licensed travel agency, you must submit a claim to AIG. The FWO has taken out assistance insurance with AIG for its grant recipients. Please note: AIG will only reimburse the expenses if the trip was cancelled for reasons beyond your control. The policy number to be specified in your claim is 9.500.573. After submitting the claim, AIG will send you a form that you must complete and return yourself. If FWO paid the travel expenses directly to the licensed travel agency, you must specify FWO as beneficiary in the claim. If AIG accepts the claim, you will be allowed to use the FWO grant later on, under the following conditions: (1) FWO has received the reimbursed travel expenses, (2) for participation in conferences or workshops: the same conference/workshop is rescheduled to take place at another date (3) for short and long stays abroad: the scientific goal(s) and the host institution as described in the initially approved application, are still feasible/applicable. If AIG does not accept the claim, the travel grant is no longer valid.