Sabbatical bench fee


Are you in need of a period in which you want to focus solely on your research? This is possible via a sabbatical leave during which your host institution exempts you from teaching and administrative duties. The FWO wishes to support such sabbatical leaves via a bench fee that can be used for expenses directly related to research activities performed during your sabbatical leave. Expenses related to your replacement are at the expense of your host institution.


  • Monthly maximum amount of 2,000 EUR to be used during your sabbatical leave for research expenses including research stays at (inter)national organisations such as universities, research institutions, companies, NGOs, governmental organizations, … as long as it concerns (strategic) basic research and/or fieldwork abroad or in Belgium. The sabbatical bench fee cannot be used to pay for your replacement.
  • Consecutive period of minimally 3 – maximally 12 months, not extendable.
  • Submission deadlines: March 1st(5 pm), June 1st (5 pm), September 1st (5 pm) and December 1st (5 pm).
  • Announcement of results: by email respectively in April, July, October, and January.

Profile and conditions

  • You hold at the time of applying for a sabbatical bench fee:
    • a ZAP position (salaried) of at least 80% at a university in the Flemish Community;
    • or an equivalent position with doctorate at the Evangelical Protestant Faculty in Leuven, the Faculty for Protestant Theology in Brussels, the Maritime Academy; the Vlerick Management School, the Antwerp Management School, the Institute of Tropical Medicine.
  • When applying you can present a declaration, signed by the rector (or equivalent) and the relevant head of department, in which the host institution officially approves your sabbatical and undertakes to relieve you from your educational and administrative tasks for the entire period of the sabbatical so as to allow you to focus entirely on scientific research during your sabbatical leave.
  • The sabbatical bench fee:
    • is personal and cannot be transferred;
    • cannot be cumulated with a grant for participation in a conference, workshop/course, or short/long study visit abroad;
    • can per person and per civil year only be allocated one time;
    • can be allocated for maximally 1 year per term of 3 years, to be counted from the start date of the first allocated sabbatical bench fee.
  • You agree with the Research Integrity Clause.


  • You must submit your application for a sabbatical bench fee in English to the head of your host institution in due time.
  • The head of your host institutionforwards this application in English to the FWO at least 3 months before the start of your sabbatical leave taking the abovementioned fixed deadlines (see ‘Features?’ above) into account.
  • Your application is evaluated by the International  Collaboration Committee (CIWC).

Regulations and downloads