Newsletter October 2018

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October marks the beginning of the new academic year at our Flemish universities and the official start for the new FWO fellows. For PhD fellows, it means the start of an exciting and instructional journey leading up to obtaining a PhD. Postdoctoral fellows, who are already familiar with the ins and outs, will have the opportunity to fully invest themselves in their research for the next three years, thereby expanding the boundaries of our present-day knowledge in numerous areas and disciplines.


For a number of fellows, October also brings a fresh perspective to the wondrous exploration of boundaries. In the past few months, they either obtained their PhD or completed their postdoctoral fellowship, and now they are looking for new horizons. These may be within academia in Belgium or abroad, but FWO fellows equally end up in industry, the government, or the non-profit sector. This is to be applauded because our present-day knowledge society needs highly educated profiles in all sectors and areas of the social fabric. The fact that FWO fellows are successful in the business world is of vital importance for the overall perception of the significance of research. If you are or know such a person, we'd love to hear from you. Words move people, examples compel them.


The increasingly complex challenges facing our society call for well-considered and innovative solutions, and this is just what FWO fellows are perfectly equipped for. 


The new Policy Plan, which we will officially present in mid-December on Kennismakers, provides for the creation of additional facilities by the FWO to further promote interaction between FWO fellows and other, non-academic sectors.


By October, the Flemish Government will also have delivered its September Declaration and we will have more clarity on next year's budget. On this subject the FWO has some great news. As of 2019, the FWO will annually receive additional funding in the amount of €40 million to be allocated to the fundamental channels managed by the FWO.


In addition, additional investment resources will be made available for the infrastructure projects supported by the FWO. This, together with the additional resources for the Special Research Fund (BOF) of the universities, means that fundamental research will receive a structural injection in the amount of €75 million per year. As a result, the FWO has high hopes of further improving the success rate of the projects and also of being able to finance bigger projects than is the case today. 


Finally, October is also the month in which the reforms of the evaluation procedure for the FWO fellowships and fundamental projects enter into force. The first call for junior and senior postdoctoral fellowships is now online. In the past months, we have worked hard behind the scenes on drafting new regulations, processes and procedures, and programming new IT tools and forms. The FWO is pleased to announce that the work is proceeding fully in line with the anticipated timeline, so that the other reworked calls will also follow in the next few months as planned.


As you can see, a thrilling few months lay ahead for the FWO. We will be happy to tell you more about all this and about the FWO's plans for the future, at our big science event that will be organised to celebrate the FWO's 90th anniversary. I am therefore very much looking forward to welcoming you all at Kennismakers in Antwerp on December 14th! It promises to be a truly fascinating event!

In the spotlight

Come and join us at De Nachten van de Wetenschap and let your voice be heard!

During De Nachten van de Wetenschap (The Nights of Science), we bring together citizens, scientists and organisations. Each night is devoted to a particular topic, ranging from mobility, health, evolution and migration, to the environment. Based on the 10,000 questions collected during the Vraag voor de Wetenschap campaign, we will investigate why certain questions are so important and how we can jointly provide answers.  Let your voice be heard and participate in De Nachten van de Wetenschap, between 15 and 25 October in Leuven, Ghent, Kortrijk, Antwerp, Hasselt, from 19:00 to 22:00. Participation is free. Details and registration:

FWO, for 90 years the perfect habitat for Knowledge Makers

The FWO can blow out 90 birthday candles this year. This is why we invite you to attend the biggest scientific conference in Belgium, on December 14th. We will kick off with an academic session on the importance of scientific research and the key challenges for the future. This will be followed by more than 30 sessions of irresistible food for thought featuring over 100 (inter)national speakers. Also at the conference we will be handing the Flemish Science Agenda to Minister for Innovation, Philippe Muyters. The day will close with a lecture by the German philosopher, historian and writer Philipp Blom and a stunning dance performance by students of the Royal Conservatory of the Artesis Plantijn Hogeschool Antwerp. An overview of the complete programme can be found on where you can also sign up for this unique science festival.

New call for postdoctoral fellowships

The call for applications for postdoctoral fellowships under the new regulations is now open. There are now two types of postdoc: junior, for people who obtained a PhD not longer than three years ago, and senior for candidates with longer seniority. There will also be two evaluation rounds: in the first selection round, a number of the candidates will be selected for participation in the second round with interview. All background information, the new regulations, the evaluation procedure and the application form can be found on our website or this presentation.

Peter Carmeliet first Belgian to win the prestigious Heineken Prize for Medicine

Prof. Peter Carmeliet (KU Leuven) is the first Belgian ever to be awarded the international Heineken Prize for Medicine. He is awarded the prize for his groundbreaking work on a new therapeutic strategy for blood vessel-related diseases such as cancer and eye problems in diabetics. The Heineken Prize for Medicine is worth €200,000 and is awarded every two years. It rewards internationally renowned researchers who have carried out groundbreaking medical research.

Education in Flanders, 30 years after the Constitutional Reform and 60 years after the School Pact

The constitutional reform led to the most comprehensive transfer of competences from the federal level to the Communities in 1988. In November 2018 we will also commemorate the 60th anniversary of the School Pact.  Both these historic events provide the opportunity to hold a broad-based conference on Thursday 22 and Friday 23 November on the conclusions after 30 years of Constitutional Reform and on future prospects for the most essential elements of educational policy and basic educational rights. The programme and the registration form can be found on the website.  Participation is free, but registration is mandatory.

Across the boarders

Contract extension Dr. Ifdal Elsaket, Assistant Director Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo (NVIC)

Based on the positive opinion from the Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo (NVIC) and the FWO, it was decided to continue the cooperation with Dr. Ifdal Elsaket as Assistant Director Arabic/Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies of the NVIC. In collaboration with the Assistant Director for Archaeology/Egyptology, she will continue to assist the Director of the NVIC in the initiation, organisation and coordination of the Institute's activities and contribute to the dissemination of Flemish and Dutch culture in Egypt.

Science Europe

Science Europe brings together 43 European Research Funding and Research Performing Organisations (RFO-RPO) from 27 countries, with a combined research budget of approximately €18 billion. The FWO is one of its members. As part of its effort to influence policy in Europe, the organisation has published the following position and advice papers in recent months:

Visit for news and information on Science Europe and its activities.


Science Europe works for science and with scientists. In future, it will no longer be able to call upon a permanent Scientific Advisory Council, but instead it will mobilise its network of researchers for specific topics.

Evaluation results NCP Flanders

ERC Advanced grants 2017

A total of 2167 applications were submitted, of which 269 applications were awarded the grant, 7 of which with a Flemish host institution.

  • Joris DE SCHUTTER, KU Leuven
  • Mireille HILDEBRANDT, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  • Clay HOLROYD, Universiteit Gent
  • Bart LAMBRECHT, Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie
  • Marie-Francine MOENS, KU Leuven
  • Johan SUYKENS, KU Leuven
  • Greet VAN DEN BERGHE, KU Leuven


ERC Starting grants 2018

A total of 403 applications were awarded the grant, of which 10 with a Flemish host institution.


  • Alexander BERTRAND, KU Leuven
  • Krijn DE VRIES, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  • Tine DESTROOPER, Universiteit Gent
  • Karoline FAUST, KU Leuven
  • Kristien HENS, KU Leuven
  • Neil HOWARD, Universiteit Antwerpen
  • Vanessa JOOSEN, Universiteit Antwerpen
  • Anne REVERSEAU, KU Leuven
  • Petra VAN DAMME, Universiteit Gent


ERC Proof of Concept grants 2018

A total of 132 applications were submitted of which 50 applications were found eligible for funding, 4 of them with a Flemish host institution.

  • Tim Nawrot, Universiteit Hasselt
  • Robert M.O. Puers, KU Leuven
  • Joris Wilfried Maria Cornelius Thybaut, Universiteit Gent
  • Niel Hens, Universiteit Hasselt


Societal Challenge 6

  • Bruegel, partner in project EU3D - EU Differentiation, Dominance and Democracy
  • KU Leuven, partner in project Globe - Global Governance and the European Union: Future Trends and Scenarios
  • Vrije Universiteit Brussel partner in project: REBUILD - ICT-enabled integration facilitator and life rebuilding guidance
  • Universiteit Antwerpen, OCMW Antwerpen, vzw Integratie en Inburgering Antwerpen, Digipolis, partners in project MICADO - Migrant Integration Cockpits and Dashboards
  • KU Leuven, partner in project GROWINPRO - Growth Welfare Innovation Productivity
  • Bruegel, partner in project MICROPROD - Raising EU Productivity: Lessons from Improved Micro Data


Science with and for Society

  • KU Leuven, partner in project SOPs4RI - Standard Operating Procedures for Research Integrity
  • Yellow Window partner in project GEARING ROLES - Gender Equality Actions in Research Institutions to traNsform Gender ROLES en project Gender-SMART - Gender SMART Science Management of Agriculture and life sciences, including Research and Teachning
  • Yellow Window partner in project GE Academy - Gender Equality Academy


Future and Emerging Technologies

  • KU Leuven, partner in project CONNECT - Connecting neural networks: Nervous-system-on-Chip Technology
  • IMEC partner in project HARVESTORE - Energy HarveStorers for Powering the Internet of Things
  • KU Leuven partner in project POTION - Promoting social interaction through emotional body odours
  • IMEC, partner in project SKYTOP - Skyrmion-Topological insulator and Weyl semimetal technology
  • IMEC partner in project NEUROTECH - Neuromorphic Technology

New call FWO ERC Runner-up-projects

Currently the call for FWO ERC Runner up projects is open for ERC Starting grant 2018 applicants which received an received an ‘A’ score, but did not receive European funding due to budgetary constraints. The call deadline is 1 November 2018 17 PM (CET). For more info on the eligibility criteria and application procedure please go to: /nl/erc-runner-up-projects/

NCP Flanders info sessions

Past NCP Flanders info sessions

On 7 September, the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Innovative Training Networks workshop proposal writing took place. An information session about the modalities of the call followed on 5 October. The call deadline is January 15 2019 5 PM (CET). A budget of € 470 million is available for the call. The upcoming call for the Research and Innovation Staff Exchange was also discussed at the info session. This call closes on 2 April 2019 5 PM (CET) and a budget of € 80 million is foreseen. On 12 September, the ERC synergy grant information session took place with Dr. Agnes Kulcsar, call coordinator of the Synergy grants of the ERC Executive Agency. The call closes on 8 November at 5 pm (CET) and a budget of € 400 million is available.


Future NCP Flanders info sessions

In the fall of 2018 the following information sessions are planned:

  • 23 November 2018, 9 am - 12:30 pm: Info Session on Societal Challenge 6: Europe in a changing world - inclusive, innovative and reflective societies - BELSPO, Brussels
  • 20 December 2018, 9 am - 1 pm: Horizon 2020 for beginners - VAC Brussels - Herman Teirlinck

Details about these sessions can be found on

Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe

On 24 July, the new Horizon 2020 work program of 2019 was published. NCP Flanders has placed a handy overview table on the website in which all topics are listed.


A list of documents that show details of the new framework program (2021-2027) - Horizon Europe - that has been published are also available on the NCP Flanders website.


Information can be found at under “Documents” and “Related links”.


New calls