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Bilateral research cooperation South Africa



In association with

Announcement of results


The FWO is keen on promoting international collaboration as a driving force for excellence. That is why the FWO signs bilateral agreements with a number of countries for the funding of joint research projects. These projects go further than the traditional mobility projects, because personnel and consumables as well as equipment can also be financed.

One of the selected countries is South Africa. The FWO has reached an agreement with the South African National Research Foundation (NRF) on the funding of new research projects in fundamental research in all scientific domains.

In contrast to the regular research projects fundamental research no distinction is made between junior and senior research projects. In addition, it is not possible to use 10% of the budget requested at FWO for non-Flemish universities.


  • Joint research project with South African partner(s). It must be an integrated research proposal with one central problem, methodology and work plan.
  • Fundamental research in all scientific domains
  • Project duration: 3 years
  • Personnel costs and consumables applied for at FWO: minimally € 45,000 and maximally € 85,000 per year per project. If you want to use core facilities during the execution of your project, do make sure that the fees for that use are budgeted correctly in the consumables expenditure category.
  • Equipment/matching funding applied for at FWO: maximally € 150,000 per project
  • Call closed
  • Announcement results: December 2023
  • Project start: 1st of January 2024

Profile and conditions

  • The collaboration with partners from South Africa will have an added value for the project.
  • Your research will be carried out at an eligible Flemish main host institution, possibly in collaboration with other Flemish and/or federal research institutions (Article 7) and under the supervision of a supervisor-spokesperson, possible in collaboration with other (co-)supervisor(s) (Article 10 - 12).
  • In the framework of this call with NRF, you can only act once as a supervisor(-spokesperson) or (co-supervisor).
  • No remuneration or accumulation of a remuneration is allowed for (co-)supervisor(s)(-spokesperson) under a research project funded by FWO.
  • Applications in the framework of this cooperation are not part of the regular project competition and as a result:
    • do not count for the maximum of two projects per application round for which you may act as (co-)supervisor(-spokesperson);
    • are not taken into account for the maximum of two projects applied for and ongoing on the start date of the newly allocated project.


  • Carefully read the guidelines for applicants.
  • Your joint fully integrated application is submitted before the deadline both at FWO (by using the online application form in the FWO E-loket) as well as at NRF according to their modalities. Please note that each online FWO submission is automatically confirmed by a confirmation email. If you did not receive such an email, please verify whether you properly submitted your application.
  • Each (co-)supervisor(-spokesperson) of both the Flemish and South African research team:
    • must have a fully updated online FWO E-loket profile including an up to date list of publications. Please note that the registration of your E-loket profile (login/password) takes 24 hours. It is therefore strongly advised to start well in advance;
    • needs to add via the Flemish supervisor-spokesperson a CV to the FWO application. Please do use the template provided in the FWO application form.
  • FWO and NRF perform an eligibility check to verify if your application meets all formal criteria of respectively FWO and NRF.
  • FWO and NRF will send out the proposal submitted at respectively FWO and NRF out for international peer review according to the respective regulations for peer review. More information on the FWO modalities can be in the FWO regulations internal and external peer review.
  • An ad hoc joint interdisciplinary selection committee composed of Flemish and South African experts makes a final ranking.
  • The Board of Trustees of FWO and NRF take the final decision.
  • Afterwards you will receive feedback on this decision.

Remark: In case of transfer of personal data within the framework of an international collaboration, FWO will ensure that the partners abroad guarantee an equal level of protection with respect to the involved parties.


Be aware: For any travel towards a higher-risk destination, the FWO (travel) grant can only be used in case of a positive advice of the concerned host institution. Please make sure to request this advice at the responsible advisory body of your host institution.