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Odysseusprogramme

Provides leading researchers who have built up a career outside Belgium, a start-up funding in order to develop or to set up a research group within a Flemish university

Status

Announcement of results

Contact

If you have any further questions regarding the Odysseus programme, please email Odysseus@fwo.be.

Objective

The Odysseus programme provides leading researchers who have built up a career outside Belgium, a start-up funding in order to develop or to set up a research line during a five-year period a research group within a Flemish university, potentially in collaboration with (an)other Flemish research organisation(s), and become progressively more involved in the Flemish research landscape.

What makes this programme unique is the combination of a position at a Flemish university and sufficient project funding to establish their own research team. This symbiosis forms the ideal starting point to attract high level, international research to Flanders.

In the framework of the current call (2024) call some changes were made to the regulations. An overview of these changes can be found in this document.

The available budget for this Odysseus call is 18.8 million euro.

Important dates

  • 3 April 2024: call opens
  • April-September 2024: internal deadlines at the host institutions (make sure to contact the responsible service of the host institution in due time, including for the unique FWO-weblink that is necessary to create the application in the FWO E-portal)
  • 30 September 2024 at 5 PM CEST: call closes (deadline for submission through the FWO E-portal, final submission will be done by host institution itself)
  • (End) October 2024: result eligibility check will be communicated by FWO to the candidates and the host institutions
  • October 2024-January 2025: international external peer review
  • End February 2025: online pre-selection
  • 20-21 March 2025: interview phase
  • Beginning of April 2025: announcement of results
    • Before 1st of December 2025: successful candidates confirm to FWO whether they will (or will not) make use of the awarded funding and appointment + communicate to FWO the official start date of their Odysseus project (after close consultation with the involved host institution(s))
    • Up to 1 year after granting (i.e. from May 1 2025 until April 1 2026 the latest): start of project
  • May-June 2025: candidates will receive feedback on their application

Features

Project funding:

  • Odysseus Type I
    • for researchers who are internationally recognized as pioneers in their field;
    • research funding: from 400,000 euro to 700,000 euro per year (NEW!) (2,000,000 euro to 3,500,000 euro for the 5-year period).
  • Odysseus Type II
    • for postdoctoral researchers who have the potential to develop a leading international position; 12 years post-doc seniority (i.e. first PhD degree can be obtained maximally 12 years before the submission deadline (30/09/2024) of the project, to be counted from the date of obtaining the doctoral degree) (NEW!).
    • research funding: from 100,000 euro to 200,000 euro per year (500,000 euro to 1,000,000 euro for the 5-year period).
  • Period: 5 years
  • Financial means: Salary costs for staff, equipment and consumables. Salary costs of the positions that need to be made available to the candidates by the universities, cannot be paid by the funding of the Odysseus programme. Candidates who wish to use core facilities during the execution of their project, have to make sure that the fees for that use are budgeted correctly in the ‘consumables’ expenditure category.
  • Call: Every 2 years.

Profile and conditions

  • Only the universities in the Flemish Community can, potentially in collaboration with (an)other Flemish research organisation(s), nominate candidates at the FWO. In case more than one host institution is involved and this project application is approved, a collaboration agreement needs to be concluded between the main host institution of the applicant and other involved host institution(s) within nine months after the start of the project agreement.

As an eligible candidate (for Type I as well as for Type II):

  • you shall have a main appointment of minimum 80% at a foreign institution on the date of the FWO deadline.
  • you shall have been affiliated with a foreign institution, with an appointment of minimum 80%, for at least three years in the past five years preceding the FWO submission deadline. During this period abroad, you shall have had an appointment of maximum 10% in Belgium.
  • you are only allowed to submit one application per Odysseus call.
  • you must update your online FWO E-loket profile including an overview of obtained degrees, past and current occupations and a detailed list of publications.

Specifically for TYPE II candidates: you have max. 12 years post-doc seniority (i.e. first PhD degree can be obtained maximally 12 years before the submission deadline (30/09/2024) of the project, to be counted from the date of obtaining the doctoral degree) (NEW!).

As the university, when nominating a candidate, you should:

  • officially declare in a binding declaration of commitment – signed by both the university (rector) and the relevant department/faculty (head of department/faculty) – to appoint the candidate, if selected for Odysseus funding, for a period of five years. Either by providing a ZAP position (Type I) or either by providing a full-time tenure track fellowship (Type II).
  • strive for a gender balance (= max. 2/3rd of the same gender) when it comes to the own application mass.
  • approve the research plan.

Important: In each application, a local co-supervisor needs to be identified. The local co-supervisor is a senior academic staff member (ZAP) with a permanent position and takes up an administrative role rather than an active scientific role. The local co-supervisor is not supposed to supervise or co-execute the proposed research, but e.g. to ensure the embedding of the Odysseus applicant in the host institution/department/faculty/research group. In case the Odysseus applicant renounces the Odysseus project during the 5 year project period, the local co-supervisor will be responsible for handling commitments (e.g. recruited staff on the Odysseus project) made by the Odysseus grantee.

The candidate as well as the involved university/universities and, if applicable, other involved Flemish research institution(s), are required to agree with the Research Integrity Clause.

Procedure

  • Carefully read the guidelines for candidates and host institutions.
  • Internal selection procedure: Each university establishes an internal procedure for the selection of the candidates that they want to nominate to the FWO.
  • Nomination to FWO: Taking into account the FWO-deadline, nominated candidates submit their application through the unique link received from the Research Coordination Office (DOC). Remark: the entire application should be written in English and should include the above-mentioned declaration of commitment as well as two letters of recommendation. Final submission will be done by host institution itself.
  • Eligibility check: The FWO performs for each application an eligibility check and informs afterwards the candidates and host institutions.
  • International external peer review: Each application will be evaluated in writing, in principle by 4 international external referees. The evaluation is based on an evaluation grid designed especially for the Odysseus programme.
  • Pre-selection phase (optional): If there are more than 20 eligible applications of either Type, a pre-selection, based on the 4 submitted recommendations from the external referees for each candidacy, will take place whereby an ad hoc multidisciplinary international jury (same jury members as in next step) selects the candidates to be invited for an interview.
  • Interview phase: Each eligible nominated candidate – in case of a pre-selection: only those positively evaluated – will be invited to present the proposed project to an ad hoc international jury. After the oral presentation, candidates will be interviewed by this Odysseus jury. Based on the external referees’ reports and the interview, the high-level jury compiles a binding ranking based on excellence. Their evaluation is also based on the specific Odysseus evaluation grid.
  • Ratification: Successful candidates are awarded by the FWO Board of Trustees, acting on the advice of the Odysseus jury.