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TBM projects (Applied Biomedical Research with a Primary Social finality)

Status

Announcement of results

Objective

In the long term, the TBM programme aims at contributing to the implementation of (new) therapies, diagnostic techniques and preventive methods, which would not make it to the patient without government funding due to a lack of industrial interest.

New

The TBM-programme will be reformed from the 2024 call onwards. The objective of the programme, the eligibility criteria and the structure of the application form are retained. The main changes concern:

  • Evaluation procedure. The evaluation is performed by permanent panels consisting of scientific evaluators with diverse expertise in the biomedical sector and extensive experience in clinical trials. In addition, external (written) evaluators with expertise in the specific discipline of the project proposal are called upon.
  • Scoring grid. The scoring grid has been simplified. The following criteria are assessed: (1) the "fit", i.e. compliance with the TBM conditions (4 criteria, yes/no score); (2) scientific quality (4 criteria, score on 10 points); (3) utilisation perspectives (4 criteria, score on 10 points).
  • Rebuttal. The interview has been replaced by a written rebuttal.
  • Timeline. The call will be launched in February (instead of December) with the submission deadline in April. In September, the possibility will be offered to submit a rebuttal in response to the written evaluations. The panel meetings will take place in November. The results will be communicated at the end of November and awarded projects will start on 1 January of the following year.
  • Presubmission. Since it will be assessed even more strictly than before whether the project proposal meets the conditions of the TBM programme, it is strongly recommended to check the "fit" of the project idea with the FWO administration. You can make a presubmission inquiry well in advance (up to one week before the deadline) via tbm@fwo.be.

Features

  • Eligible organisations: research centres (e.g. universities, university hospitals, university colleges (‘hogescholen’) and strategic research centres)
    • 20% of the budget can be earmarked for non-Flemish research centres
    • at least 10% of the budget should be earmarked for applicants that are a Flemish hospital or ITM (because of the clinical finality)
  • Project period: 2 to 4 years
  • Budget:
    • 215,000 – 850,000 euro (for large or multicentric trials, exceptionally budgets up to 1,275,000 euro are allowed)
    • Acceptable costs: staffing, operations, equipment, subcontracting (in accordance with cost model)
    • Funding percentage: 100%
    • Available budget for the call of 2024: 13.626.744 euro (including 17% overhead)
  • Success rate 2023: 26%

Calendar

Barring alterations relating to the new procedure, the timeline for 2024 is as follows:

  • Call open: from 19 February 2024
  • Presubmission inquiry with FWO: always possible (even before opening of the call), no later than one week before the submission deadline
  • Deadline submission via FWO e-portal: 22 April 2024 at 17h (NB: the final submission is carried out by the main host institution. Contact the responsible department of the host institution about the internal deadlines for the transfer of the application between the promoter and the host institution)
  • Opportunity to rebut in writing: 9-20 September 2024
  • Panel meetings: November 2024 !!! NO MORE interview with the applicants
  • Announcement of results: 29 November 2024
  • Project start: 1 January 2025

Profile and conditions

  • Your project matches each of the following 4 conditions:
  1. It is aimed at the development of a new therapy, diagnosis and/or specific prevention of a particular human disease/medical issue or a comparison of existing therapies, diagnostics or preventive methods in order to find out their relative efficacy and cost-effectiveness.
  2. It is directed at research that is positioned late in the path from discovery to a specific application (i.e. there is a clinically relevant proof of concept) and aims at translating and developing scientific findings into clinical applications rather than creating new knowledge from scratch. On the other hand, it is not positioned too late in the path from discovery to application: it does not consist of implementation activities that no longer require any research.
  3. It offers a clear applicability with an added value for the Flemish health situation, including at least a positive medical impact for a particular group of patients or a cost reduction for the Flemish healthcare system.
  4. At the time of submitting the application (or in the near future), the industry is not interested in your project for commercial reasons.
  • For the execution of the project, you need bench fees, equipment and personnel grants.
  • The organisation(s) to which you belong, are research centre(s) that comply with the definition of a ‘research and knowledge-dissemination organisation’ as mentioned in Art. 2, sec. 83 of the European legislation no. 651/2014. When in doubt, please contact the FWO (tbm@fwo.be).
  • The project executors are the owners of their own results.

Procedure

  • Presubmission. All researchers who wish to propose a new project idea are strongly advised to send a presubmission inquiry in the form of a short abstract (see template) via e-mail to tbm@fwo.be. It is also possible to request an oral preliminary discussion at FWO. In addition, some host institutions will organise information sessions and meetings in collaboration with the FWO. For more information, please contact the responsible department of your host institution. The presubmission inquiry must reach the FWO at the latest one week before the submission deadline.
  • Submission. As supervisor of the project, you will prepare your proposal via your personal FWO e-portal and submit your complete proposal timely to your host institution. As the main applicant your host institution then will submit your proposal to FWO by the abovementioned deadline.
  • Evaluation. Your proposal is reviewed by (inter)national experts who will first evaluate your proposal in writing. The evaluators are members of the TBM-expert panels, as well as external reviewers with specific expertise in the research domain of the project proposal. You will get the opportunity to respond to their remarks via a written rebuttal. Subsequently, the TBM-panel members will discuss and evaluate your proposal during a panel meeting at FWO.
  • Rebuttal. The supervisor-spokesperson of the application will receive an email invitation at the primary email address entered into the e-portal, i.e. the email address used to transfer the application to the main host institution. It is important to verify that the invitation of the FWO did not end up in a spam folder. If you have not received a notification by 9 September, you should alert the FWO as soon as possible. It is advised to make prior arrangements for the drafting and submission of the rebuttal in case the supervisor-spokesperson is indisposed. In any case, force majeure must be demonstrated with a medical certificate or other relevant official document.
  • Decision. The expert panels will report to the board of trustees of the FWO. The board of trustees will decide on granting support.
  • Feedback. Following the announcement of the results, each supervisor-spokesperson will receive feedback about the decision.

Contact

For questions with regard to the modalities of the TBM programme, please contact tbm@fwo.be. Questions regarding the functionality of the e-portal, should be addressed to fwohelpdesk@fwo.be.

Renewal of ongoing projects

Owing to its clinical finality the TBM programme was hit exceptionally hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the FWO has decided to grant certain ongoing TBM projects an exceptional renewal. An application for renewal should be discussed in advance with the FWO administration. For terms and conditions, see ongoing projects.

Regulations and downloads

TBM-information video

Application template and Excel template for submission of the budget (see e-portal)

New

The evaluators will use a simplified scoring grid to assess the scientific quality and utilisation perspectives of the project proposal. Furthermore, the evaluators will check explicitly whether the proposal adheres to the strict criteria of the TBM programme.