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Thematic call for Research Projects in the field of "Innovation in the Agriculture and Food Sector


Announcement of results


Additional funding resources for research and innovation in the agriculture and food sector in order to accelerate the transition towards sustainable agriculture and flexible food systems were allocated to the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO) for the organisation of a thematic call for research projects in the domain of "Innovation in the Agriculture and Food Sector." The budget available for this first call is 10 million euros (funds for 2023 & 2024 combined).

A research project within the thematic call "Innovation in the Agriculture and Food Sector" involves innovative strategic basic research that, in case of scientific success, provides prospects for future economic or societal applications (in the form of a new products, processes and/or services). The scientific research is expected to offer practical solutions or policy support to facilitate the transformation and innovation within the agriculture and food sector, including aspects such as profitability, environmental impact, climate, agro-ecology, short food supply chains, biodiversity and scalability.

Eligible research domains

Based on the outcome of the "FIT4Food" research agenda and the objectives of the "Flemish Food Strategy," the following eligible research themes have been defined. These are clustered under three overarching domains.

  • Agriculture and food systems within ecological boundaries: sustainable agricultural practices and crops and animal welfare: Systems thinking; Ecologically sustainable agricultural practices; Alternative protein sources; Alternative agricultural systems; Circular food systems; Animal welfare; Water storage by agricultural systems.
  • Healthy and sustainable food for everyone: Food environments; Criteria and labeling; Citizen trust; Citizen science projects.
  • Resilient food economy: New business models; Pricing; Fair and sustainable trade

These themes are further explained in the applicant's guide.


This thematic call follows the program 'Strategic Basic Research' in terms of the type of research, duration, budget, and evaluation procedure.

  • Duration: 4 years. A shorter implementation period may be accepted with justification.
  • Acceptable costs: personnel costs, operational costs (including subcontracting for a maximum of 30% of the total budget and small equipment costing less than 20,000 euros).
  • Maximum of €425,000/year (excluding 17% overhead) per project year and per participating legal entity with a minimum share of 15% of the total project budget.
  • Guideline for project budget: €1.7 million (excluding 17% overhead).
  • Subsidy percentage of acceptable costs: 100%.

The available budget for this call is 10 million euros (budget from 2023 & 2024 combined).

Applicants' profile and requirements

  • A project proposal can be submitted by a principal investigator affiliated with one of the five universities in the Flemish Community or a principal investigator affiliated with a Flemish research center (e.g., VITO, VIB, IMEC, VLIZ, Flemish university colleges, Flemish scientific institutions funded by the government, etc.).
  • In addition to these institutions, non-Flemish research centers can participate as partners in the consortium for a maximum of 20% of the budget, provided that there is a justification stating that the involvement of this partner is necessary for the successful implementation of the project and to achieve the project's utilization objectives.
  • Each legal entity participating in the consortium must meet the definition of a research institution (i.e. a research and knowledge-dissemination organisation) as set out in Article 2(83) of Commission Regulation (EU) No 651/2014 of 17 June 2014).

Application procedure

Each application must be pre-registered by 6 November 2023, 5PM. This pre-proposal should contain at least the following information 1) project title and duration ('General' tab), 2) non-confidential summary and detailed scientific and valorisation innovation objectives ('Summary' tab), 3) full composition of the project consortium ('Applicants' tab), 4) specification of the research topic and experts to be avoided (optional, max. 3) ('Peer Review' tab). In addition, consent should be given by accepting the declaration ('Consent' tab).

Pre-registration is required for the application to be valid. This information is needed to allow the FWO staff to prepare the evaluation process as efficiently as possible. The information should be submitted to the main host institution through the e-portal.

The final project proposal must be submitted by the promoter's main host institution to the FWO by Monday 20 november 2023, 5PM.

Evaluation procedure

  • Each project application is reviewed by external international experts.
  • The applicant has the opportunity to provide feedback on the content of the external evaluation reports (within a period of 7 working days after receiving the reports). The invitation will be sent on 26/2 via an invitation email to the principal investigator.
  • The internal peer review is conducted by a thematic expert panel that evaluates the scientific quality and the utilisation approach and potential of the different applications, based on the project proposal, external evaluation reports, and the rebuttal.
  • The FWO board of directors decides on the support during its meeting in May 2024. Subsequently, you will receive feedback on the decision and its rationale.


For questions regarding the modalities of this thematic call, please contact us at