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Thematic call for research projects in the field of the circular economy



Announcement of results


The research projects within the thematic call on circular economy cover innovative strategic basic research. This applies to research in all areas of science. It should be possible to develop informed policy support and practical solutions for society based on this scientific research. Project are to be situated in the following domains of the circular economy – particularly bioeconomy, chemicals/plastics, circular construction, manufacturing, food chain and water cycles.


  • The budget available for this call is €3 million (funds for 2023 & 2024 combined)
  • Duration of the project: Two years. A shorter execution time may be allowed in justified cases.
  • The maximum funding for each project is €425,000, excluding 17% overhead.
  • Funding percentage: 100%.
  • Acceptable costs: personnel costs, operational costs (including subcontracting up to 30% of the total budget, and small equipment of less than €20,000).

Profile applicants and conditions

  • A project proposal is submitted by a principal investigator affiliated with one of the five universities in the Flemish Community or/and a Flemish research institution (e.g. VITO, VIB, IMEC, Vito, VLIZ, Flemish university colleges, Flemish scientific institutions funded by the state, etc.)
  • In addition to the above institutions, non-Flemish research institutions can participate in the consortium for up to 20% of the budget, provided it is demonstrated that their participation as partner is necessary to ensure the proper execution of the project and the achievement of the project utilization objectives.
  • A project proposal is submitted in a consortium (two or more eligible institutions).
  • 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).
  • A researcher can participate in only one consortium, either as principal investigator or as co-investigator. Consequently, your name in as principal investigator or co-investigator can appear only once in this entire call.

Application process

Each applicated must be pre-registered by 29 September 2023, 17:00. For this pre-registration, the following fields in the application form are to be completed by the aforementioned date:

  • project title in Dutch and English
  • a summary of the project objectives
  • Names and affiliation of all (co)-investigators.

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 Friday, 13 October 2023, 17:00. (call closed)

Evaluation procedure

  • Considering the specific focus of the call, projects will be evaluated by an expert panel (internal peer review) with no external peer review.
  • Projects are evaluated by a panel of maximum 12 experts. To avoid conflicts of interest as much as possible, international experts will be invited for the evaluation.
  • Preference is given to academic experts with a translational/applied background in the domains of the call, complemented where possible by experts with an industrial/social background.
  • Every application is, in principle, evaluated by 3 panel members based on the defined evaluation criteria.
  • All applications are discussed in a panel session, followed by a ranking and a proposal for support. The panel meeting is scheduled for February 2024.
  • The FWO board of directors will then make a decision on funding.
  • All applicants receive feedback on their application.


For questions regarding the modalities of this thematic call, contact