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Regulations for Scientific Research Networks

as amended by decision of the Board of Trustees 12/05/2021

General Regulations

The General Regulations apply.

Scientific Research Networks

Art. 1. (as amended by decision of the Board of Trustees 22/11/2021)

The Research Foundation - Flanders may proceed with the creation of Scientific Research Networks. These are collaborative relationships among research groups that are aimed at promoting the coordination among and the international cooperation of Flemish research groups in the area of scientific research with inter-/multi-/and transdisciplinarity constituting a positive element in the evaluation of the proposals.

Art. 2.

A Scientific Research Network consists at least of:

  • three research groups of at least two universities in the Flemish Community, with the following being considered equivalent to the latter institutions: the Evangelical Protestant Faculty in Leuven and the Faculty for Protestant Theology in Brussels for research related to religious studies or theology, the Hogere Zeevaartschool for research related to nautical sciences, the Vlerick Management School and the Antwerp Management School for research related to management sciences, or the Institute of Tropical Medicine for research related to tropical medicine and veterinary medicine and to healthcare in developing countries;
  • minimum two research groups from the French Community and/or from abroad.

If desired, research groups from organisations other than research institutes can also be added to the SRN insofar as (strategic) basic research can be carried out and provided that their participation adds value to the SRN.

Art. 3.

§1 One of the Flemish research groups acts as the core group. This department must have received international recognition for its outstanding, high-quality scientific research.

§2 A research group is only allowed to act as core group for a single ongoing SRN. This means that a research group can only apply once as core group in each application round, and also that any application for an SRN whose scheduled start date falls within the term of an ongoing SRN having the same research group as core group, will be considered ineligible.

Art. 4.

A Scientific Research Network is headed by a steering group comprising the heads of the participating research groups from the Flemish Community. The head of the core group acts as president of the steering group and as spokesperson for the Foundation.

Art. 5. (as amended by decision of the Board of Trustees 28/09/2022)

A Scientific Research Network is, upon advice of the competent scientific committee, recognised by the Board of Trustees, for a period of five years, which may be extended, and receives an annual bench fee of maximum €12,000. The bench fee remains available to the research network for the duration of the collaboration plus the following two years. Any unused funds shall be returned to the FWO.

The Board of Trustees determines the number of Scientific Research Networks to be created.

Art. 6. (as amended by decision of the Board of Trustees 22/11/2021)

Scientific Research Networks can be created, provided it is clearly demonstrated that the allowance is necessary to enable and/or maintain the collaborative relationship and contributes to the scientific coordination in Flanders and to the internationalisation of scientific research at Flemish institutions

Art. 7.

An existing Scientific Research Network may exceptionally be extended with (an) additional research group(s). To this end, the spokesperson of the initially approved Scientific Research Network must submit a new application to the FWO.

This application must clearly demonstrate why the extension is necessary for the further creation and/or maintenance of the initial collaborative relationship as set out in the initial application for a Scientific Research Network. The application must also demonstrate the quality of the research group(s) to be included in the initial Scientific Research Network. The written approval from all initial research partners for the addition of the new research group(s) must also be attached to the application.

The extension of the initial Scientific Research Network with (an) additional research group(s) is, upon advice of the competent scientific committee, recognised by the Board of Trustees, for the remaining period of the current initial Scientific Research Network, which may be extended. No additional bench fees are provided for this extension.

Art. 8. (as amended by decision of the Board of Trustees 08/02/2023)

A first report must be submitted before 1 September of the 3rd year (period from 1 January of first year to 30 June of third year = 2 ½ operating years).

The second report is a summary report on the five operating years. This report must be submitted by 1 September of the fifth year, together with the file for the extension, where appropriate.

If the extension is postponed or if no extension is applied for, the report must be submitted on 31 December of the final fifth year.

The reports are submitted for evaluation by the competent scientific committee, which subsequently reports to the Board of Trustees. If the first report is negative, the Board of Trustees may decide to discontinue the SRN.

Art. 9. (as amended by decision of the Board of Trustees of 27/11/2019 and 22/11/2021)

The funding is used exclusively for:

  • host colleges, symposia and scientific collaboration:
    • travel and accommodation costs for foreigners;
    • fees for established researchers from outside the Flemish Community;
  • travel and accommodation costs of researchers, affiliated to the Flemish research groups of the Scientific Research Network, in charge of carrying out information-gathering activities in foreign research departments;
  • coverage of costs for a CO2 contribution linked to research-related air travel, to the extent that such travel is directly related to the Scientific Research Network;
  • secretarial costs for organising host colleges, limited number of symposia, workshops and research coordination meetings.
  • For duly justified reasons other expenses may be charged subject to prior consent of the FWO.

Art. 10.

Payments, reports and audits shall be undertaken in accordance with the provisions of the regulations for Research projects.

Art. 11. (as amended by decision of the Board of Trustees of 25/11/2020 and 08/02/2023)

Applications must be submitted before 1 September of the year preceding the start year, using the appropriate forms. The forms are available on the FWO website.

Rules of application

Research groups from Flemish or federal scientific institutions are eligible for inclusion in Scientific Research Networks. With regard to the federal scientific institutions, staff belonging to the French- or German-speaking community are considered being part of research groups from outside the Flemish Community.