Panel structure reform

Update 22/03/2022

All details about the new panel structure are now available in a digital brochure. This brochure outlines the FWO panel structure, including the new Med9 panel and the new scientific scopes of all 32 fundamental expert panels as they will be used from the postdoc call to be launched in the second half of 2022.


The FWO organised a webinar to further discuss the new panel structure. You can review this webinar here.

Update 14/02/2022

The current structure of the FWO expert panels fundamental research already dates back to 2010. Because science never stands still, a thorough update and reform of this structure is more than desirable. Bearing this in mind, the FWO Board of Trustees appointed four international working groups on life sciences, science and technology, cultural and social sciences, and interdisciplinarity, at the end of 2019. Each of these working groups were composed of fifteen Flemish and international experts from various disciplines. They were tasked to formulate a proposal for a thorough reform of the FWO panel structure. However, their work was thwarted before it had even begun by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is still affecting all of us. As a result, the consultation process had to be conducted completely digitally, which is why we decided to continue our work along two paths. On the one hand, we have set up a short term project to address the most pressing hot topics surrounding the current panel structure; on the other hand, we will work on the planned more comprehensive reform as soon as this is possible (in light of restrictions on travel, meeting and consultation facilities).

Although work on the reform process has thus far taken place completely digitally, we nevertheless tried to involve the Flemish research community as much as possible. Not only did the FWO itself organise an extensive survey on so-called “orphan disciplines” – i.e. research topics that do not properly fit into our current panel structure – also the members of the working groups regularly held in-depth consultations with their colleagues across the country. They provided feedback to the working groups to ensure that the input of Flemish researchers was incorporated into the process. This resulted in a number of reforms of the FWO panel structure that will take effect from the calls 2023 onwards – the first call under the new structure will be postdoc 2023 (submission deadline 01/12/2022).

More information will follow later on, but we can already offer a glimpse of what is to come: Major changes in the short term are:

  • The setting up of a new expert panel in the field of medical sciences.
  • Greater focus on multi- and interdisciplinarity
  • A thorough update of the scientific scopes of all 32 fundamental expert panels

Further details on these reforms, including detailed information about each panel and all application, submission and evaluation modalities, will be announced in the spring of this year. Make sure to regularly check out our information channels. We will extensively inform researchers in Flanders and outline step by step what changes will be made.

Please also note that for the calls PhD fellowship fundamental research 2022 (submission deadline 01/03/2022) and fundamental research projects 2022 (submission deadline 01/04/2022) nothing changes for the time being.

Scopes new panel structure

Here you can find the scopes of the new panel structure that will take effect from the calls 2023 onwards – the first call under the new structure will be postdoc 2023 (submission deadline 01/12/2022).

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