FWO postdoctoral fellowship programmes – call 2020 Interview guidelines


Candidates whose application has passed the preselection receive an invitation for an interview at the FWO premises. Candidates will be invited by April 6 2020 at the latest.

The interview dates for each panel can be found here. The interviews take place at the FWO offices, located Egmontstraat 5, B-1000 Brussels, at the time and date mentioned in the invitation mail.

Applicants are required to be physically present at the meeting.  Travel and accommodation costs related to the interview will not be covered by the FWO. The applicants should present themselves (with a valid ID or passport) at the reception desk at least 20 minutes before the start of the interview.

In some cases (e.g. visa issues, high travel costs, …), to be well motivated by the candidate, a remote interview can be set up. When approved by the FWO, technical guidelines will be communicated to the candidate.

The expert panel typically consists of 12 members. More information can be found in the FWO peer review regulations. The names of the panel members are presented here.  

The research coordination office at your research institute can help you in preparing your interview, dedicated training sessions may be offered. Contact them timely!

Interview format


The pitch and interview language is English!

The interview consists of 3 parts:

  • 5-minutes presentation by the candidate (‘elevator pitch’)
  • 10-15 minutes interactive discussion with the expert panel
  • evaluation and scoring by the panel (without the candidate)

Elevator pitch

The interview starts with a short, max. 5 minutes presentation (“elevator pitch”). In order to make good use of the allocated time, you should properly prepare this pitch.

You may use a (PowerPoint or PDF file) presentation, to be sent to FWO at least one week before the interview. No specific presentation template is foreseen. The floor is yours!

Your pitch should be concise and clear, and add value to your project proposal. Reflect on whether merely summarizing your project proposal would do the job. Highlighting the aspects that would appeal the expert panel is perhaps a better choice. The pitch may, besides the research project, somewhat focus on yourself as a candidate. Try to stand out as a candidate and with your pitch.

You may take the opportunity to mention additional achievements (e.g. publications) and/or new insights into your project that you might have obtained since the submitting of your application.

Interactive discussion   

The presentation is followed by an interrogation and a discussion with the panel members (10-15 minutes), who will seek to assess your competence and the scientific value of your project.  Questions asked may be specific as well as rather generic.

Carefully read the scoring descriptors that will be used by the evaluators.

The experts may put you to the grill, so do not get discouraged by difficult or unexpected questions. Be prepared to a rather pleasant and encouraging debate as well as to a more provoking say confrontational scenario.

After the interview

The interview is followed by a discussion between the experts, who will assign consensual scores to the evaluation criteria 'Candidate' and 'Project'.

All candidates will be informed as soon as a decision is made by the board of trustees (June 24, 20). The results will also be published on the FWO website.

All candidates will receive more specific feedback on the decision shortly after.

Technical details regarding electronic presentations


You can make use of a PowerPoint presentation. Presentation files should be sent to the FWO at the latest one week before the actual presentations, enabling us to proceed fluently with the presentations, without technical issues.

As a precautionary measure you are requested to prepare an USB stick with a pdf file of your presentation without any movie clips. In exceptional cases, where such a clip is really necessary, you are required to bring your own laptop. However please keep in mind that this alternative may not function correctly as we cannot guarantee any compatibility between different systems.

There is no need to bring printed presentation to the interview.

The PC in the interview room runs the Windows 10 operating system and has installed Microsoft PowerPoint 2013, Acrobat Pro 9 and Acrobat Reader X. Also for videos, Windows Media Player is installed by default on the computer.