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Research funding


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The IWT programme strategic base research (SBO) funds quality research projects which prioritise the building of scientific or technological capacity as the basis for economic or societal applications in Flanders.

Within the SBO programme, IWT supports both projects with an economic focus as well as projects with a societal focus. The project duration is four years, but can also have a shorter duration, of a minimum of two years. It is expected of those who implement an SBO project that they execute high-quality base research and that they also have a clear vision about the potential for valorisation. They make an active effort towards this purpose, aimed at the transfer, the utilisation and the valorisation of the research results with economic or social actors. It is of crucial importance to enter into a proactive dialogue with potential users upon the creation of a project proposal. Composing a steering committee is a useful instrument in doing so.

The SBO financing channel is horizontal and open to all disciplines and application domains. This makes it also suitable for multidisciplinary research projects to flourish. A project proposal can be submitted by at least one Flemish R&D actor (university, university college, company, collective centre, research institute, ...). Several R&D actors can also form a consortium together. In such a case, one of the Flemish R&D actors is appointed as project coordinator.

Important changes call 2014 - 2015?
With regards to the last SBO call, several changes have been effectuated within the economic part of the SBO programme. In order to stimulate the cooperation between researchers and users, the evaluation roster pays explicit attention to a good collaboration before, during and after the project implementation.

Formerly, for projects which valorise via the transfer of results to existing companies, the limited financial input of the companies on the steering committee (entrance fee) was only evaluated in the second round. Starting with the 2014 - 2015 call, the presence of financial engagement will be part of the standing assessment.

Information about these changes can be found in the call document on the IWT website or in the slides from the infosession that was held on 2 October at Hasselt University (see below).

The final date for the submission of project applications with the IWT is 9 January 2015 (12hrs).

NEW: Bilateral cooperation between Flemish and Dutch researchers possible
In order to stimulate bilateral cooperation between Flemish and Dutch researchers, the STW (Technology Foundation STW, Netherlands) and the IWT launched a pilot project for submissions for joint projects in strategic base research with economical valorisation opportunities for companies. There will not be a separate call: submitted projects will be assessed within the existing instruments of the STW (the Open Technology programme) and the IWT (the economic part of the programme of the SBO channel).

Concretely speaking, proposals that fall in the domain of Pharma and Chemistry (including biotechnology and Biobased Economy) can be submitted with the IWT. The deadline for submission of the applications is at the same time as the deadline for the regular SBO call on 9 January 2015 (12hrs). More information about these bilateral projects can be found in the call document on the IWT website.

Proposals within the domain of High Tech Systems and Materials (including ICT and nanotechnology) need to be submitted with the STW. This can be done on a rolling basis between 1 October 2014 and 1 May 2015. More information about the modalities for submission and the admissibility criteria for submission with the STW can be found on the STW website.

More information?
Contact Hasselt University: Annelies Stockmans
Contact IWT: Paul Schreurs (sbo@iwt.be)
Or on the website of the IWT

In response to the new call which closed on 9 January 2015 the Research Coordination Office, in cooperation with the Tech Transfer Office and the Innovation Centre Limburg, organized an infosession on 26 June 2014 in order to explain more about the support they can offer to researchers who are preparing a project application. The time line that is applicable to this support programme and the related documents can be found here.

On 2 October 2014 a second infosession was organised, during which IWT advisor Paul Schreurs highlighted the modalities of the new call. The presentation that was used during this infosession can be found here.