Research funding

Funding my research

If you are planning to start a PhD, research project, foreign stay,... one of the first steps is to find the right funding.
The Directorate Research, Library and Internationalisation will be happy to guide you through the different funding options.

Funding levels
Who provides research funding?
Broadly speaking, there are five different levels that contribute to funding for scientific research: Hasselt University, Flanders, Belgium, Europe and others.

Funding types
 exactly can be funded?
Research funds can be used to help finance researchers themselves or to develop research projects. In addition, researchers can apply for funds to cover foreign research stays or help organise conventions or conferences.

Funding bodies and programmes
What funding organisations are there?
The different funding organisations make their funds available across a number of programmes. The best-known Flemish organisations for research funding are Research Foundation Flanders (Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek, FWO) and Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship (Agentschap Innoveren & Ondernemen, Vlaio).

Who provides funding?

Contributions to research funding are made both internally within the university and at Flemish, national and European level.

Hasselt University

The Flemish universities have their own budget for organising internal research and managing research according to their policy priorities. This Special Research Fund (Bijzonder Onderzoeksfonds, BOF) is managed by the Directorate Research, Library and Internationalisation. BOF funding is organised in different programmes and is evaluated and allocated on the advice of the Hasselt University Research Council.

In addition, the university has an Industrial Research Fund (Industrieel Onderzoeksfonds, IOF). As is the case with BOF, its funds derive from the Flemish government. The aim of the IOF is to put knowledge to practical use in the form of social and/or industrial applications. It is managed by the IOF Board of Hasselt University.


Through various funds and institutes, Flanders seeks to boost excellence in fundamental research and increase the capacity for creative and innovative entrepreneurship. 
The Research Foundation Flanders (Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek, FWO) is the main funder of fundamental research in Flanders. 
Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship (Agentschap Innoveren & Ondernemen, Vlaio) offers funding for strategic base research, applied research and research in collaboration with the industry.


At the federal level, support for scientific research is organised through the Federal Science Policy, BELSPO. BELSPO is responsible for coordinating the federal science policy and offers various individual research scholarships every year. It also funds multidisciplinary research cooperation across community and regional boundaries through the Belgian Research Action through Interdisciplinary Networks (BRAIN-programme).


Europe also invests in research. Since 2014, the European Union has brought together most of its research funding under the Horizon2020 programme, the successor to the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). With this programme, Europe is aiming to develop further as a competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy and to increase its competitiveness. The different funding programmes and calls are grouped in three pillars: ‘Excellent Science’, ‘Industrial Leadership’ and ‘Societal Challenges’.


In addition to these four levels of research funding, other financing options also exist. For instance, domestic and foreign foundations, universities, companies, organisations and research institutions also offer ad hoc funding. The Directorate Research, Library and Internationalisation is happy to keep Hasselt University researches informed about these generally less well-known initiatives by email and through its website.

What is eligible for funding?

Research funding can take various forms. There are programmes available to help fund researchers themselves, to launch projects and networks or to cover the costs of research stays or visits abroad. Funding options also exist for organizing conferences and lectures, and in the form of prizes/awards.


Scholarships and mandates
When you apply for personal funding, this is usually in the form of a mandate or a scholarship. You will then be associated with the university under scholarship or mandate (fellowship) status.

What exactly is the difference?
For the university, there are a number of administrative and financial differences. The doctoral student him- or herself will only experience few practical differences: the working conditions are virtually identical. Among the things that do vary is the duration of the appointment. A doctoral scholarship holder is appointed for a maximum of four years. By contrast, a fellowship lasts six years. In addition, a scholarship holder takes on minimal teaching and service responsibilities, whereas a fellowship holder is required to assume such roles – on condition that a maximum 50 percent of his/her working time is free for working on the doctoral thesis.

More information
More information about the appointment types and the precise financial, fiscal, administrative and other implications can be obtained from Hasselt University’s HR department.

Mandate & fellowship fundingType
BOF Doctoral FundPhD
PhD Fellowships Fundamental Research & Strategic Basic ResearchPhD
FWO Postdoctoral FellowshipPostdoc
Vlaio Baekeland FellowshipsPhD
Vlaio Innovation FellowshipsPostdoc

Research projects

Researchers can apply for project funding, to cover operational, equipment and staff costs with a view to carrying out a research project.. This funding usually has a term of four years and is made available to the research group that applies for the project funding.

The main funder of fundamental research projects is the FWO. The New Initiatives programme of the Hasselt University BOF also provides project funding. To qualify for it, researchers must first submit an application to the FWO. Only project proposals submitted to the FWO have a chance of winning funding.
BELSPO provides funding to develop multidisciplinary projects across community and regional borders. For applied projects, there are various programmes available at Vlaio. For setting up research projects between several European partners, EU programmes such as Horizon 2020 are the ideal funding channels.

Project funding
FWO Research Project
FWO Research Grant
FWO Strategic Basic Research Projects
FWO Applied Biomedical Research
Vlaio Landbouwtrajecten
BOF New initiatives
Horizon 2020


Hasselt University encourages mobility of its researchers. The spreading of knowledge can lead to new insights, developments and applications.

  • When a researcher at Hasselt University plans a stay abroad as part of his/her research, this is referred to as outgoing mobility.
  • The reverse situation of incoming mobility, in which international researchers are invited in Belgium, can also bring added value to research at Hasselt University.
  • Intersectoral mobility, exchanges and cooperation with industry, is being increasingly encouraged.
  • There are also various funding programmes for mobility to a specific country.


Combining knowledge and expertise in research domains can lead to new insights and ideas, and can also increase a research projects's national and international reputation. There are various programmes specifically aimed at fostering scientific cooperation with other partners. These other partners can be national or international researchers. The grants typically cover the cost of network activities (conferences and seminars, publications, joint workshops,...).

FWO Scientific Research Community (WOG)
FWO International Coordination Action (ICA)
H2020 - Marie Sklodowksa Curie Innovative Training Networks (ITN)

Organisation of conferences

Scientific conferences and workshops are important tools for the dissemination of knowledge and the building and maintaining  of national and international contacts and networks. As well as taking time, organising conferences  is also costly. Funding possibilities are therefore available.

FWO Organisation of Scientific Meeting
Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts (KVAB)


Hasselt University receives regular invitations to nominate its researchers (professors, PhD candidates, postdocs, etc.) for scientific awards and chairs.
Some of the well-known national and international awards and chairs are:

Francqui Chair
International Francqui Professor
FWO Scientific prizes
International Balzan Prize Foundation
Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts - Awards 

Which financing programmes exist

This page and the following pages offer an overview of the most important and most-used financing programmes, bundled per financier. When you click through to the financing channel, you will each time get an overview of the possible programmes, including the deadline for submitting applications and, when possible, also the application forms.

For an overview of lesser-known European funding programmes, you can consult the VLEVA EU funding guide. The guide will offer you information on the aim of the funding programmes, budget,... Or discover open calls via the VLEVA EU calls website.

Need help?

Writing a concrete funding application has to be the result of thorough information gathering and strategic thinking. To prepare yourself optimally for your own funding application, you can call upon the support of the Directorate Research, Library and Internationalisation.  The office will happily provide you with strategic advice in relation to your research career in general and can help you with the preparation and revision of your application text.

Via the United Kingdom Research Office (UKRO), of which Hasselt University is a member, Hasselt University researchers can make use of the UKRO services regarding European research.

In concrete terms, you can turn to help from the Directorate Research, Library and Internationalisation for the following:
• information sessions regarding research financing,...
• advice about strategic research and financing options
• administrative and strategic support regarding funding applications
• revision of application texts

Since 2008, Hasselt University has been, like most other Flemish universities, a member of the United Kingdom Research Office (UKRO). The UKRO is a service-oriented organisation, specialising in all aspects of European research and research policy.

What exactly does membership entail for Hasselt University?

  • All Hasselt University members of staff have access to the UKRO website, where they can find the most up-to-date information regarding European research. You can also find the practical details, work plans, deadlines, early announcements of calls for proposals and so on of the different European funding programmes there.
  • In addition, UKRO functions as a point of contact for questions regarding funding, Horizon 2020, European research policy and other topics for both the Directorate Research, Library and Internationalisation and Hasselt University researchers. UKRO offers personal assistance and advice regarding project preparation and project management.
  • UKRO offers all Hasselt University researcher a free course on proposal writing and project management. In addition, UKRO members can make use of the UKRO meeting rooms in Brussels free of charge.
  • The UKRO newsletter keeps you informed about the current European research programmes and the latest policy decisions in relation to your research fields at a frequency of your choice.

How to sign up for the UKRO newsletter? 
It is very easy to sign up for the UKRO newsletter. Via the 'create profile' link on its website, you can register and subsequently sign up for the 'tailored newsletter'. To do so, you need to fill out the registration form, entering your personal details, the type of information you wish to receive, how often you want to receive the e-mails and the amount of information to be included within the e-mails (only titles, titles with a short summary, or a full detailed description).