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Baekeland mandates

How to apply for a Baekeland mandate

The application form must be submitted through the online application form. Subsequently, VLAIO will assess this application.

A consortium can apply for a Baekeland mandate at any time. However, VLAIO only decides which projects will receive funding and which will not at two specific moments a year. As a result, VLAIO has set two submission deadlines in the course of each calendar year.

The dates are as follows (indicative!):

Call Deadline for submission Decision
Call 1 March July
Call 2 September December

For each call, the exact dates for submitting the proposals will be published at this website.

Within 14 workdays after the final submission date, VLAIO will decide whether your project is eligible for a Baekeland mandate. The decision whether to support your project will be made within 90 working days from the date the application has been declared eligible.

Application form

The project application must be made electronically. Each partner will be asked to fill in certain forms. This can be done individually, but at the end all the forms have to be submitted by a legal representative of that partner.

The basic information that must be included in these forms is (the project proposal should be defined and developed in consultation with all partners: the company (companies), the knowledge centre(s) and the candidate mandate holder):

  • Innovation goal: a concise summary with emphasis on the objectives and the intended results; fit of the research within the innovation strategy of the company;
  • Project description: positioning, reason(s) + setting up objectives, approach + work programme;
  • Intended applications and valorisation;
  • Guidance: description of how a project will fit with the expertise provided by the academic supervisor and the industrial mentor;
  • Budget;
  • CV of the candidate mandate holder;
  • Declaration of intent by the knowledge centre and the company regarding the availability of support and infrastructure, and agreements about the future use of the results, including agreements on intellectual property (term sheet or cooperation agreement).

The innovation goal will be integrally included in the funding agreement and will be used at the end of the project to determine to what extent the set objectives were achieved. This is one of the reasons why it is necessary to delineate the objectives as clearly as possible, to ensure that they are concrete and verifiable and to include as many quantitative milestones as possible, if appropriate. Changes to the work programme within the scope of the innovation goal do not require an adjustment of the agreement.

Applications may be submitted in either Dutch or English. The defence before a panel of experts will be in the language of the application.


Eligibility is based on formal criteria:

  • The company must have a registered office in Flanders. Entities that do not have their seat in Flanders, but do envision sufficient valorisation in Flanders in the future can submit an application, conditional to an exceptional permission from VLAIO.
  • At the moment of the submission, the company is no ‘undertaking in difficulty’.
  • The various partners, especially the company, the knowledge centre (university, research centre, higher education institute/ college university, etc.), the mandate holder and the scientific supervisor are known at the time of the application. The company and the knowledge centre agree with the execution of the activities.
  • An industrial mentor is appointed by the company for supervising the mandate holder. If the research is carried out in a research institute which does not assign PhD diplomas itself, but for this purpose cooperates with a scientific supervisor affiliated with a university, then a supervisor is also required in the knowledge centre.
  • The university with which the supervisor is affiliated has to accept the candidate to do doctoral research.
  • The intentions with regard to intellectual property and use of the results are known. A signed declaration of intent (term sheet) or a cooperation agreement is required. In the absence of such a signed term sheet or cooperation agreement at the deadline for the submission of a project proposal, VLAIO can declare an application conditionally eligible and already initiate the assessment. However, if VLAIO does not possess the term sheet or cooperation agreement at the deadline for the submission of the term sheet (as stipulated on the website), the project application will be declared ineligible and the process initiated provisionally will be stopped.
  • There is no limit on the number of mandates that a company can apply for. An individual researcher can only be presented twice as a candidate mandate holder within an application for a Baekeland mandate.
  • In the course of the eligibility analysis, VLAIO has the right to request additional information about official aspects, such as the status of the company in relation to social security (RSZ) contributions, the financial means of the company (to check whether the company has sufficient financial resources at its disposal, is up to date with all government and permit requirements), etc.

VLAIO may deny eligibility if the company is not abiding by the regulations and/ or cannot substantiate elements of financial means. The processing of an application for a Baekeland mandate only starts after it has been declared eligible.


After VLAIO has made a decision on the eligibility of a project, candidate mandate holders will be invited for an oral defence of their project before a panel of experts.

Each application is rated on the basis of two assessment dimensions: the scientific quality and the utilisation quality (=potential for economic and social utilisation). Based on the project proposal and on the interview with the candidate mandate holder, the panel of experts will evaluate for each dimension the competences of the candidate and the quality of the project proposal. The assessment is therefore based on four sets of criteria.

The evaluation criteria are explained in more detail in document ‘Score grid’.

In this process, the decision committee always takes a decision on whether a project can or cannot be funded on the basis of substantive scores. If the available budget is insufficient to support all proposals worthy of funding, the highest rated proposals within the available budget will be funded.





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