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Research Project

Eligibility requirements for the research project grant

Innovation funding is granted subject to strict conditions throughout Europe in order to avoid unfair competitive advantages. The Flemish government aims to select only projects that will have a positive impact on Flanders, while ensuring the funding is used and managed with due care.

The VLAIO agency has translated the above into a set of eligibility requirements and a set of criteria that projects must meet in order to be considered for grants. 

Eligibility: which organisations can apply for research projects?

  • All enterprises that are legal entities and have operational activities in Flanders (or at least a clear impetus to do so). 

  • Non-profit organisations and organisations governed by public law that are a legal entity and have operational activities in Flanders (or at least a clear impetus to do so) and perform economic activities.

Eligibility: Climate plan

For projects submitted from 1 October 2022, an outline of the climate plan must be attached to the subsidy application if the (co-) applicant:

  • is a large enterprise according to the European SME definition
  • is an energy-intensive enterprise, i.e. has a final energy consumption of more than 0.1 PJ (petajoule) at the site level. This will consider the location in Flanders where most of the valorisation of the requested subsidy will take place. Final energy consumption is the final net amount of energy delivered to the site without taking into account conversion and transport losses (power plants, refineries, etc.) as defined in Annex 1 of the Energy Policy Agreements for the period 2023-2026. For your information: 0.1 PJ final energy consumption corresponds to 27.8 GWh of electricity, gas, fuel oil, diesel, heat, etc.             

The outline of the climate plan is an eligibility requirement.

Eligibility: which projects are eligible?


  • applying for funding amounting to at least €100,000 and up to €3,000,000 
  • with adequate information in the application document to start the evaluation, including the substantiated business case 
  • with a brief description of both the project and the impact; where the maximum number of pages is subject to the following strict limits: 
    • project description: maximum of 40 pages 
    • impact: maximum of 10 pages + 5 additional pages per additional business partner (subcontractors do not count) 
    • for example: for a project with 2 business partners, the project description is limited to 40 pages, and the impact to 15 pages. 
  • in principle with a maximum duration of 3 years (unless specific motivation is provided) 
  • starting at the earliest on the first of the month following the submission 
  • the application is prepared in 1 language: either Dutch or English 
  • each applicant has cumulatively been allocated no more than €8,000,000 in funding in the current calendar year (or €12,000,000 if projects are based on a partnership with SMEs or an (international) partnership) 

If the eligibility criteria are not met upon submission, remedies may be available in some cases. If the criteria have still not been met five working days after the request for additional information, the application for support will be declared ineligible. 

Content: what requirements should a research project meet? 

Research projects essentially consist of activities that develop new knowledge, insights and skills in a critical and systematic way. The step that you take with the project in relation to the existing knowledge of the partners and the accessible state of the art in the domain or sector in which your company is active or that will valorise the results, must be clearly defined in your application. 

The project addresses key challenges and uncertainties. You have investigated the potential problems and identified potential research tracks to solve them. Project objectives must be clear and verifiable. You efficiently execute the project and all resources, both amount and type, are substantiated in relation to the project plan. 

For any development activities within the project, you must also justify the challenges (distinction from normal business activities and routine improvements). 

Content: what impact do we expect from your research project? 

The knowledge you will develop must eventually translate into a clear competitive advantage and contribute to a broader process of change in your company: diversification, transition to other business models or activities, break-through innovations, etc. There is a positive economic (in the form of employment and investment) impact in Flanders and anchoring of the company in Flanders. Social impact and spill-overs to the broader innovation eco-system (knowledge institutions, other companies in the value chain, partners) are also valuable. 

Your application should contain adequate information and realistic prospects to convince us of the value. It must be clear when the project can be considered successful and what the post-project steps will be. All possible obstacles in the follow-up process, as well as potential solutions, should be identified.



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