Baekeland mandates support basic research that – if successful – have clear economic objectives and offers added value to the company involved in the project. The research should be directed towards obtaining a doctorate (PhD) diploma and meet the criteria for doctoral research. In other words, the project is characterized as strategic basic research with an economic finality, that is innovative and provides the PhD student with ample intellectual properties. It aims to build up scientific or technological knowledge as a basis for economic applications.
A Baekeland mandate is a project that is assigned to a ‘consortium’ involving at least a Phd-candidate, a Flemish company and a Flemish university. Other types of knowledge centres (or research institutes, strategic research centres, higher education institutions/university colleges, etc.) can also act as host organisations as far as they cooperate with an academic promotor affiliated with a Flemish university.
At least five partners are involved in a Baekeland mandate:
- VLAIO which grants the mandate;
- a company with activities in Flanders, that acts as the main applicant, and is responsible for co-financing. The company appoints an industrial mentor to this project;
- the mandate holder;
- the knowledge centre with which the mandate holder is affiliated (a university, research centre, strategic research centre, higher education institution/university college, etc.);
- the academic promotor at the Flemish university, responsible for the scientific supervision.
The mandate holder can be an employee of the company or an employee of a knowledge centre (university or research centre). The programme is open to all candidates who are admitted to the PhD programme by a Flemish university. VLAIO does not impose any additional restrictions. Therefore, this funding programme is open to all nationalities and to all academic disciplines.
A project proposal should be defined and developed in consultation with all partners: the company (companies), the knowledge centre(s) and the candidate mandate holder.
The partners must sign a mutual cooperation agreement. This cooperation agreement is preferably appended when submitting the project application; if not, at least a term sheet outlining the mutual agreement between the partners concerning the intellectual property rights on the project results must be signed and submitted before the date stated in the call document.
Applications may be submitted in either Dutch or English. The defence before a panel of experts will be in the language of the application.
The evaluation is based on a template document which can be found on the website.
The duration of a Baekeland mandate is in principle four years. It is possible to obtain a Baekeland mandate for part-time staffing (minimum 50% staffing) as long as the prospects for achieving a PhD diploma remain realistic. In the case of part-time staffing, the duration of the project will be extended so that the total funding corresponds to 4 full-time man-years.
A Baekeland mandate provides funding for staffing costs, overhead costs and operational costs in relation to one specific employee (the mandate holder). The standard rules of the VLAIO cost model apply a priori. The sum of the non-pay-roll costs (= overhead + operational costs) is maximum € 50,000 per FTE (or maximum € 200,000 for the whole project period).
The funding percentage depends on the size of the company and equals 50% for a large company, 60% for a medium-sized company and 70% for a small company (SE). The project can get 10% extra support if there is a well-balanced collaboration between several independent companies of which none of the companies contributes more than 70% of the cost, and at least one partner is an SME. VLAIO pays the subsidy to the company responsible for the full reimbursement of its partners.