The doctoral grant for strategic basic research (Dutch abbrev.: SBO) issued by the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO) is a four-year grant composed of 2 two-year cycles. The grants are awarded after written submission followed by a (demanding) oral examination in front of a specialized jury. This specific FWO grant program was profoundly revised in 2009 and is now open to graduates in all master degrees. The doctoral projects are to relate to research topics with long-term economic finality, which gives IWT grants for SBO a clear complementary character to the FWO fellowships. Two types of topics are accepted: topics that offer potential for applications in companies or in an entire branch, or topics that are aligned with one of the six thematic strategic clusters as formulated by the Flemish Council for Science and Innovation (VRWI).
Applications can be submitted by people belonging to the European Economic Area (= EU + Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland) and Switzerland. There is one call/year (open from approximately 01.08 up to 15.09) and the start date is in the period 1 October – 1 January of the next year, each time on the first day of the month.
Usually, the Research Council of the University of Antwerp awards a (limited) number of umbrella grants (financed through the University Research Fund) to the best candidates who applied for a FWO doctoral grant, and were given a priority ranking but were not appointed by the Board of Governors for budgetary reasons.