Since 2007, Flanders has been funding medium- and large-scale research infrastructure for fundamental and strategic basic research through the Hercules Foundation. Since 1 January 2016 this funding channel has been absorbed by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO).
Research infrastructure comprises all facilities and sources that promote the performance of cross-border and strategic basic research across all scientific disciplines. Besides scientific infrastructure, this includes collections, natural habitats, corpora and databases (including digital opening up).
The subsidies for medium-scale infrastructure (150.000 to 1 million euro) are distributed among the five Flemish associations according to the infrastructure allocation key. The associations then each organize an internal competitive call supervised by the FWO. Subsidies for large-scale infrastructure are assigned on a competitive basis following an open call organized by the FWO.
Since 2018 the FWO also organizes a call for international research infrastructure (IRI), including ESFRI and Big Science. The International Research Infrastructure (IRI) programme governing the participation in and/or funding of international research infrastructure aims to support the Flemish participation in and/or funding of international investment initiatives that are carried out at large-scale international or supranational facilities to which the Flemish Government contributes and/or whose strategic importance for Flanders can be demonstrated.
Researchers at the University of Antwerp have succeeded in acquiring the following equipment: