With the ERA-NET scheme the European Commission aims to coordinate national and regional research programmes and to make researchers from various countries in Europe (and beyond) cooperate with each other.

To do so research funding organisations from the participating countries, such as FWO in Flanders and BELSPO at the federal policy level in Belgium, set up an ERA-NET and organise joint calls to which researchers from the participating countries may subscribe together.

The themes around which ERA-NETs are organized are very diverse: biodiversity, cardiovascular diseases, antimicrobial resistance, the bio-economy, offshore wind energy, transport, environment & health, smart urban futures, etc.

Participation of European countries and research funding organizations varies per network. FWO for instance makes a selection of networks in which it wants participate from a list with ERA-NETs that have been approved by the European Commission. In doing so it applies several selection criteria including the relevance of the network for Flemish scientific research and whether there is sufficient expertise available in Flanders in order to make a fair chance to be successful in a joint European call.

An overview of networks in which FWO participates can be found on the FWO website.

For whom?

The joint calls of the various ERA-NETs are open to researchers from the participating countries. Researchers are part of a transnational research consortium and are funded by the participating national or regional organisation where they qualify for funding. The organisations from which Flemish researchers may get funding are FWO, Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship (VLAIO) and BELSPO. Calls in which VLAIO is involved, usually target in the first place companies (SMEs and/or large companies).

Duration and budget 

If FWO supports joint calls, it funds max. 200.000 EUR for one research project of three years. BELSPO funds in principle no more than 250.000 EUR per project.

Application procedure

All applicants (i.e. coordinators of the consortia) need to submit directly with the ERA-NET concerned (1 global submission per project).

In principle Flemish applicants do not need to submit a proposal to FWO. For calls in which VLAIO is involved, Flemish applicants are in principle required to submit additional information to VLAIO.

Often the application procedure constitutes of 2 steps: submission of a pre-proposal and submission of a full proposal.

An overview of open and announced calls (in which FWO participates) can be found on the FWO website.