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					                      COUNTRY REPORT

                      Social Sciences and
                            Humanities in

                              2010 Report

European Commission
The Social Sciences and Humanities are influential for all Member States and for the
European Commission. Thousands of researchers carry out research in a vast array
of themes of national and international interest. The do so taking into account their
organizational structures, framework conditions, as well as cultural preferences and
political priorities in their countries.
METRIS is an initiative of the Directorate-General for Research (DG RTD) which
aims to become an entry and reference point for the social sciences and humanities
landscapes in Europe. Commissioned by the Science, Economy and Society
Directorate of DG RTD and performed via the Metris-Network, it pursues the
collection, regular updating, and analysis of information on social sciences and
humanities at national and European level.
METRIS products
All products are brought together under the website It provides
METRIS country profiles which cover currently 27 countries from the EU Member
States and Associated countries to the European Union’s Research Framework
Programme. The website provides access to the following services and publications,
as they become available:
Regularly updated country profiles of SSH systems in 27 countries;
        a news service;
        annual monitoring reports for all countries covered;
        an annual synthesis report bringing together key points;
        links to relevant reports and websites
This document has been prepared within the framework of an initiative of the
European Commission’s Research Directorate-General, Science, Economy and
Society Directorate, Unit Horizontal aspects and coordination. The network is
managed by Technopolis Consulting Group Belgium.
The present report was prepared by Dr. Vincent Duchêne, Expert in Science,
Technology         and        Innovation     Policy        at     Idea    Consult
( Valuable commenting was provided by Jenny
Vandenbranden (NCP SSH-Brussels Capital Region), Elena Phalet (NCP SSH-
Federal Services for Science Policy) and Monique Septon (NCP SSH-French
speaking Community). The contents and views expressed in this report do not
necessarily reflect the opinions of the Member States or the European Commission.
The report covers the period from May 2009 to March 2010.
Copyright of the document belongs to the European Commission. Neither the
European Commission, nor any person acting on its behalf, may be held responsible
for the use to which information contained in this document may be put, or for any
errors which, despite careful preparation and checking, may appear.

1. Country Overview                                                           5

  1.1 Overview of SSH System                                                  5
    1.1.1 Brief Description of the structure of the SSH research system       5
    1.1.2 Overview of structure                                               6
  1.2 Policy challenges and developments                                      6
    1.2.1 Main societal challenges translated into SSH research               6
    1.2.2 New SSH policy developments                                         7
2. Policy Setting System                                                      8

  2.1 Government policy making and coordination                               8
    2.1.1 Policy formulation and coordination                                 8
    2.1.2 SSH policy Advice                                                   9
    2.1.3 Main implementing bodies                                        10
  2.2 Impacting factors                                                   16
    2.2.1 Policy fields influencing SSH policies                          16
    2.2.2 Influence of European Developments                              17
    2.2.3 Relevance of European SSH research                              18
    2.2.4 Impact of evaluations                                           20
  2.3 Important policy documents                                          21
  2.4 Thematic priorities at national level                               22
  2.5 Important research programmes                                       22
3. Funding System                                                         24

  3.1 Overview of funding flows                                           24
  3.2 National public SSH research funding                                24
    3.2.1 Overview of funding importance                                  24
    3.2.2 Institutional funding                                           25
    3.2.3 Individual funding                                              26
    3.2.4 Programme Funding                                               26
  3.3 Private research funding                                            26
  3.4 Foundations/ not-for-profit funding                                 26
  3.5 European and international funding                                  26
4. Performing System                                                      28

  4.1 Overview of the perfomers                                           28
  4.2 Higher Education Institutions                                       28
    4.2.1 HEIs as education performers                                    28
    4.2.2 HEIs as research performers                                     29
  4.3 Public Research Organisations                                       30
  4.4 Private research performers                                         30

4.5 Research performance                30
  4.5.1 Scientific publications         30
  4.5.2 International Cooperation       30
  4.5.3 Main prizes                     31

1. Country Overview
1.1 Overview of SSH System

1.1.1 Brief Description of the structure of the SSH research system
Belgium is unique among the EU Member States in that it is the only country where,
since the early 1990s, research policies have been fully decentralised across several
governments, each enjoying complete autonomy of decision-making power in these
matters. Primary jurisdiction for research policy lies within the three regions and the
three communities, while the federal state retains some competences as an
exception to this rule. There is no hierarchy of powers between the federal
government and the other authorities.
Governmental responsibilities are arranged as follows:
•   the regions (Flanders, Wallonia, Brussels-Capital) have authority on research
    policy for economic development purposes, thus encompassing technological
    development and applied research;
•   the communities (French-, Flemish- and German-speaking) are responsible for
    education and fundamental research at universities and higher education
•   the federal state retains the responsibility for research areas requiring
    homogeneous execution at the national level, and research in execution of
    international agreements (e.g. space research, defence research).
Within this particularly complex institutional setting, the part dealing with research
policy in the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) lies mainly within the
Communities and their subordinated institutions, as SSH research is mainly
conducted within the higher education institutions in Belgium. Regions and Federal
Government are mainly involved with technological and/or industrial research.
Looking at the organogram of the full Belgian research system below, the actors at
the political or operational level dealing with SSH research policy are therefore in
priority order the French speaking Community (and its Fund for Scientific Research
(FRS-FNRS)) (green block in the middle of the graphic in the next section) and the
Flemish Government (and its Fund for Scientific Research-Flanders –FWO-
Vlaanderen). In Flanders, the regional government and the government of the
Flemish Community have merged into one (light blue block on the right of the
graphic in the next section). Due to its small size, the German-speaking community
does not carry out any policy in the research area.

1.1.2 Overview of structure

1.2 Policy challenges and developments

1.2.1 Main societal challenges translated into SSH research
In terms of policy challenges, SSH research in Belgium has increasingly to deal with
some important developments which structurally revise the way SSH research is
•   SSH more than ever at the heart of the knowledge-based economy: the growing
    importance of ‘science studies’ for example in recent studies is a direct
    consequence of the increasingly central position of science and knowledge in
    innovation. This exptends to the whole range of SSH whose significance for
    growth, competitiveness and innovation has been increasingly recognised. This
    unavoidably implies structural adaptation in the way SSH research is conducted
    and organised;
•   Increasing importance of interdisciplinarity and internationalisation: the rising
    new global challenges (pandemics, global warming, ageing etc) further foster the
    emergence of cross-cutting research agendas in the SSH;
•   Increasing importance of evaluations and self-reporting, including the need to
    develop better assessment practices (given the lower reliability of traditional
    bibliometric evaluation technique in the SSH);
•   Increasing importance of non-academic institutions such as SMEs or NGOs for
    the performance of SSH research
Due to the division of Belgium in various regional subsystems, the basically
horizontal, generic research policies at regional level, and the ‘bottom-up driven
character’ of SSH research in particular, the take-up of societal challenges by or
upcoming themes in SSH research in Belgium is not easily traceable. However the

following four (clusters of) societal challenges definitely have a horizontal impact on
all sub-disciplines of SSH and tend to re-orient research agendas:
•   Ageing: no longer implies incapacity or confinement, isolation. Seniors are
    increasingly considered as a new source of creativity, market, knowledge,
    maintaining or developing new social ties, and contributing to a general
    enhancement of quality of life.
•   Migration flows, new articulations between the religious and the political, new
    forms of integration in political life. Belgium has been confronted to large
    immigration flows from (chronologically) Southern Europe, North Africa and
    Eastern Europe. The more recent waves of immigration (mainly in Flanders)
    have triggered a whole debate on the social and political integration of these
    new citizens, with an impact in various streams of SSH.
•   New forms of governance, national and regional identity: The various ‘Reforms
    of the State’ that Belgium has experienced over the past 40 years have triggered
    the interest of many researchers in Law, Social and Political Sciences, as well
    as in Economics. The recent political crisis of 2007-2009 has shown that
    Belgium is now at a crucial turning point in its history. The profound, structural
    changes that are currently debated with regard to the future configuration of the
    state and its federal entities have triggered research activities in various fields
    such as in political sciences (new governance models) or in economics
    (economic and budgetary consequences of a state reform for all federal entities,
    economic history of Belgium and its regions).
•   Knowledge-driven, green economy: for a small, open and advanced economy
    such as Belgium the source of future competitiveness more than ever is
    innovation, knowledge generation and human capital. This awareness in policy
    cycles has gone together with the conviction that any future economic
    development should be ‘greener’. SSH, and more particularly the ‘science of
    science’ (innovation economics, industrial economics, sociology of science etc),
    and its related research themes, has therefore gained ground substantially over
    the past 10 years in Belgium.

1.2.2 New SSH policy developments
Since mid-2007, there have been no new trends as such in research policy in
Belgium, neither from a general point of view nor with regard to research in SSH.
The major developments build on the trends of the past years, including:
•   increased use of fiscal instruments to address the high cost of labour for
    researchers (federal responsibility);
•   increased concern for an efficient functioning of S&T intermediary systems, with
    the implementation of assessments and monitoring procedures (in both Wallonia
    and Flanders);
•   growing attention towards internationalisation of the research system: openness
    of research programmes; conclusions of international research agreements (e.g.
    between Flanders and the Netherlands); and development of programmes to
    attract researchers from abroad (federal, Flemish and French-speaking

2. Policy Setting System
2.1 Government policy making and coordination

2.1.1 Policy formulation and coordination
Since research policy in Belgium is dealt with at the level of the communities and
regions (involvement at the federal level is mainly restricted to fiscal measures),
federal research policy is mainly generic by nature and not SSH specific. The
thematic approach at the federal level is mainly related to federal policy
competences like defence, aerospace, marine matters and climate change, even
though the areas of competence of the Federal Authority include subjects which
benefit from research in the areas of SSH (such as employment, justice, social
security, migration, international affairs and public health). Moreover, the Belgian
Science Policy Office also carries out actions that fall within the jurisdiction of federal
and federate authorities, thanks to specific agreements between the Federal
Government and the Communities and/or Regions (e.g. the research programme
“Science for a Sustainable Development”).
In the Flemish and French-speaking communities, research policy relevant to SSH
can also be characterised as generic and mainly bottom-up. In both communities,
French and Flemish, most of the budget for research is channelled through the
universities that have a great deal of freedom to choose the fields of application. In
addition, both the Flemish Fund for Scientific research (FWO) and the French-
speaking Fund for Scientific Research (FRS-FNRS), are important agencies when it
comes to research in SSH (even though some topics in the area of SSH are only
funded at the federal level). FWO, FRS-FNRS and federal programmes use primarily
horizontal funding instruments without thematic priorities in which research quality is
a key evaluation criterion for projects, with the organisation of ex-ante, mid-term and
ex-post evaluation carried out by panels of international experts.
Both in Flanders as well as in the French speaking Community, the Ministers of
Science (and/or Innovation) are the coordinating and initiating Ministers for most
programmes, however formal and informal coordination mechanisms are often in
place. In the French speaking Community, the responsibility for R&D lies with the
Minister of Education and Scientific Research. Implementation of this policy is
placed under the General Administration for Education and Scientific Research
(AGERS). In the Flemish community/Flemish region the Flemish Minister for
Economy Enterprise, Science, Innovation and Foreign Trade governs R&D policy.
Design and implementation are carried out by the Department of Economics,
Science and Innovation (EWI), formerly Science and Innovation Administration
With regard to coordination between federal entities, the Inter-Ministerial Conference
on Science Policy is the body in charge of consultation and development of
cooperation agreements between the federal, regional and community authorities. It
has two committees: one for international matters and another for matters of national

2.1.2 SSH policy Advice
In the Flemish Community of Belgium, it is the Flemish Science and Policy
Council (VRWB), comprising representatives from academia, industry and
government, which influences R&D policy (among which are included the SSH
fields). The VRWB has been authorised to study, formulate recommendations and
give advice on any matter relating to science and technology policy, such as:
general policy ideas and priorities of science policy; major trends in science policy;
and the impact of science policy in developments in social, economic, technological
and cultural fields. Each year, the VRWB analyses and discusses the Flemish
budgetary policy for science and technology, and submits its recommendations to
the Flemish government. The latter is legally bound to consult the VRWB prior to all
decrees and resolutions concerning matters relevant to science policy and affecting
the bodies responsible for the same. Also, all important actions and initiatives in the
field of science and technology policy must be submitted to the VRWB for advice.
The council acts as the Flemish discussion-partner and may also be associated as
Flanders' representative with similar federal and international advisory bodies. The
VRWB has 20 members: six representatives from universities, six appointed by the
Flemish Economic Council (consisting of three employers and three members with a
union background); four representatives appointed by the government; and four
government officials (from the administrations and agencies).
In Wallonia, the Walloon Council of Science Policy (CPS), consisting of
representatives from industry, trade unions, academia and research centres, advises
and makes recommendations to the government of the Walloon Region on R&D
policies (on its own initiative or by request of the government). Its activities cover
mainly fields such as: management tools and practices with regard to the
management of support to research, participation in European Programmes,
implementation of Structural Funds (research related), evaluation of technological
priorities etc.
In the region of Brussels, this role is played by the Brussels-Capital council for
Science Policy, comprising French-speaking and Flemish-speaking representatives
from government, trade unions, academia, research centres and industry in
The new government of the French speaking Community (July 2009) intends to
create a joint council of science policy between the Walloon region and the region of
Brussels. It will be composed of the members of the Walloon council and the
French-speaking members of the Brussels-Capital council for Science Policy.
Finally, the Federal Council for Science Policy, including representatives from all
state entities, advises the federal government and is a locus of coordination and
communication between the various state entities on S&T and R&D policy matters. It
carries out its mission within the framework of matters that:
    1) fall within federal authority jurisdiction,
    2) are the subject of the international or supranational agreements and acts to
       which Belgium is obligated, and
    3) relate to actions and programmes that extend beyond the interests of a
       Community or a Region in Belgium when the federal authority wishes to take
       initiatives, set up structures and provide funding for scientific research in
       areas under the jurisdiction of a Community or Region. In these cases, prior
       to its decision the federal authority submits a collaboration proposal to the
       Communities and/or to the Regions, after advice from the Federal Council
       for Science Policy
On the informal side, there is influence from interest groups, which include cross-
sectorial national and regional employers’ federations, and industrial federations
such as the federation of technology industries, Agoria, and research centres

federations such as ACCORD in Wallonia. In Flanders the most important advisory
board with respect to science and innovation policy is the VRWB, the Flemish
Science Policy Council. Similarly, and in particular with regard to SSH research,
universities have a strong role in research policy making.

2.1.3 Main implementing bodies
Federal Level
With regard to the federal level, three kinds of SSH-related actions are implemented:
a) Policy-relevant actions - multi-annual, topic-specific research programmes that
aim at providing scientific evidence to support the decision making processes of
federal government, such as the programme 'Society and Future'. This programme,
totally dedicated to SSH, includes 11 research themes and aims at increasing the
knowledge needed for decision-making at the Belgian federal level. Projects have to
correspond to certain criteria, such as the fact that subjects have to be studied
throughout Belgium, that the gender perspective has to be integrated in the
research, that the research should lead to results that are useful for the preparation
of policy decisions and that each project will have its own steering committee (a
forum of potential users of the research results and of other researchers which gives
feedback to the research team). All the projects must also have a strong empirical
character and teams are required to carry out research of an international standard.
The programme is open to the participation of foreign partners (during the last call
30% of the budget for personnel and operations of the Belgian partners was
available for to this co-operation) and includes a co-operation agreement with the
FNR from Luxembourg. As a result of the 2nd call 21 projects were recently selected
(Budget and length: 16 Mio € for the years 2005-2011; number of projects funded
(including those to be funded in 2008 and 2009): 36) (for more information:
b) Policy-driven actions - multi-annual research programmes responding to concrete
needs of the public authorities, as is the case with 'AGORA', 'DRUGS' and 'Action in
support of the federal authority's strategic priorities'.
AGORA is a programme dedicated to create/transform/link administrative records so
that they can be used by social scientists. It follows a bottom-up approach in a win-
win perspective: government bodies issue projects. After approval by an inter-
departemental committee, a call for tender to implement these projects is launched
to research departments. The added-value for public administrations is to have
better data for their own purposes (support to decision-making, monitoring...), the
added-value for the research community is the access to better/new data. Since
1999, more that 80 projects have been developed contributing significantly to create
a research infrastructure for social sciences in Belgium based on administrative data
(Budget (yearly): 2.5 Mio €) (for more information:
'DRUGS' is a research programme that exists since 2001. Subjects of the 35
research projects comprise amongst others substitution therapy, treatment
evaluation, dual disorders, cannabis use, drugs related nuisance and crime,
chemical profiling and public expenditure. The participating teams include SSH
researchers (psychologists, criminologists ...) as well as others (e.g. toxicologists)
(budget (yearly): 0.95 Mio €) (see Belgian Science Policy - Publication).
The programme 'Action in support of the federal authority's strategic priorities' aims
to respond rapidly to the needs of departments of the Federal Authority in terms of
short-term targeted research (duration: 6 to 12 months) and/or investigative actions
pertaining to strategically important domains. This so-called 'horizontal action' is
open to research projects within the range of policy topics mentioned in the
governmental decisions. The research subjects (SSH and other) can be sector-
specific or have a cross-sector approach (budget and length: 3.46 Mio € for the
years 2005-2009; number of projects funded: 25) (see Belgian Science Policy -

c) Basic-research initiatives ('Interuniversity Attraction Poles' -IAP). The IAP
programme aims to promote the formation of interuniversity networks of excellence
in basic research. Each network involves collaboration between university research
teams from the two main linguistic communities. The IAPs cover a wide range of
research fields. There are 9 networks in human sciences involving 58 teams with a
budget of 24.225.000 €. The IAPs are open to the participation of non-Belgian
universities and public research institutions within the European Union. The IAP
programme is monitored by a steering committee (Budget and length: 143 Mio € for
the years 2007 - 12/2011; number of networks funded: 44). The definition of an IAP
is not top-down, on the contrary: it is fully left to the freedom of the researchers
themselves to initiate an IAP.
Besides the above-mentioned programmes, there are other initiatives at the federal
level that are not directly related to SSH but that also support research within the
SSH area, such as the programme 'Science for a Sustainable Development' (see
Regional and communitarian level
In both the Flemish and French speaking Community, SSH research is funded
through the selection of proposal and the allocation of grants by ‘scientific
commissions’, as part of the ‘Fund for Scientific Research’ (FWO-Vlaanderen and
FRS-FNRS). These scientific commissions are organised according to the scientific
sub-discipline (e.g. ‘Law’, ‘Economics’, ‘Social and Political Sciences’). The second
main implementation channel is institutional funding of universities.
French speaking Community
The French Community of Belgium is legally competent in basic research in the
French-speaking part of Belgium. There are no major financing programmes
exclusively dedicated to scientific research in SSH. Hence, the research in SSH is
mainly funded:
•   Through the allowance given by the French Community to universities for their
    operation; it is estimated that 25 % of this allowance is devoted to scientific
•   Through the National Research Scientific Fund (communitarian funding agency);
•   Nonetheless, there are several minor programmes aimed at financing basic
    research: ‘Planned Research Actions’, ‘Special Research Fund’ and Collective
    basic Research programmes due to ministerial initiatives, which are channels to
    support research projects within universities and to establish excellence centres
    within the universities and institutions for higher education. The scientific
    IMPULSE grants (Ulysse) is a new measure launched in 2008 directed towards
    researchers recognised at the international level. 'Wallonia-Brussels
    International' allocates short (one to three months) and long (one to two years)
    doctorate or post-doctorate mobility grants to researchers of the universities of
    the French speaking Community. These programmes are not specific for SSH.

    1) Universities Operating Allowance
Every year, the French Community of Belgium provides universities with an
operating allowance. The universities can freely use the amount received. In 2007
the French Community of Belgium assigned 540 million euros to universities. The
latter generally allocated 25 % of this amount (i.e. 135 million euros) to scientific
research including research activities in SSH. They also use their proper funds and
external resources (research contracts, etc.) to support scientific research in SSH.
For example:
•   The Catholic University of Louvain, one of the largest universities in Wallonia,
    has devoted approximately 27 % of its research budget to research in human
    sciences (57.5 million euros). The C.U.L. is ranked at the 6th place at European
    level in the field of SSH. Consequently, the C.U.L is one of the best non English-
    speaking universities in the world.
•   Another big university of French-speaking Belgium, the Free University of
    Brussels, devotes more or less 25 million euros to scientific research in SSH.

    2) Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique-FNRS (Scientific Research Fund) –
       French-speaking community (budget 2007: 108,85 Mio €)
The F.RS.-FNRS is a research council established in 1928. The founding principle is
the promotion of basic scientific research in the French-speaking Community,
covering all scientific areas. The F.R.S.-FNRS does not host laboratories in its
premises. All research is carried out in universities.
The Fund supports individual researchers by awarding temporary grants, either to
support doctoral research of Ph.D. students or for the remuneration of qualified
researchers, scientific research workers and research managers. These researchers
are closely associated with the educational and scientific work of universities. This
adds up to 1.000 fixed-term contracts and more than 300 permanent contracts. The
F.R.S-FNRS main task is to fund doctoral and post-doctoral mandates, as well as
staff costs and acquisition of research equipment. All F.R.S-FNRS researchers are
located in a Belgian French-community university. The F.R.S-FNRS has 4
associated funds (Medical Research, Nuclear Science, Collective fundamental
research and Agro-industrial research) and covers the whole range of scientific
The resources available to the F.R.S.-FNRS and its associated funds consist of
subsidies granted to them by the French Community and the Federal State. It looks
also for private funds redistributed within the scientific community according to the
same criteria of excellence. The share of F.R.S-FNRS post-doctoral grants in Social
Sciences and Humanities in the total F.R.S-FNRS post-doctoral grants is around
30% (as of October 2006).
The selection of applicants for the grants is performed in peer-review by 32 scientific
committees, whose members are leading national and international scientists in their
respective field. Scientific advice from the experts :strengthens collaboration
between universities, avoids duplication and discourages unnecessary competition.
The scientific committees enjoy a large degree of moral authority. The programme
followed by F.R.S.-FNRS and its associated funds is solely based on scientific
excellence. The F.R.S-FNRS bases its work on a bottom-up approach, which means
that there are no targeted approach calls but exclusively proposals freely created by
the interested researchers or researchers-to-be.

    3) Other Programmes
•   Planned Research Actions (budget: 13 Mio €, 27 % of which is devoted to SSH
    (i.e. 3.5 million euros/year): this programme finances basic research 5-year
    projects (renewable). Universities are free to choose the projects that will be
•   Special Research Fund (budget: 13 Mio € essentially devoted to basic research
    (including research in SSH): allocates more than 13 million euros to the three
    French-speaking academies. This amount is shared out according to a
    distribution key. This special fund can be used to cover research projects
    together with equipment and staff expenses. As in the case of Planned
    Research Actions, universities can choose the projects that will be funded (see
    also: ERAWATCH: Support measure).
•   Collective Basic Research programmes due to ministerial initiative: (budget: +-
    0,5 Mio € 90 % of which being devoted to human sciences (mainly political and
    economic sciences): aims at supporting basic research projects chosen by the
    Minister of Scientific Research.
Flemish speaking Community
    1) Special Research Fund (BOF)
In the Flemish speaking community, the largest share of R&D expenditure is
institutional funding for universities. For a number of years, part of this funding has
been based on research performance and channelled by way of the Special
Research Fund (BOF). BOF funding is allocated to universities via some distribution
criteria, such as the number of PhD students or the number of publications and
citations. Once allocated, the university itself decides how to allocate the money to
projects / grants, based on its own research policy. The ‘Mathusalem funding’
follows the same logic than the Special Research Fund (BOF). ‘Mathusalem’
however provides longer-term funding to excellent researchers in order to make
them less dependent on short-term, project-based funding (see also: ERAWATCH:
Support measure).
    2) Research Foundation Flanders (FWO-Vlaanderen)
The other main channel for support to fundamental research in SSH within
universities occurs through FWO-Vlaanderen, mainly provided via competitions
based on scientific quality. With a yearly budget of around 140 Mio € devoted to
Flemish universities only and based on interuniversity competition the FWO
compares and selects projects belonging to different universities from Flanders. 55%
of the funding is devoted to projects while 45% goes to mandates at pre- and post-
doc level. Some 25% of the projects are in the fields of SSH. At pre-doc level the
humanities are well represented covering about 1/3 of the fellowships but at post-
doc level it is the opposite. Funding is restricted to basic research.
The specificity of the FWO bottom-up approach is that there are no preselected
themes or issues to be funded and the projects financed under SSH disciplines
cover a multitude of topics. The selection of grants for projects belonging to the SSH
disciplines is performed by different scientific committees. This involves not only the
peer-review aspect but also the fact that the scientific committee members are
persons of very high quality aware of the most recent important developments in
their field.
    3) Strategic Basic Research Programme (“Strategisch Basisonderzoek”) (see
       also: ERAWATCH: Support measure)
The Flemish Institute for Science and Technology (IWT) funds applied research
related to society under the SBO programme. It has a budget of 40 Mio €, out of
which 1/3 of the projects has relevance to society (10 Mio €).
    4) Policy Research Centres (Steunpunten) (see also: ERAWATCH: Support

Finally, the Flemish Community also funds 'Policy Research Centres' (Steunpunten)
for policy-support, some of which carrying out applied research in SSH. This Flemish
multi-year programme on applied, policy related research has a series of determined
themes and a budget of 8 Mio €. The programme is devoted to some aspects of the
SSH which are comparable to the ones from the programme 'Society and Future'
from the federal government. Topics covered include society’s transition through
ageing, youth and drugs, justice and youth. It is followed by members of cabinets of
ministers which are interested in the research outcome of the projects.
In 2001-2006 there was a first generation of Policy Research Centres. At the end of
2006 they were evaluated by scientific peer-review (international) and on the base of
policy-relevance of the research done. The participants of the programme are mainly
consortia of universities and higher education institutes. The main ministries and the
administration are closely linked to the research consortia and enter in direct
interaction with research both at the level of the design and the implementation. In
2007-2011 the second generation of PRC’s kept around 80% of the same themes as
the first generation. The budget allocated for the first generation was 250.000 euros
per year for each theme creating a PRC for 6 years; each ministry involved in a PRC
is co-financing the PRC.
Researchers in public institutions are supported by postgraduate grants and a
programme to attract foreign researchers in Flanders (Odysseus), which is
implemented by the Flemish Fund for Research (FWO-Vlaanderen). The Flemish
government has established policy-relevant support research centres at universities,
in charge of producing knowledge, relevant for policy making. The majority of these
research centres originated from the sphere of SSH (e.g. the support centre
'Fiscality and Budget', or the support centre 'Entrepreneurship').
Some of these initiatives however are currently experiencing budgetary pressures.
At the end of October 2009, the Flemish Minister of Education decided to close
down the Policy research centre 'Equal Educational Opportunities' (GOK), which had
been active for a couple of years and carried out applied research in the field of
education science.
In spite of the fact that Communities are the main responsible authorities for
implementing SSH-related research policies, some regions also have some minor
programmes or initiatives impacting on SSH research. For instance, for the Brussels
region, the programme 'Prospective research for Brussels' launched in 2000,
finances research projects on the socio-economic development of the region
(, see also: ERAWATCH: Support measure).
It targets SSH researchers carrying out research projects in Brussels. Since 2004,
specific topics are proposed. In 2009, the topics of mobility, environment, city and
demographic roles, black economy, etc. have been chosen. Funding is provided via
grants. In 2006, the budget amounted to €2.57 million. 12 new projects and 11
extended projects were funded with this money. Together with the programme
'Brains (Back) to Brussels', it finances projects that address specific societal
problems of the Brussels area, such as unemployment, cultural diversity, or mobility.
Through 'Brains (Back) to Brussels', the Brussels region has been financing short
term visits (3 to 12 months) of foreign researchers since 1990. Up to 2008, the
programme was called 'Research in Brussels'. In 2008, it was renamed 'Brains
(Back) to Brussels' and its scope was enlarged.
The Table 1 gives an overview of the several programmes and funds discussed
above on the base of the main distinctions made.


Research                       Flemish-   French-                          Inter-         Intra-
initiatives                                          Basic      Applied
                     Federal   speaking   speaking                         university     university
                                                     research   research
                               region     region                           competition    competition

IAP                  X                               X                     X

Society       and
                     X                                          X          X

Action          in
                     X                                          X          X

DRUGS                X                                          X          X

Agora                X                                          X          X

IAP                  X                               X                     X

RFF-FWO                        X                     X                     X

SRF-BOF                        X                     X                                    X

SBR-SBO                        X                                X          X

Research                       X                                X          X

Planned       res.
                                          X          x                                    x

Special       res.
                                          X          x                                    x

Collective basic
res.                                      X          X                     x

SRF - FNRS                                X          X                     x

2.2 Impacting factors

2.2.1 Policy fields influencing SSH policies
One may consider the following issues as influential in general terms:
•   Fiscal policies (controlled at the federal level): Belgium has a system of tax
    deductions, both for R&D personnel and for R&D investments. It allows federal
    authorities to support universities, public research institutions and companies in
    an indirect manner.
•   Human resources policy, education policy: is the responsibility of the Belgian
    communities. There are concerns that there are not enough incentives for
    graduates to pursue an academic career in R&D. There have been initiatives
    both at the federal and regional/community levels to promote S&T education and
    careers among students through events such as science centres, TV shows,
    open days, science week, etc. The impact of such measures has not been
    measured to date. The other locus of interaction between education policy and
    research policy is with doctoral studies and status of the researchers' issues,
    areas where the two policies are intimately intertwined. Mobility centres to
    provide updated information and personalised assistance to researchers and
    their families in all matters related to their mobility experience in Belgium have
    been set up at the national and regional levels. All universities and large
    research institutes have a mobility centre as well.
•   Innovation policy: Research policy with economic development purposes and
    innovation policy are the responsibility of the Belgian regions. The Flemish
    Region has developed an explicit framework for its innovation policy mainly
    through its Innovation Decree of 1999. There is a close interaction between
    science and innovation policy in Flanders. They are managed by the same
    minister and fall under the administration of the EWI (the Department for
    Economy, Science and Innovation). IWT, the agency with a role in both science
    and innovation policy, has a programme to support Industrial Liaison offices at
    universities and research centres, as well as schemes allowing researchers to
    conduct innovation projects in firms. The Walloon region as adopted an explicit
    framework for innovation policy, in particular via its Décret relatif au soutien de la
    recherche, du développement et de l'innovation en Wallonie, which dates from
    3/07/08 (published 21/10/2008). Wallonia's competence for innovation policy
    matters is shared by the Minister for Research, New Technologies and Foreign
    Affairs (focusing on research and innovation); and the Ministry for Economy and
    Employment (focusing on entrepreneurship), seconded by two departments of
    the Ministry of the Walloon Region, the DGTRE (Directorate General for
    Technologies, Research and Energy) and the Division for Economic Policy of
    the DG for Economy and Employment (DGEE/DPE). The two departments have
    merged into a single department responsible for the economy and research and
    technology in August 2008 which manages most support programmes by itself.
    Nonetheless there are also agencies for promoting innovation and innovation
    networking (AST), coordinating business support intermediaries (ASE) and
    investments (SOWALFIN, SRIW and AWEX/SOFINEX) PRO INNO Europe:
    INNO-Policy Trendchart.

2.2.2 Influence of European Developments
Towards ERA:
In addition to programmes that are international by nature (e.g space research, polar
research), all federal programmes are open to foreign research teams. At the
regional level, even if many measures focus mainly on regional actors, some
schemes do exist to promote international cooperation, most notably with other
European countries. Noticeably, the promotion of international mobility has become
a key focus of many recent policy developments. In particular, Belgium is a key
player in the ERANET schemes (in terms of participants, it comes second after the
Netherlands). Moreover, the Structural Funds are an important source of public
financing in the country (€2.258m over the period 2007-2013) with 61% of the funds
for Wallonia, 32% for Flanders and 4% for Brussels.
With regard to participation in SSH-specific ERA-Nets, Belgian authorities
participated for instance in “HERA” (Humanities in the European Research Area)
(see HERA Humanities in the European Research Area).
The ERA-Net project “HERA” was a partnership between fifteen Humanities
Research Councils across Europe and the European Science Foundation, with the
objective of firmly establishing the humanities in the European Research Area and in
the 6th and 7th Framework Programmes. HERA was designed to deliver new levels
of co-operative research policy and practice in the humanities by embarking on an
ambitious programme of communication, enquiry and sharing of expertise. Over a
period of four years (2005-2009) partners were dedicated to the establishment of
best practice in funding mechanisms, research priorities, humanities infrastructure
and the development of a transnational funding programme.
HERA was financed by the EU 6th Framework Programme’s ERA-NET scheme and
was established from the ERA-NET ERCH (European Network for research Councils
in the Humanities) formulated by the Danish, Dutch and Irish Research Councils. It
was composed of 13 partners and 7 associated organizations. The Flemish Fund for
Scientific research (FWO-Vlaanderen) was partner; its counterpart for the French
Community of Belgium (FNRS) was an associated organisation.
The first task within HERA was to consolidate the network by establishing new
network structures and integrating new partners. By exchanging information and
best practice on issues such as national and international peer review, programme
management, quality and impact assessment, and benchmarking HERA aimed to
ensure the highest excellence in nationally funded research as well as research
conducted within the framework of HERA activities. The development of research
infrastructures within the humanities, which had largely been neglected up until then,
will pave the way for greater efficiency and enable new research perspectives. The
ultimate objective of HERA was to coordinate research programmes in a cumulative
process leading to the initiation of two joint research-funding initiatives (JRP).
The Era-Net project HERA initiated a ‘Joint Research Programme’ (HERA-JRP) with
a first joint call in January 2009 for trans-national Collaborative Projects in two
Humanities themes (“Cultural Dynamics: Inheritance and Identity” and “Humanities
as a Source of Creativity and Innovation”). It is important to note though that the
Belgian partners (FWO and FNRS) from the ERA-Net project did not join the joint
research programme initiative.
Lisbon goals and agenda:
Belgium is fully committed to the Lisbon goals and its policy is focused on
sustainable growth through sound government finances, incentives for innovation,
modernisation of government assets, attention paid to infrastructure and facilities,
high quality education, lower tax and social burden on productive forces, support for
purchasing power, a strong social security and a sustainable environmental policy.
R&D policy is given a high status in the National Reform Programme of Belgium.

The policy is regionalised and incorporates, either directly or indirectly, all the goals
set out in the Lisbon Strategy. The Federal Government has committed itself to
supporting efforts to ensure Belgium meets the 3% target with the further
disaggregation of 1% from public origin and 2% from the private sector.
All areas of the 3% Action Plan have been subject to policy development in Belgium:
•   Public research base and its link to industry: given the strength of universities in
    the Belgian R&D landscape, this is an important goal at regional level and many
    regional policy instruments pursue this goal;
•   Access of SMEs to finance: all regions have specific funding programmes
    targeting SMES and seed capital funds addressing the particular needs of young
    small firm have been established;
•   Fiscal measures for research: beyond long-standing tax deductions, recent
    efforts at federal level have resulted in the establishment of a range of new
    exemptions for the advanced payment on wages for researchers in both public
    and private sectors;
•   Intellectual property and research: changes in IPR rules have helped creation of
    new-technology based firms and the exploitation of research results, and
    financial support for patenting is ensuring easier access in particular for SMEs,
    to intellectual protection of inventions;
•   Research public spending and policy mixes: governments in Belgium have
    increased their public support to research, but the question of the "right" policy
    mix is still a very open issue;
•   Human resources for S&T: this is definitely a key issue for Belgium

2.2.3 Relevance of European SSH research
Several organisations throughout Belgium collect data on participation of research
agencies in the EU R&D Framework programme; this is, for example, a regular
activity of the Walloon Union of Enterprises (UWE) for the Walloon Region. In
Flanders the administration for Economy, Science and Innovation (EWI) is
monitoring the Flemish participation. The General Administration for Education and
Scientific Research (AGERS) of the Ministry of French speaking Community collects
and analyzes data on the participation of universities from the French speaking
Community in FP7.
Based on the 2007 analysis of EWI, Flanders was doing very well in the Sixth
Framework Programme. The total number of participations of Belgium is 1.632
(3.90% of total participations). Belgian partners participated in 19.4% of all projects.
The share of coordinators is 15.7% (against 12.9% for the EU). The financial return
is 4.17% to the FP total, against an expected return of 3.78%. Compared to the
other European countries, Belgium is performing very well (2nd on subsidy/GNP; 3rd
on subsidy per 1.000 inhabitants; 4th on number of participations/GNP and number
of participations/million inhabitants). Approximately 55% of the FP6 subsidies were
for universities and research institutes, and approximately 20% for companies.
With regard to the participation in socio-economic research, the participation (in
terms of absolute funding figures, see figure below) increased between FP4 and
FP6, but mainly between FP5 and FP6. The same holds for the ‘return’ to
participation, even though the participation to the socio-economic research priority
remained below the expected return during FP6 (see EWI, “Flanders in the
European Sixth Framework Programme for Research”, 2009, available at: http://ewi-
In Wallonia, the National Contact Point at the Union Wallonne des Entreprises
(UWE)     collects   statistics  on     participation    of   Walloon    organisations
( During FP6, Walloon organisations
submitted 1.236 proposals out of which 324 were selected for funding. Walloon
organisations led 39 of these projects. In total, 92 Walloon enterprises were active in

these projects (representing 26% of Belgium firms involved in FP6) of which 13 were
coordinating a project. According to the NCP this represents more than a doubling of
the participation by Walloon enterprises compared to FP5 (when only 35 Walloon
firms were funded). In terms of themes, 70% of Walloon participation in FP6 projects
was in fields such as life science, ICT, nanotechnologies and materials and
aeronautics and space.
Based on the 2007 analysis of AGERS, the universities of the French-speaking
community received 1.74 % of the budget for the first call (2007) of the FP7 SSH
thematic priority, which constitutes a very good result considering the size of the
French speaking Community of Belgium. The success rate of the French-speaking
universities for this call was very high (i.e. the share of funded proposals amounted
up to 21% against 14.5% for the EU). The French-speaking universities obtained
their best results in the following activities: “Citizens in the European Union”,
“Interaction and interdependence between world regions and their implications”, and
“Europe and the world” (particularly in the area “conflicts, peace and human rights”).
As already detailed above, the research councils of both the Flemish and the
French-speaking Community of Belgium (i.e. FWO-Flanders and FNRS) participated
in the SSH-specific ERA-Net Project "HERA". The project helped the research
council with integrating and aligning its activities and priorities in an international
context. For researchers in SSH, the impact of such ERA-Nets projects is three-fold:
1) it allows a larger dissemination and validation of methodologies and results; 2) it
fosters the integration in high-levels consortia and networks; 3) it improves the
concordance between original research results and policy needs.
Besides, Belgian researchers co-ordinated various projects under the 'Citizens &
Governance' theme of the FP6 'Social Sciences and Humanities' priority, such
as (see for further details:

Title of the project                 Acronym         University            and     Starting   End
                                                     Department                    Year       Year

Peace processes in community         PEACE-COM       UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE         2004       2007
conflicts: from understanding                        DE LOUVAIN, CENTRE DE
the roots of conflicts to conflict                   POLITIQUE    COMPARÉE

Reflexive governance in the          REFGOV          UNIVERSITÉ CATHOLIQUE         2005       2010
public interest                                      DE              LOUVAIN
                                                     CENTRE DE PHILOSOPHIE
                                                     DU DROIT (CPDR)

Work        organisation   and       WORKS           KATHOLIEKE UNIVERSITEIT       2005       2009
restructuring in the Knowledge                       LEUVEN
Society                                              HOGER INSTITUUT VOOR
                                                     DE ARBEID

The role of knowledge in the         KNOWANDPOL      UNIVERSITÉ CATHOLIQUE         2006       2011
construction and regulation of                       DE              LOUVAIN
health and education policy in                       GIRSEF         (GROUPE
                                                     INTERFACULTAIRE      DE
Europe : convergences and
                                                     RECHERCHE    SUR    LES
specificities among nations and                      SYSTÈMES   D'ÉDUCATION
sectors                                              ET DE FORMATION)

European Network for Better          ENBR            CENTRE FOR EUROPEAN           2006       2008

Regulation                                                      POLICY STUDIES

Generational approach to the              SPREW                 ASSOCIATION POUR UNE               2006   2008
Social Patterns of Relation to                                  FONDATION     TRAVAIL-
Work                                                            UNIVERSITE       ASBL
                                                                WORK AND TECHNOLOGY
                                                                RESEARCH CENTRE

EUROPEAN PLATFORM FOR                     CSR                   EUROPEAN ACADEMY FOR               2004   2007
EXCELLENCE   IN   CSR                     PLATFORM              BUSINESS  IN SOCIETY,
RESEARCH                                                        Brussel

Supporting        International           SINCERE               MENON NETWORK EEIG                 2006   2007
Networking and Cooperation in
Educational Research

As detailed in the sections below, there is no specific and systematic evaluation or
impact assessment of SSH research in Belgium. However, Belgian authorities such
as the research councils FWO-Vlaanderen and FNRS are involved in an
international project testing the development of a "European Reference Index for
Humanities (ERIH)". ERIH is an initiative of the ESF in the context of the ERA-Net
project HERA (since 2009 a joint research programme). The aim of ERIH is to
propose a ranking of reference journals in social sciences and humanities, which is
the pre-requisite for any sound evaluation of scientific production in SSH. The
Belgian scientific community was consulted for the elaboration of the initial ranking.
FNRS and FWO-Vlaanderen are both National Contact Point for their own
Community with regard to these concerted initiative towards more harmonised and
more robust evaluation practices. This may lead in the future to SSH-specific
evaluations. (Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique — Sciences sociales et

2.2.4 Impact of evaluations
There is no specific and systematic evaluation or impact assessment of SSH
research in Belgium. Evaluations are either programme-driven or institution-driven,
and do not encompass research performances in SSH as such. Research-
programme evaluation practices vary across the Belgian government entities and
according to the types of R&D instruments being utilised. Evaluations of R&D policy
instruments and structures are becoming more frequent throughout Belgium,
however systemic evaluations are not yet implemented. The influence of EU
Structural Funds requirements has certainly been an incentive in particular in
The federal authority orders external evaluations of some of its programmes: the
inter-university attraction poles programme has been subject to an in-depth external
evaluation, the results of which have been incorporated in further calls for proposal
under this programme. Since April 2009, the federal office for Science Policy
(Belspo) is coordinating a European OMC-Net project aiming at harmonising impact
assessment practices in Europe . The consortium put in place comprises 15

    Project Acronym “CIA 4 OPM”, “ Optimising the policy mix by the development of a common
    methodology for the assessment of (socio-) economic impacts of RTDI public funding” (EC - DG RTD).

partners from 11 EU countries. The methodological harmonisation covers three
‘case-studies’, i.e. impact assessment practices in the fields of 1) measures
stimulating private R&D; 2) measures stimulating Science-Industry interactions, and
3) measures fostering university performances. Although these case-studies are
generic by their nature and thus certainly not ‘SSH-specific’, the insights generated
may be of use for later impact assessments in these fields of research.
In the French-speaking Community, a Commission of the Parliament has published
in September 2007 a study on the state of play of scientific research in the
Community (based on interviews and fieldwork) in order to raise awareness amongst
policy-makers. In May 2007, the Walloon Government has decided to implement a
system of ex-post evaluation of research results financed by the Region, anticipating
on the new decree covering research, development and innovation in Wallonia
adopted in June 2008, which foresees the setting up of such a procedure. Therefore,
it can be expected that evaluation practices will become more widespread. The
decree does not provide many details on the way the evaluation will be conducted,
except the creation of an interdepartmental steering committee in charge of
supervising the whole set of measures relative to strategic management and
evaluation, and the realisation, every 5 years, of an evaluation report of the research
and innovation policy by an external body.
In Flanders, the major research centres established (IMEC, VIB, VITO, IBBT) are
regularly evaluated as part of their multi-annual management agreements with the
Flemish government. Besides, evaluations of the various strands of activities of the
main implementing agency IWT, were done in the past on an incidental basis, but
have been addressed in a structural approach starting in 2007. The Flemish Fund
for Scientific Research (FWO-Vlaanderen) has been recently evaluated
(IdeaConsult,    “Evaluatie    van     het    FWO”,    December      2007,      see

2.3 Important policy documents
Federal State of Belgium:
•   Research, Technology and Innovation in Belgium: the Missing Links, (2006-05-
    17), The High Level Group 3% Belgium (established in 2004 at the initiative of
    the then federal Minister in charge of Science Policy). It has no institutional
    position and is composed of independent Belgian personalities with high level
    research responsibilities.
•   National Reform Programme, (2005-11-01), Cabinet of the Prime Minister.
•   LISBON STRATEGY. National Reform Programme 2005-2008, (progress report
    2006), (2006-10-26), Belgian government (Policy document produced within the
    framework of Lisbon strategy.
Flanders and Flemish Community:
•   Policy letter 2009. Economy, Entrepreneurship, Science, Innovation and Foreign
    Trade (2007-10-26), Minister: Patricia Ceysens, Flemish Minister of Economy,
    Entrepreneurship, Science, Innovation and Foreign trade (see http://ewi-
•   Innovation Pact for Flanders, (2003-03-29), Flemish government.
•   Memorandum: Science and Technological innovation 2004-2010, (2006-04-15),
    Flemish Council for Science Policy (VRWB)
Wallonia (Region):
•   Priority Actions for the Future in Wallonia, (2005-08-30), Walloon Government

•   Memorandum of the Walloon Science Council, (2005-05-13), Walloon Science
    Policy Council (CPS) (has no legal basis but acts as an opinion of the Walloon
    Science Policy Council which is an advisor to the Walloon Government).
•   Strategic Transverse Plan: Activity Creation and Employment, (2005-08-30),
    Walloon Government (has been approved by the Walloon Government).
•   Decree covering research, development and innovation activities in Wallonia,
    (published 21/10/2008), Walloon Government - Walloon Parliament (is the new
    legal basis for the regional measures covering research and innovation activities
    in Wallonia) (Décret relatif au soutien de la recherche, du développement et de
    l'innovation en Wallonie).
French speaking Community:
•   Memorandum for refinancing of Research and University Education (Free
    translation), (2004-03-01), Rectors of the Universities of the French speaking

2.4 Thematic priorities at national level
Thematic priorities in SSH very difficult to define as SSH programmes are generally
very generic and driven bottom-up. However, at the federal level, one can
distinguish the following recurrrent thematic action lines among projects selected or
programmes offered (see also section 2.1.3):
•   Governance
•   Knowledge Society
•   Social Cohesion, Labour market and Health
•   Research infrastructure for SSH ('Agora')

2.5 Important research programmes
As detailed in section 2.1.3, the following key research programmes can be

Federal level:
a) Policy-relevant actions - multi-annual, topic-specific research programmes that
aim at providing scientific evidence to support the decision making processes of
federal government, such as the programme 'Society and Future'.
b) Policy-driven actions - multi-annual research programmes responding to concrete
needs of the public authorities, as is the case with 'AGORA', 'DRUGS' and 'Action in
support of the federal authority's strategic priorities'.
c) Basic-research initiatives ('Interuniversity Attraction Poles' -IAP).

French speaking Community:
There are no major financing programmes exclusively dedicated to scientific
research in SSH. Hence, the research in SSH is mainly funded through: 1) the
allowance given by the French Community to universities for their operation, 2) the
National Research Scientific Fund FNRS, 3) several minor programmes such
as the ‘Planned Research Actions’, ‘Special Research Fund’ or the 'Collective basic
Research programmes'.

Flemish speaking Community:
Like in the French speaking Community, the largest share of R&D expenditure
towards SSH is institutional funding for universities. For a number of years, part of
this funding has been based on research performance and channelled by way of the
Special Research Fund (BOF). The other main channel for support to fundamental
research in SSH within universities occurs through FWO-Vlaanderen, mainly
provided via competitions based on scientific quality. Besides, the Flemish Institute
for Science and Technology (IWT) funds applied research related to society under
the SBO programme. Finally, the Flemish Community also funds 'Policy Research
Centres' (Steunpunten) for policy-support, some of which carry out applied research
in SSH.

In spite of the fact that Communities are the main responsible authorities for
implementing SSH-related research programmes, some regions also have some
minor programmes or initiatives impacting on SSH research. For instance, for the
Brussels region, the programme 'Prospective research for Brussels' launched in
2000, finances research projects on the socio-economic development of the region.

3. Funding System
3.1 Overview of funding flows

Data for 2006.
Source: Eurostat
Notes: bottom = Total Gross Expenditure on Research and Development (GERD) by
source of funding, further divided by sector of performance; Pie chart: GERD by
source of funding.

The various different funding systems in the country cannot easily be captured in
one figure. The graph in this section depicts the overall picture for Belgium. R&D
funding in Belgium flows through the various governmental and non-governmental
bodies at the federal, regional and community levels, to reach public and private
R&D agencies. All state entities independently determine their R&D spending and
thus, the federal, Walloon, French speaking Community, Brussels-Capital and
Flemish governments all define their own funding system according to their unique
needs and rules.

3.2 National public SSH research funding

3.2.1 Overview of funding importance
Overall, the relative shares of the federal and federated entities in budgetary
contributions for R&D in Belgium are as follows: 50.5% comes from the Flemish
community (including community and regional competences); 26.7% from the
federal state; 12.2% from the French speaking Community; 9.4% from the Walloon
region; and 1.1% from Brussels-Capital (source: 2006, initial figures from the
Federal Office for Science Policy). With regard to SSH, almost the whole funding of
research comes from the communities (apart from the share allocated from the
federal level to the SSH-specific Inter-University Attraction Poles).

The main funding streams for SSH research come from the communities, in the first
place through the allowance given to universities for their operations. In the French
Community it is estimated that ca 25% of that allowance (i.e. 135 million euros in
2007) is allocated to scientific research including research activities in SSH.
Universities however also use external funding (e.g. contract research) to fund SSH
research. The second main stream of funding for SSH research passes through the
respective regional funds for scientific research (FWO-Vlaanderen: yearly budget =
140millions euros and FNRS: yearly budget = 110 millions euros). Funding from the
federal level consists mainly of programme funding or funding via the so-called 'inter-
university attraction poles' (bottom-up driven).

3.2.2 Institutional funding
According to the Federal Office for Science Policy, institutional support for
universities is 24% of the total public for R&D (€459,711 in 2006). Public financing
represents 75% of the resources in the higher education in the French-speaking
Community, which is above Belgian average but lower than EU15 average (82%).
More detailed funding figures are not available for SSH in particular at the Belgian
The main aim of the funding for basic university research in both communities
(French and Flemish) is to finance fundamental research of high quality and to
guarantee an excellent level of education for researchers. The policy - and this
certainly holds true for SSH - is not thematically organised. Instead, the communities
leave the thematic choices to the researchers and focus on the quality of scientific
research to support. There are three further principles to which the communities
subscribe, namely: promoting inter-university cooperation; promoting international
mobility of researchers; and including research in the European Research Area. In
terms of public credits for research, a total of €465.43m has been awarded to non-
targeted research by the Belgian authorities in 2006 for the whole Belgian
authorities, which represents 23.9% of total GBAORD, which is an increase in
comparison to 2004 (21.1%) but a decrease from the previous year 2005 (24.2%).
As underlined several times in the discussions on the report of the French-speaking
Community Parliament on the state of research in the community (2007), basic
research is under-financed in comparison to applied research.
Both in the French and the Flemish Community, numbers of students have
increased faster than the numbers of academic staff. Discussions on the financing of
the university system are therefore going on. In February 2008, the Flemish
Government decided to restructure the university financing. From 2008 institutional
university financing is largely based on the number of new students and the number
of university graduates. The research part of basic funding is, in the new system,
35% of the total university institutional funding. The distribution of this 35% over the
universities will for 50% be based on output figures (mainly relating to scientific
In many recent reports (Policy-mix, OMC peer review, Federal Planning Office,
2007) the lack of competitive funding between universities is nonetheless regarded
as a possible impediment to reach a level of excellence in knowledge production.
The allocation of funds is indeed done on the basis of the number of students and
full-time equivalents researchers. Nonetheless, there is currently a move in the
system thanks to the Bologna process, notably on the side of the French-speaking
Community with an increased role given to university academies and the merger of
several universities and other higher education institutions. According to the
minister, the objective of these reforms is to reinforce the visibility and quality of
higher education by establishing maximum synergy between institutions. It should
allow higher education institutions to be better positioned at the international level as
well as to be better financed and organised in order for them to be better integrated
into the Bologna process.

3.2.3 Individual funding
Project based funding from the government amounts to 12% of the total (€223.993 in
2006, Federal Office for Science Policy) allocated towards universities by way of the
Research Councils and other agencies.
The mechanisms for funding fundamental research, which fall under the
responsibility of the Belgian communities, adhere to the principle of a researcher's
initiative and consequently do not incorporate any priorities in terms of sectors or
disciplines. This is also the general rule for SSH. The same holds true for the 'inter-
university attraction poles' programme of the federal authority.
The French speaking Community funds R&D in universities mainly through its basic
allocation to universities, part of which (25 %) is devoted to research (including
research in SSH). The General Administration for Education and Scientific Research
(AGERS) implements and administers the policy for the community. Additional
funding for researchers and research teams, based on competition, is channelled
through FRS-FNRS (€95m in 2005) and its associated funds, the Special Research
Fund and the ARC (Concerted Research Actions, €13m in 2007) programme.
In Flanders, FWO-Flanders (€135m in 2006) implements policy with regard to basic
research at the universities. It is a funding channel which sets selection criteria
(mainly research quality) for the evaluation and decision-making procedures and
distributes the funds amongst universities and research institutes. Approximately
50% of the budget is spent on projects and 44% on grants for researchers.

3.2.4 Programme Funding
A number of funds and public funding appropriations from Belgian authorities are
dedicated to thematic priorities, some of which are of some relevance for SSH
research. For instance, t he Brussels Capital Region finances individual projects,
which are selected on a competition-based scheme, wherein quality of the project
and interest for the Region are the most important criteria. In particular the
'Prospective Research for Brussels ' programme is top-dow n driven, based on
themes that the Brussels Capital Government wishes to see treated. At the federal
level, the most important part of programme funding for SSH (budget-wise) consists
of the 'Society and Future' programme (see section 2.1.3.) (yearly budget between
2005 and 2011: €2.0 to 2.5m) and the 'Agora programme' (see section 2.1.3.)
(yearly budget since 1999: €2.5m).

3.3 Private research funding
Collaborative research with shared public and private funding of projects is
increasingly common practice in some sub-disciplines of SSH, but there is no
aggregate source presenting the amounts of money involved in the promotion
schemes of all Belgian authorities. Across all scientific fields, the business enterprise
sector funds in Belgium ca. 12% of total R&D carried out within the Higher Education
Sector (source: Share of HERD funded by Business Enterprise Sector, Eurostat

3.4 Foundations/ not-for-profit funding
Charitable foundations and not-for-profit funding for research play a marginal role in
R&D funding in Belgium (0.5% of the total funding in 2005, funding for SSH being
only a sub-set thereof –no figures available).

3.5 European and international funding
In Belgium, in 2007 13% of total domestic R&D was funded from abroad (against
only 8% in 1998) (i.e. GERD funded from abroad). Foreign sources of funding
financed in 2007 ca. 7% of the R&D carried out within the Higher Education Sector
(i.e. HERD funded from abroad), which is by far the most important sector for

carrying out SSH research. Two-thirds of this funding from abroad (or 5% of total
HERD) came from the European Commission, i.e. the Framework Programmes.
Out of the whole FP6 financing, 59% went to Flanders, 22% to Wallonia and 19% to
Brussels-Capital. It can be concluded that financing from the Framework Programme
is an important part of foreign financing for Belgian research.
The participation of Flemish researchers in the area ‘Socio-economic research, and
human resources and mobility’ increased significantly between FP4 and FP5 on the
one hand, and FP6 on the other hand. Participation represented less than €20
million under FP4 and FP5, while it almost doubled under FP6. FP funding for SSH
in thus increasingly popular.

4. Performing System
4.1 Overview of the perfomers
In Belgium, there are no data on private spending on R&D in the field of SSH. With
regard to public R&D expenditure, almost 90% of SSH research is carried out in
universities. Some governmental institutes depending fully on public money play a
comparatively smaller role in SSH research (11% of research execution). Besides,
private sector research in social sciences and humanities draws together a very
heterogeneous set of think thanks, marketing and consulting companies, working for
both public and private clients. Part of their SSH research might be funded through
public sources, but no aggregate data exist on this.

4.2 Higher Education Institutions

4.2.1 HEIs as education performers
There are 15 universities in Belgium, six of which are in the Flemish-speaking
community and since 2009, seven within the French-speaking community (see list
below). Following the Bologna Agreement, linkages and synergies between
universities in the same-language community are growing. Within the French
Speaking Community, the ‘CREF’ (Conseil des recteurs – Council of Chancellors)
brings together the chancellors of the various universities to defend or convey
common positions. The Council of Rectors is an advisory body to the Government of
the Community and as such does not produce legally binding documents.

Flemish speaking Community:
•   University of Ghent;
•   University of Louvain (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) (including KULAK in
•   Free University of Brussels (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
•   University of Antwerp (UA)
•   University of Hasselt
•   University of Brussels (Hogeschool Universiteit Brussel, HUB)

French speaking Community
•   University of Louvain-la-Neuve (UCL)
•   Facultés Notre-dame de la Paix (FUNDP), Namur
•   Facultés Universitaires Catholiques de Mons (FUCaM)
•   Faculté Universitaires Saint-Louis (FUSL), Bruxelles
•   Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)
•   Université de Mons (merger of Université Mons-Hainaut (UMH) & Faculté
    Polytechnique de Mons (FPMs) in October 2009)
•   Université de Liège (ULg) (integration of Facultés Universitaires des Sciences
    Agronomiques (FUSAGx), Gembloux in October 2009)

In order to improve synergies, the universities of the French speaking Community
are currently in the process of associating together in Academies: the Academy of
Louvain (UCL, FUNDP, FUCAM and FUSL), the Academy Wallonia-Brussels (ULB
and UMons) and the Academy Wallonia-Europe (ULG and FUSAGx).
In Belgium, in 2007, 42.7% of all tertiary graduates graduated in the fields of Social
Sciences and Humanities (against 47% at EU-27 level), showing a slight increase as
compared to the beginning of the decade (41.3% in 2000).

4.2.2 HEIs as research performers
In the French-speaking community, 57% of the R&D budget goes directly to the
support of the university and higher education institutions. The nine universities are
regrouped into three Academies since 2004, for the purpose of providing services
related to teaching and research: the university Academy of Louvain, the one of
Wallonia-Europe and the one of Wallonia-Brussels. This should give each partner
the opportunity to share their human and material resources, to develop new
synergies and to reinforce the current collaborations in which the member
universities are already involved: development of research activities, creation of
several R&D centres and the joint organisation of educational programmes. Since
March 2007, the French-Speaking Community is allocating funding directly to
Academies in the framework of the concerted research actions and the Special
Research Fund. Academies are responsible of distributing funds through their
members and to organise collaboration between them.
In the Flemish community, the funding comes mainly from BOF and FWO,
organisations which support fundamental research. There is also structural finance
available, as well as finance for specific sectors or projects and various smaller
funds. Universities also receive further funding from other Belgian authorities (the
federal level and the regions) for their research-related activities, as well as from
other funds, notably the European Union R&D Framework programme.
According to Eurostat data, 22.3% of Belgian R&D is performed in the higher
education sector (EU-27: 21.8%). In 2006, R&D intensity of the higher education
sector lies around EU 27 average with 0.4% of GDP whereas the R&D intensity of
the government sector is below EU-27 average (0.16% against 0.25% in 2006). The
financing of HERD by industrial companies is high with 11.7% (2003). GOVERD has
a company financing of 8.9%.
Examining these general figures a little more closely we can see that research in
SSH is primarily carried out in the higher education sector. While the higher
education sector carries out 22% of all Belgian R&D, it concentrates 88% of
research in SSH, against 11% in the government sector and 0.3% in the private non-
profit sector. There are no figures available for the execution of SSH research
expenditure in the business enterprise sector.

4.3 Public Research Organisations
In Belgium, almost 90% of SSH research is carried out in universities. Some
governmental institutes depending fully on public money play a comparatively
smaller role in SSH research (11% of research execution). These are the 10 federal
scientific institutions and a few smaller institutes. Among them the most important for
SSH are:
•   National and Provincial State Archives (including Centre for Historical
•   Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage;
•   Royal Library of Belgium;
•   Royal Museums for Art and History.

4.4 Private research performers
There are no figures available for the execution of SSH research expenditure in the
business enterprise sector ('SSH BERD'). Private research performers consist of a
very heterogeneous set of companies involved as 'think thanks', or consulting
companies active in various sectors (marketing, lawyers' offices, research-based
consulting companies, advice to policy-makers or companies etc), with both private
and public clients. Part of their research in SSH may therefore be funded through
public sources, but there is no data available on this.

4.5 Research performance

4.5.1 Scientific publications
According to the SCI Database owned by Thomson Scientific (version ‘Web of
Knowledge’), Belgian researchers in Social Sciences produced in 2006 980 scientific
papers (as recorded in the database) (computed by University Leiden), which
corresponds to 7% of the total number of SCI-covered scientific publications (all
scientific disciplines).
The number of Belgian publications in the social sciences grew by 9.6% between
2000 and 2006, which puts Belgium on the 11th rank in terms of growth of
publication output among the 27 EU Member States.

4.5.2 International Cooperation
The Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Sciences and Arts maintains an
exchange programme with many other European Academies. In this context,
Belgian researchers invited by a colleague abroad can spend one or two weeks in
another university or research institute. The ‘sending’ acadamy finances the travel
cost, and the ‘hosting’ academy funds the daily subsistance and accomodation cost.
Nowadays cooperation agreements exist between the Academy and academies
from: Estland, France, Hungary, Italy, Kosovo, Croatia, Macedonia, Austria, Poland,
Romania, Serbia, The Slovak Republic, Slovenia and The Czech Republic.
At the level of the French speaking Community, FRS-FNRS (Fund for Research)
allocates grants and funding for short-term or long-term exchange of researchers,
based on bilateral or multilateral agreements with other countries. The Prize
Alexander Von Humboldt focuses on scientific cooperation between the French
speaking Community of Belgium and Germany to fund scientific activities of high-
level researchers at a Belgian or German research organisation (see, ‘coopération scientifique’). FRS-FNRS is a member of the
ESF (European Science Foundation) and of EUROHORCs (European Heads of
Research Councils). The Fund also participates in various ERA-Nets of the
European Commission

At the level of the Flemish speaking Community, the FWO (Fund for research) is a
member of the ESF (European Science Foundation) and of EUROHORCs
(European Heads of Research Councils). The Fund also participates in various
ERA-Nets of the European Commission. The Flemish minister in charge of Science
Policy also involved the Fund in various international scientific co-operation
agreements. Besides, the Fund also has exchange agreements for researcher
mobility with e.g. Argentina, Bulgaria, China, Ecuador, Japan and Poland.

4.5.3 Main prizes
Prize 1:
The Ernest-John Solvay Prize is awarded every five years for the social sciences
and humanities by the FNRS. Its award money is €75.000.
Prize 2:
The prize Frans van Cauwelaert is a scientific price, annually awarded by the Royal
Flemish Academy for Science and Arts. The group of disciplines vary every year, so,
every third year, the prize is warded to someone in the groups of fields of
psychology, education, sociology, law, economics, and political sciences. The prize
money is €7.500.
Prize 3:
Prize of the Flemish Minister for Science. The prize is awarded via the Royal
Flemish Academy for Science and Arts, in several disciplines, among those SSH
fields. In the various categories, the prizes are awarded bi-annually or annually –
depending on the category. The awards have a prize money of €7.500 per awardee.
Prize 4:
The McKinsey & Company Prize is awarded to a Ph.D in order to show the social or
economic pertinence of his or her research or application thereof. The prize can be
awarded in applied sciences, social sciences or biomedical sciences. The award
prize is €5000.
Prize 5:
The Duverger Prize is awarded by the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for
Sciences and Art every two years to the author of an outstanding work in History or
Art History dealing with the (Art) History of the Low Lands up to 1900. The award
prize is €5000.


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