Welcome to the European Liaison Office (ELO) - We are here to help you obtain research funding!

Our service is specialized in supporting you with European funding schemes, such as the European Commission’s Research and Innovation programme, Horizon 2020.  

Beyond giving support on research funding, our office also provides information on European Research and Innovation policies by following-up the regulatory developments of the EU funding landscape, for instance the progress made on the new Horizon Europe funding scheme.

Our (ELO) office focuses on fundamental science research (FSR) which is represented in the Horizon 2020 programme by the first pillar: “Excellent Science”.  

On our website, you will find support for calls that are related to the following programmes: Marie Skłodowska-Curie (MSCA), European Research Council (ERC) and Future and Emerging Technologies (FET).

We also provide support for European funding programmes that are external to the Horizon 2020 funding scheme: COST Actions - European Cooperation in Science and Technology;  Justice Actions (JUST);  Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM);  the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action (LIFE), and European Area Research Networks - ERANET/JPI with the involvement of FWO/BELSPO. 

Funded schemes have either a bottom-up approach (e.g. MSCA) where research topics are investigator-driven, or they follow a top-down approach where research topics are prioritized by the European Commission and defined in the funding call (e.g. FET). 

If you are interested in the calls pertaining to the other two pillars “Industrial Leadership” and “Societal Challenges”,  we would like to refer you to the ERIS Team which is part of the Tech-Transfer office, whereby ELO is part of the Research and Data Management Department (R&D). 






Intranet for VUB-researchers

Find all relevant and practical information on research policy and the services of the R&D department on out new Intranet for VUB-researchers!

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Ready to become a Marie Curie fellow at VUB?

Browse the menu below to identify suitable topics for your 'Marie Sklodowska Curie - Individual Fellowship' proposal.

Based on your area of research, you can identify in the menu below a number of research topics that have been submitted by VUB research staff. The topics, submitted by the various VUB research groups, constitute suggestions for the development of a proposal; they should assist you in identifying mutual research interests, innovation potential and areas for potential skill acquisition that enhance your research competences. The topics can be used as a basis to discuss collaborating on a MSCA-IF proposal. Please continue to read below for the entire procedure.



Once you have selected a topic (with topic ID) and are interested in writing a MSCA-IF proposal with a VUB researcher, you should have the following documents ready to be send to us:

  • Current CV
  • Evidence of your current place of residence, as well as the place(s) of residence(s) for the past 5 years
  • Topic ID listed in the header of the pdf file describing the topic, i.e. MSCA-2020-xyz
  • 2-3 pages (A4) explaining your expression of interest and qualifications

Please note, you will only be eligible to submit a proposal if you will have obtained your PhD degree before September 9th, 2020.
All submissions should be sent to MSCA@VUB.be with the topic ID in the email header.

Alternatively, if you cannot identify a topic in the menu above, you are free to send us an open expression of interest following the steps above. However, in this case the email header should be specified as follows:  open expression of interest  - “name of your research discipline here”

If you are unsure whether you qualify for the MSCA-IF programme, please read the guidelines for applicants.  Prior to putting you into contact with VUB research staff, we will conduct an eligibility check based on the guidelines for applicants and your qualifications.

Why apply for a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action – Individual Fellowship?

Participating in the Horizon 2020 funding scheme via Marie Curie Actions is considered a beneficial step in your career development. You will receive training and you are able to highlight your individual research excellence. At the end of you 24 months fellowship you will be awarded with the Seal of Excellence.

Researchers who are building their career in Europe require mobility which means that you will be working away from your current place of residence for a limited period of time. The European Commission understands mobility to be a priority in research as it adds value to European societies, for example by decreasing the knowledge and development gap between EU27 and other advanced regions.

Here are some of the benefits that can be gained from mobility:

Mobility – enables the circulation of skills and ideas.

Through mobility researchers gain precious new experiences. There is also a clear trend that international-collaborative research papers are more highly citied than region-based authors.

Mobility -  ensures productive outcomes

While researchers can also collaborate remotely, mobility facilitates immersion with scientific impact beyond the limited structure of working remotely. 

Mobility – a researcher’s investment for the long-term

Working abroad enables researchers to build international networks. An international research network does not only progress science, but also provides the researcher with an ongoing resource to tap into. It empowers the researcher with new research experiences and qualifications, and enhances future career options.




Why choose VUB as your host institution?

Research groups at VUB have a proven track record with high publication scores, successful participation in national and internationally funded research projects, as well as excellence in research facilities. The VUB is a well-performing university with many successful collaborative projects that are obtained through a number of funding channels: Internal funding via VUB Strategic Research funds;  national funding via the Research Foundation Flanders, the Belgian Science Policy Office and Innoviris Brussel; and funding at the European level via the Horizon2020 funding scheme. As an international university, VUB’s working language is English.

The VUB with its fourcampuses has an established reputation in research excellence which is represented by a broad spectrum of research disciplines. At the Humanities, Science and Engineering Campus situated in the Etterbeek district of Brussels, 132 research groups distributed over 8 faculties, are engaged in cutting-edge research. The VUB’s Health Campus located in the Jette district of Brussels is divided into 10 research clusters and is adjunct to the University hospital, UZBrussels. The third campus is the Technology Campus located in the district of Anderlecht. The Photonics Innovation Center, also called B-PHOT is the fourth campus which is located outside of Brussels in the Western Brabant. It houses high-tech platforms for micro optical design to advance polymer prototyping.

VUB Faculties:

Languages and Humanities
Law and Criminology
Medicine and Pharmacy
Physical Education and Physiotherapy
Psychology and Educational Sciences

Science and Bio Engineering Sciences
Social Sciences and Solvay Business School

Excellence in Outreach

In recent years “science outreach” has gained more traction in the public eye, which is in part due to the outreach and dissemination component present in many of the Horizon 2020 funding schemes, requiring researchers to communicate with the public.

At VUB, science outreach has already been tackled for more than 30 years. Wtnschp, the VUB’s Science Outreach Office has been creating bridges between researchers and society. The Science Outreach Office hosts a number of activities, such as the science comedy night Bright Club, a science festival,  and Wtnschp.be, a popular science blog.

Recently, the VUB’s Outreach office has extended its services to researchers who are applying for Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions – Individual fellowship. The purpose of this service is for incoming researchers to benefit from the experience of the Science Outreach team.  During the proposal writing phase, the Outreach Office supports the incoming researcher by fine-tuning the researcher’s outreach and dissemination ideas, either by integrating them into existing outreach initiatives or by advising on new concepts, tailored specifically to the research project.  After the proposal has been accepted, the researcher can further receive assistance on questions concerning the implementation of their outreach and dissemination activities.

Career Development

VUB is a “Free University” working from the premise that research excellence originates from a bottom-up approach with researchers initiating their own path. VUB research is mostly stirred by the research community without management interfering in the allocation of funds to specific research domains. Funding takes place across domains where only the best applications are selected through competition.

In 2011, VUB was one of the first universities in Belgium to be awarded by the European Commission (EC) with the right to use the “HR Excellence in Research” logo. VUB’s dedicated career centre has recently began to also focus its support on incoming post-docs and fellows, e.g. MSCA. The centre is currently rolling out a pilot which aims to assist the post-doc or fellow in their professional development with a view to strengthen continued employability.

Post-docs and fellows receive further guidance from their supervisors on the framework of their research, and input on important aspects related to career advancements as researcher, such as the development of their own international network. Supervisors also encourage the post-docs and fellows to more autonomous functioning by passing on responsibilities in research management, e.g. the building of a research cell with Master and PhD students, independent of the supervisor.

General facilities

The VUB has excellent services that are flexible, customised and well-organised. Computer facilities and strong (wireless) internet connections are available as well as access to technology platforms, research facilities, and the university library. The VUB International Relations & Mobility Office assists the fellow before and after their arrival in Brussels with administrative matters such as visa permits, registration and health insurance.

VUB campuses have day-care centres that are open all year round from 7h00 to 19h00. Both VUB campuses have a primary school located around the corner, and during school holidays sport and language camps are organised for children of VUB employees. VUB employees and their families enjoy full refund of medical costs when treated at the University Hospital (UZ Brussel). Canteens on both campuses as well as the University hospital, offer daily diverse and fresh menus that include vegan, vegetarian and meat/fish options. The fish served is MSC /ASC certified and efforts towards sustainability are ongoing, for example all plastic dishware and cutlery has been replaced with sustainable tableware.  

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks

Marie Sklodowska Curie Action – Innovative Training Networks (ITN) is aimed at promising PhD students (Early-Stage Researchers) to receive research training or partake in doctoral programmes that focus on entrepreneurial and innovative aspects. The underpinning idea of this training is to enable these future researchers to be able to convert their innovative research outputs into economically viable application and services. There are three variations of this call:  European Training Networks (ETN), European Industrial Doctorates (EID) and European Joint Doctorates (EJD).


European Training Networks (ETN) are multi-partner research training networks and must be composed of at least three beneficiaries established in at least three different EU Member States or Associated Countries. Above this minimum, the participation of other organisations, including international organisations and those from Other Third Countries, is possible under the conditions provided by the Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation. Although there is no pre-defined size for these multi-partner networks, it is strongly recommended to keep the size of the consortium between 6 and 10 beneficiaries. It is expected that beneficiaries will be drawn from the academic and non-academic sectors and that ETN proposals will offer intersectoral and interdisciplinary research training as well as high-quality supervision arrangements. Each beneficiary must recruit and host at least one Early Stage Researcher (PhD student).

European Industrial Doctorates (EID) involve the non-academic sector in doctoral training. EIDs aim to train researchers and to stimulate entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation. An EID is composed of at least two beneficiaries established in two different Member States or Associated Countries. At least one of the beneficiaries must be entitled to award doctoral degrees and at least one of the beneficiaries must come from the non-academic sector. 

European Joint Doctorates (EJD) promote international, intersectoral and multi/inter-disciplinary collaboration in doctoral-level training through the creation of joint doctoral programmes. EJD leads to a joint, double or multiple doctoral degree and is composed of at least three beneficiaries in different member states or associated countries (entitled to deliver doctoral degrees). The participation of other organizations is possible under specific conditions.



Take a look at previous projects!

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Apply with VUB for an ERC grant

Are you an excellent researcher looking for competitive long-term funding for your ground-breaking fundamental research? Then ERC funding  might be interesting for you! The European Research Council (ERC) provides funding for the implementation of ground-breaking research for a period of 5 (6) years.

Funding & grants

The following types of grants are available:

  • Starting Grants (1.5 mio euro for 5 years, for researchers with 2-7 years postdoctoral experience*)
  • Consolidator Grants  (2 mio euro for 5 years, for researchers with 7-12 years postdoctoral experience*)
  • Advanced Grants (2.5 mio euro for 5 years, for established senior researchers)
  • Synergy Grants (10 mio euro for 6 years, for 2-4 Principal Investigators at any stage in their career)

*Extensions of the eligibility period are possible based on documented absence for parental leave, long-term illness, military service or clinical training. Check the ERC Work Programme for more details. 

The ERC programme, provides a distinctive funding mechanism devoted to scientific excellence for all scientific fields (bottom-up call).
Currently, Vrije Universiteit Brussel hosts several ERC-projects.

What does Vrije Universiteit Brussel offer you?

As an applicant

  • Individual support in the proposal writing stage: screening of the applicants profile - set-up of the project budget - assistance with the ethical issues - review of the proposal in cooperation with external consultants

As a successful ERC-grantee

  • A tenure track offered by the VUB Research Council
  • A wide range of career development opportunities
  • Appropriate working conditions for the implementation of the project
  • Full administrative support by the European Liaison Office


Contact us at elo@vub.be.

ELO coordination & EU Research Policy
Tania Van Loon

+32 2 629 21 84

Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions Support
Dr. Manuela Jungmann

+32 2 629 10 87

Stien Mommaerts

+32 2 629 22 13

+32 2 629 22 13
Cristina Macovei

+32 2 629 21 54


Intranet for VUB Researchers

Take a look at our intranet page!