Research Fund (BOF) - International initiatives

Exploratory European Co-operation - credit for international research projects

Procedures and submission dates

VES applications can be submitted at any time but at the latest 3 months before the international authority deadline. The application procedure is digital and is made through KU Loket.

Exceptionally, VES applications with regards to Horizon 2020 calls that have a deadline in March or April 2014, can be submitted until two months before the international authority deadline.


VES credits are intended to support multi-partner research initiatives in an international context, that lead to the submission of high quality project applications within the European Framework Programme (Horizon 2020) or other international research financing programmes.


The starting date for VES credits is 2 to 3 months before the official deadline of the international funding authorityThe allocated VES credit will be available for 2 years. Possible credit balances will flow back to the Special Research Fund (BOF).

Nature of funding

For whom ?

VES funding is intended to support researchers of KU Leuven who, in the main, meet the stipulations for all categories (see also section 1, General information) and who: are co-ordinator of an international multipartner research project application. This concerns multi-partner projects that come under European funding programmes Horizon 2020, ERA-Net calls, Joint Programming Initiatives, Joint Technology Initiatives, FET Flagship calls, ESF, ESA, DG Health, DG Justice, EIT, … and programmes outside of Europe such as NIH, NSF, …

For what?

A VES credit amounts to a maximum of €15,000 (in case of an evaluation procedure in two steps: the VES credit amounts to €8,000 during the first phase and €7,000 if the project is allowed for the second phase).

What for?

Any allocated VES funding must be used to ensure the preparation of a high quality file for an international funding authority.

The allocated VES funding can be used for, a.o.:

  • travel and accommodation expenses for setting up the consortium;
  • the organization of consortium meetings or participation in meetings for networking;
  • temporary funding of a KU Leuven researcher/employee for drawing up the application file; 
  • operating costs, e.g. for the involvement of an external consultant for reviewing the application file; 
  • expenses incurred through negotiations during the contract negotiation period.
Application and allocation procedures

Allocation of VES-funding is based on the following conditions:

  • The final project application that is submitted must comply with the admissibility of the international authority. If the multipartner project is eventualy not submitted or is not admissible, the allocated VES budget will be recovered. The feedback, given by the financier, concerning the application needs to be sent to the Research Co-ordination Office;
  • Only KU Leuven researchers who are able to demonstrate upon VES-application that they are capable of acquiring peer reviewed projects qualify for VES;
  • The research unit must apply to the international financier for a minimum of €300,000  which is intended for KU Leuven (with the exception of project applications within the framework of the ERA-Nets or Joint Programming Initiatives for which the national financier provides only €200,000);
  • Only one VES credit can be allocated per research group for each long-term working programma of Horizon 2020 or once in two years for other programmes. Cumulation with an IOF Leverage project for European collaboration is not possible.
  • There can be no overlap in time of two VES funding schemes per (co-) promoter.
  • In case of an evaluation procedure in two steps, the applicants have to send the evidence of being selected for the second round to the Research Co-ordination Office before they can have the second portion of the allocated budget.

The number of awarded projects may be limited due to budgetary restrictions.

Selection procedure
  • VES applications will be presented for evaluation to the EU-team of the Research Co-ordination Office (DOC) and KU Leuven Research and Development (LRD) on the basis of the above-mentioned allocation procedures.
  • The EU team can consult the Chair of the Research Council in case the applicants in the past did already submit several VES applications (or former VIS applications), and in case there is uncertainty concerning the compatibility of the application with the stipulations of the international funding programme. The Chair of the Research Council will decide on the actual awarding (possibly supported by the Research Council Board).
  • In case of funding, sufficient budgetary space is needed.
Application submission

VES applications (see also the application form) consist of the data of the international call (website, deadine, topic, etc.), a short abstract (max. 2000 characters) about the international project proposal with the expected impact as well as an indicative list of partners, indicating each type of partner (company, university, etc.).


As much as possible, handling the files (selection and reporting on the awarded projects) will happen in the first week of each calender month. Applicants will receive written confirmation about the decision, stating whether or not the VES credit will be allocated.


Reporting is not necessary, but the Research Co-ordination Office must receive the final European project application, as well as the subsequent evaluation report of the European funding authority.