On 21 February 2019, the Ghent University Research Council decided to discontinue with immediate effect the BOF Starting Grant competitive call, to be replaced by an automatically allocated start-up budget.
With an automatically granted start-up budget Ghent University again chooses an appreciative approach in preference to a competitive one. Since 2010, Ghent University has granted competitive start-up funding to recently nominated or appointed ZAP-members. This financing facility supported early career academics by offering them the opportunity to develop an initial four-year research project using resources of the ’Bijzonder Onderzoeksfonds’ (BOF).
From competitive to automatic Starting Grant
The Research Council has decided to replace this competitive system by an automatic start-up budget. Supported by the BOF-resources, Ghent University allocates this budget to all new ZAP-members with an assignment percentage of at least 50%.
In addition, a start-up budget will likewise be granted to ZAP-members whose ZAP-assignment percentage is rising towards the minimum 50% level, as well as to ZAP-members with a ZAP-assignment below 50% in combination with a FWO-senior clinical investigator fellowship.
"The competitive call implied that new ZAP-members that started as of 1 October in a given year could at the earliest apply for a Starting Grant only one year later", explains Ignace Lemahieu, Director of the Research Department. "This stricture created misunderstanding as well as numerous problematic situations, particularly in the case of externally recruited ZAP-members. By granting a start-up budget at the commencement of the ZAP-mandate, we want to pave an unobstructed and worry-free track for newly nominated or appointed ZAP-members."
The automatic allocation of the Starting Grant normally amounts to 200.000 euro. This budget will remain available for a four-year duration and can be freely used by every ZAP-member to pay for staff expenses, operating costs and/or research equipment. Ghent University allocates the budget twice a year, namely: shortly after 1 October and 1 February, these being the two fixed moments when Ghent University nominates or appoints ZAP members, or raises their assignment percentage.
Additional information about the categories that are entitled to a Starting Grant and about the workflow required to be granted a Starting Grant.