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Innovation mandates

Innovation mandates provide support to postdoctoral researchers who wish to deploy active efforts to achieve the effective transfer, the exploitation and the utilisation of their research findings. This can be done either through a collaboration with an existing company, or by working towards the establishment of a new spin-off company.

The ultimate goal is to bridge the gap between academia and industry and to help the researchers to make the transition into the business world. During the implementation of the mandate, the mobility of researchers between academia and industry is encouraged.


The projects which are implemented in this funding programme are Strategic Basic Research projects with an economic finality, that are innovative and provide the post-doctoral researcher with ample intellectual properties. Innovation mandates aim to build up scientific or technological knowledge as a basis for economic applications. They present a risk level that is too high to allow their execution as an industrial R&D project

For whom?

The funding programme is open to anyone who holds a doctorate (PhD) diploma. Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship (VLAIO) does not impose any additional restrictions. The scheme is therefore open to all nationalities and all academic disciplines. A postdoctoral researcher acts as the candidate mandate holder, with the guidance of one (or more) academic promotors and one (or more) industrial mentors. The academic promotors monitor the scientific quality and progress of the project. The industrial mentors are responsible for the strategic orientation of the research and guide the candidate on valorisation issues. They participate in determining the research tasks that are necessary to ensure that scientific research results can be transferred to industry. In the second phase, the company is the applicant and is responsible for the co-financing of the project (see further).


A project proposal should be defined and developed in consultation with all partners: the company (companies), the knowledge centre(s) and the candidate mandate holder. The partners must sign a mutual cooperation agreement. This cooperation agreement is preferably appended when submitting the project application; if not, at least a term sheet outlining the mutual agreement between the partners concerning the intellectual property rights on the project results must be signed and submitted before the date stated in the call document.

Financial advantage

An innovation mandate provides funding for salary costs, operating costs, equipment costs and fixed costs in relation to one specific employee (the mandate holder). The standard rules of the VLAIO cost model apply a priori. The budget includes the pay-roll for the mandate holder, operating costs, equipment costs and fixed costs. The sum of the non-pay-roll costs (= operating cost+ equipment costs+ fixed costs) is maximum € 40,000 per year in full-time.