Belgian Federal Science Policy (Federaal Wetenschapsbeleid): Interuniversity Attraction Poles (IAP)

The “Interuniversity Attraction Poles” (IAP) Programme aims to provide support for teams of excellence in basic research in Belgian universities and research centres. These teams work as part of an international European network in order to increase their joint contribution to general scientific advances.

The principal objectives of the IAP-programmes are:

  • to provide excellent research teams with additional human and material resources in order to get a sufficient critical mass;
  • to encourage collaborations between teams from different institutions belonging to the different linguistic Communities in Belgium;
  • to promote complementarity and interdisciplinarity between these teams;
  • to enable young teams to benefit from the environment of excellence provided by a network and its international influence;
  • to facilitate the insertion of Belgian research teams in European and international networks.

How does it work?

Since its inception in 1987, the IAP programme has been implemented in five year phases. The current IAP phase-VI (2007-2011) contains 44 networks implicating 324 research teams (250 Belgian teams and 74 European partners) and spans a wide range of research fields in the life sciences, exact and applied sciences and humanities. The total budget is currently 143 million euros.

Who can participate?

Every IAP network must consist of a minimum of four partners belonging to at least 3 different Belgian institutions (universities, federal research institutes or the Royal Military School), with at least one partner in a university of the Flemish Community and one partner in a university of the French Community. Non-Belgian partners must be universities or public research centres in the European Union. No new applications are accepted during this phase, but a new round is expected around 2010-2011.

Four independent external evaluators assess the scientific quality of the proposed project, the cohesion within the network and the added value by networking. Accepted projects will also be evaluated at the end of each phase through a one-day site visit by a team of 3 independent external evaluators. They will focus on the scientific excellence, the research capacity building, the dynamics of the network and the role played at the international level.

How much funding is involved?

Each IAP network is funded by a minimum of 2,5 million euros for a period of 5 years.

> IAP networks with UGent involvement

More information via Research Coordination Office (e-mail: