Flemish scientists sound research funding alarm

The news that at least one Flemish scientist is considering moving abroad because he's struggling to find funding for research has concentrated minds.

Leading Flemish scientist Peter Carmeliet told the daily De Morgen that he was looking at moving abroad because of the difficulty in obtaining funding.  Colleague Bart Lambrecht, a long specialist at Ghent University, shares some of his concerns: "Twenty years ago, when you put forward a research project there was a one in three chance of funding.  Today it's less than one in six.  It's frustrating because drawing up such a project requires a lot of time that you then cannot devote to research."

Prof Lambrecht notes that colleagues, who are also rivals for funding, are involved in the funding decision involving the Fund for Scientific Research (FSR).  In addition too many researches are reliant on FSR funding as alternative funding has dried up.

Flemish science minister Muyters is keen to counter the accusations.  The FSR budget was increased by 30 million in 2017.  Other forms of research too have been given more money.  In all there is now 45 million euros extra for research, while the 2019 Flemish budget releases yet more extra funding.