What makes a VIB Grand Challenges project?



Important characteristics

While each Grand Challenges project uses a specific scientific approach, all projects share important characteristics: collaboration (both within VIB and with external partners), strong translational and clinical components aimed at significant societal impact, and management by several principal investigators.

The VIB Grand Challenges projects should be:


Trans-disciplinary by defintion




The clear intention of the program is to team up with
non-VIB research groups which have complementary
expertise, knowledge and technology required
for the successful execution of a VIB Grand Challenges
Program project.



Short-term deliverables with
longer term impact




Achieving leveraging funding is a key achievement
in the successful projects, including but certainly
not limited to spill-over to both classical and
more dedicated funding applications.





The aim is to go outside the boundaries of traditional collaborations among ‘basic’ scientists. Collaborations with clinical groups, applied agronomics, technology development, engineering, … are considered trans-disciplinary.

Knowledgeable stakeholder involvement important such as patient group representatives, investors, developing world experts, health economists and policy experts. Maximum 50% of the funding is to be allocated to VIB groups and min 50% to non-VIB groups.


Translational projects



VIB Grand Challenges Program Projects beyond proof-of-concept might fit within the VIB-GCP if they can balance out short-term deliverables with longer term societal impact. 

A minimum of proof-of-concept (POC) data is required, demonstrating the feasibility of the project.​ If no POC data are available, a POC phase must be introduced in the research work plan. The full research budget for the project is only released after obtaining POC.


Leveraging funding




The objective of the VIB Grand Challenges Program is to significantly increase the societal impact of VIB, hence taking its scientific leadership to the next level of global visibility, strategies between partners towards sharing of capabilities (samples, data, infrastructure) are prerequisite and motivated within the VIB GCP, aligned with the general principles of RRI and the Open Science policy of VIB in particular.