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One million euros for research into rare thyroid pathologies

The Generet 2023 Prize for Rare Diseases is awarded to Sabine Costagliola, FNRS Research Director and Director of the IRIBHM (ULB), for her research using human organoid technology to model two rare thyroid diseases.

Awarded for the 6th consecutive year, this Generet Fund Prize, managed by the King Baudouin Foundation as part of its collaboration with the FNRS and the FWO, is worth one million euros, making it the most prestigious distinction for rare diseases in Belgium. The jury of independent experts hails Sabine Costagliola's ambition to use her research to improve the diagnosis and quality of life of patients suffering from these diseases.

Professor Sabine Costagliola has been studying the mechanisms underlying thyroid development and thyroid pathologies for many years at the Institut de Recherche Interdisciplinaire en Biologie Humaine et Moléculaire (IRIBHM) at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. Prof. Costagliola explains:

“Despite identification of many of the genes involved in normal development of the thyroid, the molecular mechanisms underlying thyroid problems are still poorly understood. Today, we can explain around 10% of the cases of congenital hypothyroid, but this means that the great majority remain unexplained. The aim of my research is to understand why a child is born without a thyroid or has a poorly functioning thyroid.”

Professor Costagliola’s ambition goes beyond just basic research:

“The Generet Prize gives me the liberty to explore all hypotheses, thus opening the way to discovering new diagnostic tools and, in the longer term, to find new therapeutic solutions.”

Whilst living without a thyroid or with a dysfunctional thyroid is possible, this nevertheless means taking synthetic hormones for life. As Professor Costagliola explains,

“Treatment with synthetic hormones can never totally replace a normal thyroid. Moreover, hormone needs change throughout our life and this requires constant fine adjustments. For some patients we never manage to find the optimal doses and this affects their everyday quality of life. We cannot be satisfied with patients being more or less alright, we must go further. If one day, we manage to succeed in transplanting a functional thyroid in patients, this will enable them to lead an incredibly more comfortable life.”

More information on the 2023 winner of the Generet Prize


Unlocking the power of Science Communication in Research and Policy Making

Science Europe, the FNRS and Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek - Vlaanderen (FWO) are co-organising a High-level Conference on Science Communication on 12 and 13 March 2024 in Brussels.

Held under the auspices of the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU, this event intends to highlight the importance of science communication in research processes and raise awareness of the need to address it more formally in both research programmes and policy making.

More info...

Opening of the 7th Generet Award for Rare Diseases call for applications

On the initiative of the Fund Generet, managed by the King Baudouin Foundation, the prestigious Generet Award will be granted in 2024, for the 7th time, to support a 4-year research project in the field of rare diseases in Belgium.

Generet Award for Rare Diseases

Amount: 1.000.000 € over 4 years. A first instalment of 500.000 € will be credited for 2 years. The second instalment of 500.000 € will be subject to the positive evaluation of a mid-term report.

Rare diseases are considered to be life threatening or chronic conditions which affect no more than 1 person out of 2.000. Rare cancers and rare adverse drug events research projects are not eligible for this call.

Application procedure

Proposals will undergo a two-step application procedure encompassing a phase of pre-proposal (open to all) and a phase of full proposal (accessible to shortlisted applicants from the first stage).

Applicants participating in the pre-proposal phase must fill in a short pre-proposal form and provide a letter of intent of max. 3 pages focusing on the scientific proof of concept of the research project and attach a relevant core bibliography and short CV information

Eligible candidates

Candidates must be: 

  • Internationally established investigators, with outstanding scientific achievements and multiple seminal contributions in the field of rare diseases.
  • Internationnaly established investigators, with outstanding scientific achievements and multiple seminal contributions in common diseases, who can demonstrate that their research will have a substantial added value for rare diseases and can accelerate research in this particular field.

Candidates must have a scientific seniority of min. PhD + 10 years (career breaks, such as maternity leave or long-time illness, not included).

Candidates must be affiliated to a Belgian University, a Belgian University Hospital or an eligible Research Institute, until December 31st, 2028 and not reach the retirement age limit during the project timeframe.

Former laureates cannot reapply to the Generet Award as Principal Investigator but can be partners in other applications (at the earliest 4 years after being laureate).

Eligible research projects

The research project must be conducted in Belgium in the field of rare diseases.

The research project should aim at a better understanding of the processes underpinning rare diseases and translating fundamental discoveries into better prevention, diagnosis or treatment for patients. Research can encompass all stages from bench to bedside.

Eligible expenses

Eligible expenses encompass personnel costs, running costs and equipment. A max. of 10% overheads may be applicable (subject to negotiation).

Up to 30% of the Award's amount can be outsourced for supporting international or intranational expenses (personnel and running costs) including the private sector if they charge at cost price.

Call timeline

  • Opening of the call: February15th, 2024
  • Pre-proposals deadline: April 15th, 2024
  • First Panel meeting: End of May 2024
  • Invitation for full proposals: Following the first Panel meeting
  • Full proposals deadline: July 8th, 2024
  • Second Panel meeting: Mid-November 2024
  • Start of the research: January 1st, 2025

How to apply?

Pre-proposals, written in English, must be submitted via the online application system available on www.generetaward.be on April 15th, 2024 at the latest.

The complete regulations of the Generet Award 2024 are available here

The list of the previous laureates is available here.

Questions about the Award should be addressed via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Submit a pre-proposal


Two Lambertine Lacroix Foundation prizes reward research into cardiovascular diseases

The winners of the Lambertine Lacroix Prize 2024 - Cardiovascular Diseases were honoured on Friday 9 February at the annual congress of the Belgian Society of Cardiology (BSC). The Lambertine Lacroix Prize for Cardiovascular Diseases is being awarded this year for the 7th time in its history. Following a call for applications in the summer of 2023, a five-member international jury met on 23 November to assess the applications submitted by researchers from the Wallonia-Brussels Federation under the age of 51. Given the very high standard of applications for the Prize, the Foundation's Board of Directors has exceptionally decided to award two Prizes this year.

The 2024 laureates are :

  • Ms Laure Elens, Professor at UCLouvain and Promoter of a PDR-FNRS, for her work entitled "Importance of pharmacokinetics and individual factors to explain variability in Atorvastatin clinical response". Interview
  • Mr Benoit Vanhollebeke, Professor at ULB, for his work entitled "Blood-brain barrier: from molecular mechanisms to intervention strategies". Interview

The Lambertine Lacroix Foundation

The Lambertine Lacroix Foundation was created in 2006 in accordance with the will of her daughter Jenny Dupont. Jenny Dupont, whose life had been severely handicapped by serious heart damage, had made many personal sacrifices in order to raise a capital sum which, on her death, would serve as the basis for the creation of a Foundation whose aim would be to reward research into the diseases that had been fatal to her mother and herself, namely cancer and cardiovascular disease.

The Prize

The Prize of the Lambertine Lacroix Foundation, whose Board of Directors delegates the management of calls for proposals to the FNRS, is awarded every two years and rewards research into cardiovascular disease and cancer, alternately.
The prize is worth €30,000, half of which is awarded to the winner in recognition of research already carried out, and the other half to the winner's laboratory in support of future research. 




Reminder - Opening of the 2024 Simone & Pierre Clerdent Foundation Award

On the initiative of the “Simone & Pierre Clerdent Foundation”, a prestigious Award will be granted in 2024 to support a 3-year research project in the field of human neurological disorders in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation.

Scientific Award in Human Neurological Disorders

The awarded project must aim at better understanding the biological basis, improving diagnosis, or advancing the treatment of nervous system pathologies. Research can encompass all stages from bench to bedside.

Amount: 400.000 € over 3 years.

Eligible candidates

Applicants must be established investigators, with a permanent and full-time contract in a University or a University Hospital of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation.

Applicants must have a scientific seniority of min. PhD + 6 years and not reach the retirement age during the project.

Laureates of previous editions of the Award are not eligible to apply to this call.

Eligible research projects

Eligible expenses: personnel costs, operating costs, and equipment. The Award cannot be used for travel purposes.

National/international cooperation: the project may include the collaboration with research teams based outside the Wallonia-Brussels Federation (WBF). No more than 49% of the costs may be outsourced to co-promoters working outside WBF.

Call timeline

  • Opening of the call: December 18th, 2023
  • Deadline of the call: February 29th, 2024 at 2PM (Brussels time)
  • Panel meeting: May 27th, 2024
  • Award ceremony: October 2024
  • Start of the project: November 1st, 2024

How to apply?

Applications must be submitted electronically via the FNRS online application system e-space by February 29th 2024 at 2PM (Brussels time) at the latest.

The application file is composed of:

  • The e-space online application form
  • A scientific section
  • A short curriculum vitae
  • A complete list of publications

The complete regulations of the Simone & Pierre Clerdent Foundation Award are available here.

The list of the previous laureates is available here.

More information about the Award and the evaluation process can be found on the website www.clerdentaward.be.

Questions about the Award should be sent via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Questions about the application process should be sent via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Weave 2024 calls launch

WEAVE 2024 calls are now open on e-space.

WEAVE calls


Deadlines: See our Calendar of calls.

For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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