European money for Belgian science!

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Can snake venom help to cure diabetes? Can you charge an electric car while driving? Can we make more people play football and hence reduce heart disease? And is pork healthier if we feed the animals with residues of olive oil mixed with soy and grains?

These are just some of the Belgian research projects for which the European Commission has granted money. They announced that they will assign 8.5 billion euros in a new financing round of the Horizon 2020 program. The program runs from 2014 to 2020 and disposes of 77 billion euros during that period.

The biggest part of the budget goes to Leuven. The KU Leuven is on top of the list, followed by its research institute IMEC. Together they receive 117 million euros. Next is Ghent University. Also in Wallonia, a couple organizations appear in the top ten i.e. the University of Louvain-La-Neuve and GlaxoSmithKline (Rixensart).

The situation in Brussels is less clear, because there are also European research institutes located. Here, Cost Association, an alliance of scientists, receives 89 million euros..

The quest for European money has become an important strategy of universities, because it makes them financially less dependent on the government and the business world. Often, researchers only make money if they collaborate with researchers in other EU countries.