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FNRS 19271 October. In his famous speech in Seraing made on the occasion of the 110th anniversary of the John Cockerill Society, King Albert makes an emotive indictment of the shortage of scientific institutions: "Nations which pay no heed to science and scientists are headed for decline. (...) These days anything that doesn't move forward, moves backwards."

26 November. At the Academy Palace in Brussels, the two free universities of Louvain and Brussels together organise a conference where the King explains his appeal: "First and foremost, scientific vocations need to be discovered and stimulated, scientists need to be retained, the profile of science needs to be raised."

30 November. A propaganda committee for the FNRS is created and placed under the chairmanship of Francqui. The financial driving force will be the Belgian patron Solvay who will provide a quarter of the initialcapital (25 million). Added to this are the donations from Société Générale (11 million), the National Bank of Belgium, the Overseas Bank and the Bank of Brussels (each one 5 million), then yet more contributions.


FRS-FNRS 192827 April. The National Fund for Scientific Research, the FNRS, is created by notarial deed and its existence is recognised by the Royal Decree of 2 June 1928. The house in rue d'Egmont is presided over by Émile Francqui and run by Jean Willems. The first FNRSBoard of Directors meets on 27 April of this year at exactly 11 am. The 1st article of the statutes contains the policy statement: " ... The goal of the Fund is to encourage scientific research in Belgium. It does not have any philosophical or political doctrine. It doesn't differentiate between scientists and researchers as regards their faith and opinions, it respects and safeguards the fact that each researcher belongs to his/her own linguistic community."


Creation of the Interuniversity Institute of Nuclear Sciences (IISN).


23 April. The State makes a donation of five million francs in 1947, two years later a Law confirms the need for the State to subsidise the FNRS in a recurrent manner.


The Royal Decree of 16 September marks the creation of the Fund for Medical Scientific Research (FRSM).


Following the bequest made by Dr A. De Leeuw, the FNRS awards the very first grand quinquennial Prize consacrating the scientific activity of the most eminent Belgian researchers.


18 January. By Royal Decree, the Minister of National Education confers the FNRS with the senior management of the Collective Fundamental Research Fund (FRFC). In addition to its traditional task of training researchers for universities, the FNRS is authorised to finance research programmes which are the initiative of the researchers themselves.


LevauxThe Scientific Commissions are put together on the basis of linguistic equality and, on 1st October, this principle is also adopted by the FNRS committees and boards of directors, the Interuniversity Institute of Nuclear Sciences IISN, the Fund of Fundamental Collective Research FRSC and the Fund of the Medical Scientific Research FRSM. On the same day, M. Paul Levaux is appointed Secretary General of the FNRS and associated Funds.


The FNRS is involved in the creation of the European Science Foundation (ESF).


11 June. The FRSM Medical Ethics Commission is created. Its mission, as an assessment committee, is to try to respond to the questions submitted to it, whether they be opinions requested by the research institutes, the Belgian authorities or other bodies.


2 June. An agreement for scientific cooperation is signed by the National Science Foundation (NSF) of Washington (USA) concerning all the domains except medecine, which will be covered by the agreement with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) of Bethesda (USA), signed on 11 April 1984.


Other scientific cooperation agreementsare signed:

  • with the National Science Council (NSC) of Taïwan on 7 May,
  • with the Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS) and the Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) of the Peoples Republic of China, on 3 July and 4 October respectively.

Simoen2 December. Appointment of Mrs M.-J. Simoen as Secretary General of the FNRS and the associated Funds.


At the initiative of RTL-TVI, launch of the first edition of Télévie for the FNRS. The programme enables researchers working in the field of cancer in general and leukaemia in particular, to benefit from funds donated by viewers. The first edition, in April 1989, brings in 81 274 280 BEF.

Creation of the expansion plan at the suggestion of the Minister Ylieff. The goal of which is the creation of 20 jobs for qualified researchers each year for 10 years.


Publication of the first "FNRS Letter" dedicated to Télévie 1989.

Giving concrete expression to an action begun in 1982, the National Lottery grants considerable credits in order to equip university laboratories and also contributes to the funding of doctoral researchers and research projects in social sciences.


Modification of the FNRS statutes. This is henceforth made up of a French-speaking entity, the F.R.S.-FNRS and a Dutch-speaking entity, the "Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek" (Scientific Research Fund) (FWO), which are totally independent from one another. The progressive transformation of Belgium into a Federal State is necessarily echoed in the organisation of the F.R.S.–FNRS. Since 1992, the actions carried out by the F.R.S.-FNRS and its associated Funds are dealt with by management bodies particular to the French-speaking Community of Belgium.


The Executive of the French Community entrusts the granting of FRIA grants to the F.R.S.-FNRS. As a consequence a 4th associated Fund, the Fund for Training and Research in Industry and Agriculture (FRIA) is created.

Giving concrete expression to the collaboration with the French CNRS, establishment of the Associated European Laboratory (LEA) "Structure-function of bio-molecules" which brings together the laboratories of Lille, Brussels and Gembloux.


VeroniqueHalloin1st October. Appointment of Mrs Véronique Halloin, PhD Eng, as Secretary General of the F.R.S.-FNRS and its associated Funds.



April. Publication of the PHARE plan, Standardisation and Action for Research Plan. This refinancing plan for the period 2010-2014 has four main strategic axes: the researchers and the teams, strategic research for society, the means of the researchers (including the coordination of investment in research infrastructures), and research in an international context.

This plan relies on the evolution of the administration of the F.R.S.–FNRS: a reorganisation of the services in order to better serve the researchers,the setting up of the ex-post evaluation of the research and programmes, and a revision of the ex-ante evaluation methods in order to incorporate international good practices.


Creation of FRESH : Fund for Research in Social Sciences.


Creation of FRFS : Fund for Fundamental Strategic Reseach.


Following on from PHARE I, the FNRS adopted the new refinancing plan PHARE II for the period 2015-2019. It offers an inventory of 20 measures and priority axes in order to respond to the needs of researchers and take up the challenges which fundamental research has to face up to in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation (improving the material conditions for carrying out research, attracting talents by increasing its attractiveness, helping our researchers to be a part of the international research programmes, increasing the number of activities in strategic domains).

85 years Dossier

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