The Hercules Foundation is an agency which was established by the Flemish Parliament for the funding of medium-sized and large-scale infrastructure for curiosity-driven and strategic basic research in all scientific disciplines.
From an administrative point of view, the Hercules Foundation is an external independent agency of the Flemish Government. It has the legal form of a private law foundation of public utility (“stichting van openbaar nut” / “fondation d’utilité publique”). The funding programmes managed by the Hercules Foundation are regulated by the Decision of the Flemish Government of 26 October 2007 concerning the funding of research and innovation infrastructure in Flanders.
The Hercules Foundation’s Governing Body is nominated by the Flemish Government and, of its nine members, four are designated by the Fund for Scientific Research - Flanders (“Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek - Vlaanderen (FWO)”) and four by the Institute for the Promotion of Innovation by Science and Technology in Flanders (“Instituut voor de Aanmoediging van Innovatie door Wetenschap en Technologie (IWT)”). The chairperson, who is an expert in science and innovation policy, is nominated directly by the Government.
The FWO-Vlaanderen finances curiosity-driven research at the universities, while the IWT funds, among other things, strategic basic and applied research at the universities and the university colleges.