FWO: How do I complete the DMP section in my FWO application?

Data management planning as part of FWO policy

As of 2018, the FWO has made Research Data Management (RDM) a key element of its policy for all support channels. This entails new requirements for researchers regarding data management planning (see the UGent RDM webpages for more details on FWO policy).

  • Importantly, prospective project supervisors (from 2018) and pre-/postdoctoral fellows (from 2020) have to complete a short “Data Management Plan” (DMP) section in the FWO electronic application form.

DMP section in the FWO application form

The DMP section in the FWO application form consists of 5 RDM-related questions that applicants are expected to answer in a concise manner. Below, you can find an overview of the questions along with some guidance to help you draft your response. 

In the context of Open Science, FWO stimulates high-quality data management and tries to build the necessary trust to evolve towards open and FAIR Data as much as possible. FWO emphasises the importance of sustainable preservation and management of data. The objective is to ensure that data are preserved for at least five years after the end of the research. The questions related to DMP in the application form are related to this central aspect.

  • Keep in mind that in the context of RDM, “research data” is a very broad concept, encompassing any information that is collected/created and subsequently analysed with the aim of generating scientific claims. In other words, research data are not limited to numerical data in spreadsheets, but can take many other forms as well (including e.g. textual, audiovisual or multimedia data, in the form of databases, images, maps, audio recordings, (un)structured text files..., and resulting from experiments, observations, simulations, or compiled/derived from other sources). 

Questions & guidance

1. Describe the datatypes (surveys, sequences, manuscripts, objects…) the research will collect and/or generate and/or (re)use. (max. 700 characters)

When answering this question, include information about the following:

  • will you reuse existing data, generate new data, or do both?
  • will you be working with personal data (= any information relating to an identified/identifiable natural person)?
  • make a list of all data types (interviews, samples, observations, manuscripts, experiments, models…) that you will presumably be using during the project. Also provide information on data formats (e.g. .txt, .csv …).
  • if possible, estimate the expected total volume of data (e.g. in KB/MB/GB/TB…); this will be indicative of whether you will need a budget for data storage or preservation.

2. Specify in which way the following provisions in place in order to preserve the data during and at least 5 years after the end of the research? Motivate your answer. (max. 700 characters)

a. Designation of responsible person (if already designated, please fill in his/her name)

FWO expects relevant research data to be preserved for a minimum term of 5 years beyond the end of the research. Who is the person responsible for data preservation (if known already)? In case the FWO wants to contact someone with questions regarding the long-term preservation of the data, who can be contacted?

b. Storage capacity/repository (during/after the research)

Is sufficient storage capacity guaranteed during and after the research project? In view of the type, format and estimated volume of the data, will you be able to guarantee safe and secure storage during the project and for at least 5 years beyond the end of the project? It is good practice to already mention where data will be kept (and who will have access to them). 

Indicate where you will store data during the research and whether the necessary capacity is available.

After the research, you can do more than passively archive the data, and opt to share/publish them (if appropriate given the nature of the data). Best practice here is to make use of established, trusted resources listed in re3data.org or FAIRsharing.org, such as:


When answering this part of the DMP section in the FWO application form, keep in mind that not all data should or can be kept (indefinitely) beyond the lifetime of a project. Data to keep include:

  • data that you are legally obliged to keep
  • data crucial for the verification of research results
  • data that cannot be re-created
  • data obtained at great cost of time & money
  • data with great potential re-use value, incl. for your own research unit
  • data with great scientific, historical or cultural significance

3. What's the reason why you wish to deviate from the principle of preservation of data and of the minimum preservation term of 5 years? (max. 700 characters)

In case keeping (some of) the data for at least 5 years after the end of the research is not possible, explain why this is so. Reasons could include:

  • legal/ethical restrictions (e.g. research participants have not given informed consent for archiving personal data)
  • contractual restrictions (e.g. when you re-use data from a third party, the latter may not allow you to keep the data beyond the project’s lifetime)
  • practical obstacles  

4. Are there issues concerning research data are indicated in the ethics questionnaire of this application form? Which specific security measures do those data require? (max. 700 characters)

For all projects that identified at least 1 issue in the ethics questionnaire this section should receive an answer.

To all personal or otherwise sensitive data (e.g. data from research with dual use potential, data that - if disclosed - could cause harm to endangered species, to vulnerable sites or groups, to public health and safety, etc.) stringent security measures relating to storage and access apply. Provide a short description of how this can be guaranteed by the project/the host institution. 

Ghent University researchers can, for example, refer to the institutional information security policies, and document specific security measures. 

5. Which other issues related to the data management are relevant to mention? (max. 700 characters)

Are there any other aspects that will have an impact on the way research data will be managed? For example:

  • Is there a third party involved in the project? Will they (co-)own the data? Will data transfers need to be set up?
  • Will data analysts or data managers be recruited for the project?
  • ...

Submission & review

These questions and the corresponding answers are part of the application file to be submitted to the evaluators. The applicants are not expected to present a detailed plan of approach at this stage, but rather to provide essential but concise information that can later be developed into a DMP. The answers to these questions as well as the DMP should cover the full project, including all national and international partners involved in cross-institution projects.

The evaluation panels and external referees (for programs with external peer review) that assess the applications also inspect this part of the evaluation. For this reason, the DMP questionnaire is an integral part of the application file.



More information

For more information on Research Data Management, also see Ghent University's RDM webpages.


Source reference

Information on the webpages of FWO: https://www.fwo.be/en/about-fwo/research-policy/data-management-plan-dmp/


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Last modified May 29, 2024, 10:12 a.m.