cSBO Projects

Strategic Basic Research for clusters (cSBO) projects involve innovative research that is unique with regards to the state-of-the-art, has a clear differentiating factor, and tests disruptive ideas at low TRL levels. In the event of scientific success, the research offers a prospect for future economic applications.

The intended knowledge acquisition of a cSBO project technically and substantively deepens the Moonshot roadmap. Additionally, a cSBO project is never a stand-alone project, but is sharply defined to fit within a specific Moonshot Research Trajectory (MOT) and to contribute to the KPIs of one or multiple MOTs. Thus, the accumulated knowledge from cSBO projects contributes to a more elaborated research trajectory and the realisation of the overall Moonshot goals. A clear (quantitative) contribution to CO2 emission abatement and carbon-circularity is mandatory.

Each cSBO project proposal is submitted by a consortium of at least three research groups from at least two Flemish research organisations. A well-performing consortium is slim, balanced, complementary and with good understanding and cooperation. Complementarity or cooperation with a non-Flanders research group should not be avoided if appropriate for competence building and success.

Within Moonshot, two different kinds of cSBO are defined. In addition, there is also a framework for the continuation of sprint cSBOs approved in 2019.

Full cSBO Projects

Full cSBO projects are “regular” with regard to duration and budget. They have a max. duration of 48 months with a max. budget of 3 million euro at a a subsidy percentage of 100%.

These projects are formed from a top-down approach. In 2020, industrial input was collected during a broad brainstorm with industrial partners from the chemical, petrochemical, steel and energy sectors. This resulted in a mapping of the specific challenges these sectors face within each Moonshot Research Trajectory (MOT). Based on this input and in consultation with the Scientific Advisory Board (WAR), the Moonshot Governance Board (MGB) has imposed a guiding framework/specific priority themes for each MOT. All full cSBO project proposals are required to adhere to these themes.

Priority Themes

MOT1 Biobased Chemistry
Producing biobased precursors from biomass waste for chemicals/materials manufacturing using advanced separation and catalytic processes.

MOT2 Circularity of Carbon in Materials
Focus on chemical recycling of mixed plastics waste as input stream including the valorisation of residual fractions, and/or emphasizing innovative approaches for smart tracking and efficient separation technologies of different plastics/materials to obtain clean recyclable streams.

MOT3 Electrification & Radical Process Transformation
1. Innovative CO2 capture from point sources (5-25 wt.% CO2) and conversion to products with strong focus on economics (CAPEX and OPEX reduction) of the processes. Capture and conversion might be combined, but this is not a pre-requisite.
2. Power-to-chemicals: modular/decentralized processes (shift from CAPEX to OPEX) with minimal separation cost. (with power being green electricity)
3. New/innovative separation technologies as a cheaper and CO2-efficient alternative to distillation.

MOT4 Energy Innovation
1. Renewable hydrogen production, storage and transport with focus on economics.
2. Valorisation of (residual) heat in industrial processes.

Across all MOTs, these priority themes are imposed in light of the following conditions:
“with significant CO2 emission reduction potential” and “with an improved process/product life cycle”


For an overview of the full cSBO projects, please consult the projects page.

Continuation sprint cSBOs approved in 2019

Sprint cSBOs approved in 2019 and running since early 2020 can apply for a follow-up project. To this end, a seperate application and evaluation procedure has been worked out that aims, as much as possible, to minimize time delay and funding gaps, to maintain research momentum, and to retain knowledgeable and expert research staff. This seperate procedure requires, however, an indication of preliminary research success.

All in all, the original sprint cSBO project and its subsequent follow-up project will, together, make up a trajectory similar to a full cSBO project (max. duration of 30 months and max. budget of 1.8-2 million euro). Interested in continuing your sprint cSBO? Please contact your MOT representative.

Sprint cSBO Projects

Sprint cSBO projects are short-term strategic basic research projects with a limited budget. They have a max. duration of 18 months with a budget between 400.000-850.000 euro at a a subsidy percentage of 100%.

Sprint cSBOs are specifically designed to accelerate the build-up of critical mass around strategic research topics in a short amount of time. Proof-of-concept projects are proposed that can prove that a disruptive technique, process or product is feasible. Sprint cSBOs are projects coming from bottom-up initiatives that allow the knowledge partners for each MOT to test creative, lucrative and risky concepts.

In 2021, this project type is only available for new project proposals under exceptional circumstances. For more information about the available project types, contact moonshot@catalisti.be or the relevant MOT representative.


For an overview of the sprint cSBO projects, please consult the projects page.