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Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) - Support for Individual Researchers (Doctoral Scholarships)

The FWO aims to provide young and promising researchers with every opportunity to do a PhD in the best possible circumstances. The PhD fellowships represent the most important funding channel for achieving this objective.
These fellowships are intended for young researchers who are doing their PhD. The PhD research must be fundamental in nature. There is no restriction as regards the topic. The FWO employs a strictly bottom-up approach, in which the researcher can choose the topic of his/her research.

Duration

 

Doctoral Grants (Ph.D):

  • General Ph.D. grants : 214 grants per year for 2 x 2 years;
  • Special Ph.D. grants : 5 grants per year for 1 year;
  • Clinical Ph.D. grants : 5 grants per year for 2 years part-time.

Who can apply?

Starting with the new call 2011, it is no longer possible to apply more than 2 times for the same fellowship. For the new call 2011 applicants for a predoctoral fellowship can, based on a motivated letter, ask an ad hoc exception to this rule.

 

PhD fellowship

The candidate must be of Belgian nationality, or belong to one of the member states of the European Union or the European Economic Area (*) + Switzerland. He or she should also possess a degree that would be required by a university in the Flemish Community for mandatory enrolment as a PhD or final year student at the time of the application. Non-EU candidates must have a basic degree from one of the countries within the European Union or the European Economic Area (*) + Switzerland. The candidate must submit proof which will allow the university trustees to grant him or her permission to do a PhD thesis.

 Candidates are only eligible for a PhD fellowship within the first five years of obtaining their Master’s degree, calculated on the start date of the fellowship (1 October). If a candidate has more than one Master’s degree, this rule only applies to the degrees obtained in the same study area as the PhD proposal. The 1st Master’s must in any case have been obtained no more than 10 years before the start date of the fellowship (1 October). This restriction does not apply to candidates who have not yet reached the age of 31 at the start of the fellowship (1 October).

 The FWO Senate can make an exception to this rule in cases where, for social and medical reasons, either there is an interruption in the preliminary stage, or there has been a reduced capacity to work.

 Candidates cannot apply for a fellowship of which they have previously, if only partially, been the beneficiary.

 

Special Ph.D. fellowship

A temporary fellowship, without any obligation to repay, can be granted to Belgians, in order to help them complete their research, with a view to obtaining a PhD. The fellowship can exceptional be granted to persons belonging to another country in the European Union or the European Economic Area (EU-countries, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein), but only if it will benefit scientific research in Flanders. The candidates must be employed in a permanent position. They must be able to obtain study leave (for scientific activities or for activities of a general nature) or unpaid leave (not a sabbatical) for one year, with the guarantee of being able to return to their job at the end of this period of leave. The candidates must possess a degree that would be required by a university in the Flemish Community and by virtue of its office registered higher education institutes ( article 7 of the Decree on the structure of Higher Education), who can allocate the degree of PhD (articles 54-55 of the Decree on the structure of Higher Education), for enrolment on a PhD course.

 Clinicians cannot put apply for the Special PhD fellowship, because the Clinical PhD fellowship exists for that purpose.

 A Special PhD fellowship cannot be applied for by a candidate who has previously been the beneficiary of a pre-PhD fellowship, even if it was only partial.

 Due to the specific aim of the Special PhD fellowship, those working in scientific research at the moment of application are not eligible to apply.

 

Clinical Ph.D. fellowship

This fellowship is aimed at doctors, veterinary surgeons, dentists and pharmacists, who, no later than 1 June preceding the fellowship, are recognized medical specialists, veterinary specialists, dental specialists, general practitioner or pharmacist specialists in Belgium.

 At the time of application and at least up to the final date of the requested fellowship the candidates are employed at an academic hospital or a university veterinary surgery affiliated to a university in the Flemish Community, where they perform a full-time clinical function.

 

When candidates are recognised as general practitioner, they must have an employment contract at a university department of general practitioner medicine and at the same time performing a role in general practitcioner medicine for the remaining %.

 The candidates for such a fellowship must, at the time of submitting their application, present a testimony from their promoter, in which the latter declares that the work is sufficiently advanced so that with the intended fellowship, a PhD can be obtained within the duration of the fellowship.

 

A Clinical PhD fellowship cannot be applied for by a candidate who has previously been the beneficiary of a pre-PhD fellowship, even if it was only partial.

 

How does it work?

The applications must be submitted in English.

 

Deadline: 1st of February before 17u00

Applications for personal grants or research proposals are selected by a scientific committee which consists of  independent experts in each specific discipline. Overall, 29 subject specific expertpanels (http://www.fwo.be/Expert-panels.aspx) and 1 interdisciplinary panel participate in such selection procedures. Most of these experts are affiliated to a non-Flemish university.

 Interim evaluation will be based on activity reports.

 

How much funding is involved?

The allowance for general Ph.D. The fellowship grant is based on the salary of a research assistant. They can receive an additional bench fee of up to € 5,000 per year.

The Special Ph.D. grant corresponds with the candidate’s monthly income outside academia.

The Clinical Ph.D. grant corresponds with the candidate’s part-time income at a university hospital.

For more information:

Lieve Huys

www.fwo.be