PhD students as UGent staff

Your employment situation at UGent varies according to the way your PhD research is financed. The Personnel Department takes care of the files of assisting academic staff, researchers who are UGent scholarship recipients (in Dutch: 'bursalen'), or scientific staff working within the framework of a promotor's project, development cooperation or a Special Research Fund mandate ('BOF').

UGent PhD scholarship recipients

A UGent PhD scholarship allows you to perform research solely in preparation of your doctoral thesis. You are asked to sign a UGent PhD scholarship agreement and turn in some documents essential for a personnel file. Because this agreement is not an employment contract in strictu sensu, some specific rules apply.

As a UGent PhD scholarship recipient you are expected to perform research under the guidance of a PhD supervisor and are part of his/her faculty department. You are enrolled as a doctoral student and must comply with doctoral regulations.

A UGent PhD scholarship is fiscally exempted. Also, for Ghent University or your supervisor the employment costs for a scholarship recipient are lower than for a scientific employee.

ABC for UGent PhD scholarship recipients

UGent employee

Assisting academic staff

An appointment as assisting academic staff usually runs for two years, with the possibility of a extension to six or seven years. In case you are employed full-time, you are expected to spend 50% of your time at research. The remaining 50% can be used for teaching and/or lab assignments, administrative tasks, etc. in your department.

Scientific employee

If you do not meet the UGent PhD scholarship requirements, an appointment as scientific employee is also an option. This means Ghent University becomes your employer. Such an appointment is contractual (i.e. for a fixed period of time), either full-time or part-time. There is also a specific career progression.

Not a UGent employee

You can of course perform PhD research at UGent with personal funding, e.g. PhD scholarship from an external funding organisation. Usually this is a fiscally exempted scholarship for a maximum period (2 to 4 years).

If you receive a scholarship from FWO or IWT, or funding via IMEC, VIB or IBBT, you are not a UGent employee. However, as an employee from one of the aforementioned foundations you benefit from the same rights as a UGent employee.