Exceptional extension of a PhD trajectory that was delayed due to COVID-19

This exceptional call is intended only for PhD students whose doctoral research is seriously delayed because of COVID-19 and for whom there are absolutely no alternative funding possibilities available with the promoter or the organisational unit (e.g. department, research group, etc.) of which the promoter is a member

Funding and duration

An extension of the PhD trajectory can be requested (PhD scholarship or contract for scientific staff if a scholarship is no longer possible) for 4 up to 12 months. No bench fee is provided.


The call is open to all PhD students, regardless of the funding body of the PhD trajectory so far.

To be eligible for additional funding, all of the conditions listed below must be met:

  • The doctoral research is in its final stage;
  • The doctoral research still requires essential research activities aimed at data collection or data processing without which the completion of the doctoral degree is impossible;
  • The data collection for the PhD research has been interrupted or seriously delayed for an extended period of time due to the effects of the COVID-19 crisis, with no alternative possibilities to continue or redirect the PhD research;
  • The delay or interruption of the PhD research lasted at least four months;
  • The circumstances and causes of the serious delay shall be duly substantiated;
  • The additional funding either immediately links up with ongoing funding of the PhD student (whether or not via UGent), or follows funding that was recently terminated;
  • There are no alternative funding possibilities available for the supervisor or the organisational unit (e.g. research group, possibly the department, etc.) of which the supervisor is a member in order to finance an extended PhD trajectory;
  • The granted period for additional funding cannot exceed the period of the reported interruption or serious delay of the doctoral trajectory, with a maximum period of 12 months;
  • Candidates who have received a COVID extension from the FWO are no longer eligible to apply at the Special Research Fund.

Some examples (non-exhaustive) of exceptional circumstances that may justify a request for additional funding:

  • Fieldwork (incl. access to libraries, archives, museums, ...) that is essential for the PhD research cannot take place for a longer period of time due to travel restrictions;
  • Essential research stays at a foreign research partner cannot take place due to travel restrictions;
  • Experiments could not take place because the research infrastructure was fully used for COVID-19 related analyses or research activities;
  • Seasonal research could not be started, resulting in a one-year delay for this research;
  • Longitudinal research was interrupted for a longer period or could not be started;
  • Research activities (e.g. questionnaires, focus interviews, ...) could not take place because of the impossibility of physical meetings with the target audience (residents of residential care centres, hospital patients, ...)

How to apply?

An application must be submitted by the promoter on the form provided for that purpose (in Dutch or English) and sent by e-mail to BOFapplication@ugent.be .


  • No fixed deadline, applications can be submitted at any time.
  • The evaluation committee meets monthly. The next meeting dates are: 14/05/2024, 6/06/2024, 4/07/2024, 27/08/2024, 24/09/2024, 17/10/2024, 18/11/2024, 17/12/2024, 21/01/2025, 20/02/2025, 20/03/2025, 24/04/2025, 20/05/2025, 17/06/2025.  Applications should reach us at least 10 days before the meeting of the evaluation committee, otherwise the application will be considered during the next meeting.

  • If there is still ongoing funding for the PhD, the application can be submitted at the earliest 8 months before the end of the ongoing funding.
  • Candidates are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible to ensure a subsequent extension. This is especially the case when the appointment must be made as a WP (group 1) and the candidate is subject to the single permit regulations (NON-EEA nationality).


Promoters will be informed of the result personally within one week after the evaluation committee took place.


Research Department
Research Co-ordination Office - Special Research Fund

E BOF@UGent.be

Call and application forms

Application form Dutch  / application form English

Scientific report

Final report : within three months following upon the end of the grant a final scientific/scholarly report has to be sent electronically to . The promoter and co-promoter (if applicable) are included in this e-mail (either as sender, or in CC).