Special Research Fund- Doctoral Scholarship

Through the Special Research Fund (BOF), Ghent University awards each year about 50 PhD grants to predoctoral researchers, aimed at obtaining a doctoral degree within a time span of 4 years. The scholarship is approximately € 2.225 per month, depending on the family status of the scholar.  A bench fee of € 310/month  will be awarded to the promoter.

Please note that at Ghent university doctoral studies are only open toward students who have the explicit invitation of a professor at Ghent University to join his/her research group as future PhD student. As soon as you have secured the support of a Ghent University professor you can start a scholarship application.

Duration BOF doctoral fellowship

  • Period: 1+3 years

In accordance with the regulations for PhD scholarship recipients, the doctoral program starts by definition with a scholarship agreement of 1 year.

If, before the end of the first year, the doctoral advisory committee or, in the absence thereof, the promoter(s) judge(s) that both the substantive progress in the context of the doctoral research and the overall functioning of the PhD scholarship recipientare such that the doctoral program can be successfully completed within a reasonable period of time, the promoter issues a positive advice in a written form. A positive recommendation leads to a 3-year extension of the doctoral scholarship.

  • Start fellowship: 1 October 2022

Who can apply for a BOF-doctoral  fellowship

To apply for a BOF doctoral fellowship candidates must meet several conditions:

Candidates who are rewarded a BOF PhD scholarship in 2022 are obliged to apply(*) in 2023 or 2024 for an

This call is only open for:

  • Candidates who will be eligible(*) in 2023 for an FWO PhD Fellowship Fundamental Research or an FWO PhD Fellowship basic research. (deadline March 1st, 2023), OR
  • Candidates who have applied for an FWO PhD fellowship in 2021 ànd 2022.

There are no restrictions on nationality, age or research topic.

This call is highly competitive. Excellent study results are an absolute requirement when applying for a BOF doctoral scholarship. To be taken into consideration, applicants preferably belong at least to the top 15% best students of the group of fellow students who took exams for the same degree (both on bachelor and master level). Applicants with a lower candidate score have very little chance of getting a BOF doctoral scholarship.

Applications must be submitted with the support of a Ghent University promoter. It is allowed that the application also contains a Ghent University co-promoter and 1 or more involved researchers.

BOF doctoral scholarship within a specific collaboration

Within the framework of three specific partnerships, a number of additional fellowships are provided each year. These fellowships are only awarded in the context of the proposed cooperation. For more information and supplementary requirements, please consult the call document available at the end of this webpage.

  1. BOF PhD scholarship with UNU-CRIS (United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies) label
  2. BOF PhD scholarship with I-SITE ULNE (I-SITE Université Lille Nord-Europe) label
  3. BOF doctoral scholarship with GUGC (Ghent University Global Campus - South Korea) label

Submission at FWO

    • Candidates who are rewarded a BOF PhD scholarship in 2022 are obliged to (re)apply(*) in 2023 or 2024 for an FWO PhD Fellowship fundamental research (FO)  or an FWO PhD Fellowship strategic basic research (SB).
    • In case the awarded BOF doctoral scholarship holder also applied for a FWO PhD Fellowship FO or SB and is invited for the second FWO evaluation round (interview), he/she is obliged to participate and prepare the interview thoroughly in advance.
    • If the FWO fellowship is awarded, the candidate is obliged to switch to FWO funding. The BOF scholarship will then be reallocated to a candidate on the BOF reserve list.
    (*)excluding doctoral mandates with a GUGC-Campus label, see the call document for further details regarding this exception

    How to apply

    • Applications for a BOF PhD grant have to be submitted on the application forms provided for that purpose and sent by e-mail to .
    • The promoter of the application must submit a document "advice promoter" and "questionnaire about the ethical and biosafety context of the proposed research project"


    • Deadline: 28 April 2022; 23:59

    Candidates who did not yet obtain their master degree at the moment of the application deadline have to send their diploma and final study results no later than 11 July 2022 to


      • Results available on September 2nd 2022
      • From this date on, unsuccessful candidates can request feedback via email to BOF@UGent.be.
      • Due to the high number of applications, the Research Council has decided to carry out the selection procedure in two steps. Applications that do not make it through to the second round will not be assessed for content. Consequently, no substantive feedback is possible for these applicants with regard to their project.


    Research Department
    Research Co-ordination Office - Special Research Fund


    Call and application forms

    The entire call and application form can also be downloaded below.

    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).