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IRO Doctoral Scholarships Programme for Developing Countries in Belgium

KU Leuven is a university at the heart of Europe where internationally acclaimed research, high-quality education and societal outreach meet. As one of its contributions to development cooperation, KU Leuven offers scholarships every academic year to exceptional students from developing countries to course their PhD in the largest university of Flanders, Belgium.  The IRO Doctoral Scholarships are only granted for doctoral programmes for a maximum period of 48 months and eventually for one pre-doctoral year as preparation period for the doctoral programme. Applicants may choose a research topic proposed by one of the KU Leuven Doctoral Schools: Humanities and Social Sciences Science, Engineering and Technology Biomedical Sciences or applicants may propose their own research topic.
Katholieke_Universiteit_Leuven_adjOver the past ten years, the IRO Doctoral Scholarships Programme has supported over a hundred PhD graduates.  Having obtained their doctoral degree from KU Leuven, the PhD holders are now utilising their expertise back in their home countries either at a university (by doing academic research), government bodies, civil society organisations or in various sectors of the industry.

KU Leuven is situated at about twenty kilometers from Brussels, the capital of both Belgium and Europe. It is the oldest university of the Low Countries. As such, it has a long-standing tradition of hospitality towards students and scholars from abroad. Currently, almost 7,000 international students (about 15% of the total number of students at KU Leuven) have found their home away from home in Leuven.

Study Major(s): Applicants for the IRO Doctoral Scholarship Programme may choose a research topic proposed by one of the KU Leuven Doctoral research field: Humanities and Social Sciences, Science, Engineering and Technology Biomedical Sciences or applicants may propose their own research topic.

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Course Level: Scholarships are available for pursuing PhD Programme at KU Leuven.

Scholarship Provider: Katholieke University(KU) of Leuven’s Interfaculty Council for Development Cooperation, Belgium
Scholarship can be taken at: Belgium

Basic Eligibility Requirements: International students meeting all of the following requirements are eligible to apply for this scholarship.

  • The applicant must be a citizen of one of the countries on the OCDE DAC table that are considered as: Least Developed Countries, Low Income Countries or Low Middle Income Countries.
  • The applicant may not possess a citizenship from an EU country. The applicant may not posses a long-term EU residence permit.
  • The candidate’s latest master’s degree must have been awarded no more than ten years prior to October 1st, 2016 (including the ongoing calendar year).
  • The candidate must hold an academic qualification at least equivalent to a high distinction. Degrees obtained with a final score equivalent to second class second/lower division will not be taken into consideration.
  • Excellent academic quality of the research project, focusing on the development relevance of the proposal.
  • The candidate must demonstrate a development-oriented motivation.
  • The candidate must be supported by a local co-promoter at the candidate’s home country to ensure embeddedness of the research within the country’s context.
  • The candidate must be supported by excellent recommendations from relevant referees.

Scholarship Open for International Students: Yes, Students from one of the countries on the OECD DAC table that are listed under the following categories: Least Developed Countries, Low Income Countries or Low Middle Income Countries namely: (Afghanistan, Kenya, Armenia, Angola, Korea, Dem. Rep., Belize, Bangladesh, Kyrgyz Rep., Bolivia, Benin, Tajikistan, Cameroon, Bhutan, Zimbabwe, Cape Verde, Burkina Faso, Congo, Rep., Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Cambodia, Egypt, Central African Rep., El Salvador, Chad, Fiji, Comoros, Georgia, Congo, Dem. Rep., Ghana, Djibouti, Guatemala, Equatorial Guinea, Guyana, Eritrea, Honduras, Ethiopia, India, Cuba, Gambia, Indonesia, Guinea, Iraq, Guinea-Bissau, Kosovo1, Haiti, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Micronesia, Federated States, Laos, Moldova, Lesotho, Mongolia, Liberia, Morocco, Madagascar, Nicaragua, Malawi, Nigeria, Mali, Pakistan, Mauritania, Papua New Guinea, Mozambique, Paraguay, Myanmar, Philippines, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Niger, Swaziland, Rwanda, Syria, Samoa, Tokelau, São Tomé and Príncipe, Tonga, Senegal, Turkmenistan, Sierra Leone, Ukraine, Solomon Islands, Uzbekistan, Somalia, Vietnam, South Sudan, West Bank and Gaza Strip, Sudan, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Yemen and Zambia) can apply for this IRO Doctoral Scholarship Programme.

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Scholarship duration: The IRO Doctoral Scholarships are only granted for doctoral programmes for a maximum period of 48 months and eventually for one pre-doctoral year as preparation period for the doctoral programme. Applicants who have already been enrolled as self-supporting doctoral students at KU Leuven can only be granted the IRO doctoral scholarship for 4 years minus the number of years enrolled as doctoral student. The scholarship is renewed on a yearly basis in order to ensure progress from the doctoral student. The annual renewal of the scholarship depends on the annual evaluation of your doctoral progress by your promoter (supervisor) and by the Doctoral Commission of your Faculty. Further extensions are not possible under any circumstance.

Scholarship Cover:The scholarship includes monthly basic amount € 1,415 (75% of the net salary of an assistant) paid at the end of each month for doctoral students and €1000 paid at the beginning of each month for Pre-doctoral students, Housing allowance of € 200/month with accompanying partner (and children), Social security covering health insurance, child allowance, occupational hazard and occupational illness, Tuition fee, Affiliation with a Belgian Health Insurance company, Third-party liability insurance (private life), Professional and accident insurance coverage; third party liability insurance (study related matters and for professional liability) and Return flight tickets for the whole family after completion of the doctorate.

Selection Timetable

  • Application for the programme: September 1st, 2015 until November 9th, 2015
  • Selection of the candidates: November 2015 – March 2016
  • Release of results: April 2016. All the candidates will be informed about their outcome via email. Information regarding the application will not be provided before the official release of results.
  • Visa application by the selected candidates: April – June 2016
  • Arrival in Leuven: Last week of September 2016
  • Beginning of the (pre)doctoral programme: 1 October 2016
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How to Apply: Applications may be submitted via online or post.

Details on Application procedure

Application Form

Closing Date: The deadline for applications is November 9th 2015.

Official Scholarship Information Details

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