IRO Doctoral Scholarship Program for Developing Countries Students in Belgium, 2014

"IRO Doctoral Scholarship Program"

"IRO Doctoral Scholarship Program"KU Leuven offers IRO Doctoral Scholarship developing countries students in Belgium. As one of its contributions to development cooperation, KU Leuven offers each academic year scholarships to deserving students from developing countries to do their PhD in the largest university of Flanders, Belgium. The programme is organized and managed by the Interfaculty Council for Development Cooperation.

The IRO Doctoral Scholarship Programme has supported more than a hundred PhD graduates over the past ten years. After obtaining their doctorates at KU Leuven, these PhD holders are now valorizing their degrees in their home countries either in university academic research or in various sectors of industry.

KU Leuven, which is situated at about 20 kilometers from Brussels, the capital of both Belgium and Europe, is the oldest university of the Low Countries. As such, it has a long-standing tradition of hospitality towards students and scholars from abroad. At present, 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 Subject:

Applicants for the IRO Doctoral Scholarship Programme may choose a research topic proposed by one of the KU Leuven Doctoral Schools or applicants may propose their own research topic.

The research topics proposed by the KU Leuven Doctoral Schools can be found on the topics of:

  • Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Science, Engineering and Technology
  • Biomedical Sciences

Applicants proposing their own research topic are asked to contact a professor at KU Leuven to discuss the opportunities for pursuing doctoral studies with their proposed  research topic. Within the websites of the three Doctoral Schools, namely “Humanities and Social Sciences”, “Science, Engineering and Technology”  and “Biomedical Sciences”, you can find out which KU Leuven professors do research on which topics. Alternatively, you may also visit the webpages of the faculties or departments in order to get an idea of the faculty members’ research interests. The contact information for each professor is provided accordingly.

The personal research proposal must be original and innovative. Moreover, the proposal must be clear, goal-oriented and feasible, meaning that it must be possible to complete the research within a maximum of four years.


  • The applicant must be a citizen of 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.
  • The time period between the date of completion of your MA degree and the date of submission of your scholarship application can be no more than ten years.
  • Excellent academic results
  • Excellent research project
  • Proof of embedness in the South and motivation in the framework of development cooperation
  • Excellent recommendations

Scholarship Duration:

The IRO Doctoral Scholarships are only granted for doctoral programs for a maximum period of 48 months and eventually for one pre-doctoral year as preparation period for the doctoral program. 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

Scholarship Value:

The scholarship includes monthly basic amount € 1,383 (75% of the net salary of an assistant) for doctoral students and € 900 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:

  • The call is open form 1 November 2013 until 15 January 2014.
  • January-April 2014: Selection of the candidates.
  • April-May 2014: The International Admissions and Mobility Unit of KU Leuven will prepare and send the official admission letters and scholarship attestations to the selected candidates.
  • May-August 2014: Selected candidates apply for their Belgian student visas and prepare for their travel to Leuven.
  • 1 October 2014 at the latest: Arrival in Leuven.

If you are selected but are unable to accept the scholarship because of circumstances acceptable to the KU Leuven, you may re-apply the following year. Your re-application will be considered as a new application and will be evaluated as such together with the others. If you were not selected you may re-apply only once.

Application Deadline: 15 January 2014.

For further information: IRO Doctoral Scholarship Program

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