Special PhD fellowship


The special PhD fellowship enables persons not employed within scientific research to complete a PhD within one year. Applicants must be in possession of a "temporary leave" certificate issued by their current employer.


  • Period: 1 year
  • Net scholarship amount: identical to the last net salary of the main activity
  • Call closed
  • Announcement of results: June 2019
  • Start of fellowship: 1 September or 1 October 2019 (choice of the candidate)
  • Success rate 2018: 63%

Profile and conditions

  • You have a master degree from one of the countries of the EU or the EER  or Switzerland.
  • You are permanently employed.
  • You are not professionally involved in scientific research.
  • Your employer is willing to give you temporary leave or unpaid leave for 1 year. You are entitled to return to your job after the leave ends.
  • You relinquish any secondary activity and associated remuneration. 
  • You have not previously received an FWO fellowship (not even in part).
  • Clinicians cannot apply for a special PhD fellowship. They can apply for a clinical PhD fellowship.
  • You agree with the Research Integrity 


  • You contact a supervisor affiliated to a Flemish university
  • The supervisor undertakes to properly coach and guide you as doctorandus.
  • The supervisor is invited by the FWO to write a letter of recommendation.
  • You complete your application online
  • Your application is submitted to the Cross-Domain Panel.
  • Cross-Domain Panel reports to the board of trustees.
  • The Board of Trustees decides on your appointment.

Regulations and downloads


Documents and additional information for applicants


Specific supporting documents

  • List research discipline codes
    Starting with the current call for the 2019 fellowships the FWO is using a new list of research discipline codes.  This is a hierarchical and structured compilation of research topics by discipline in all scientific fields. All applicants that have already an e-portal account should update their research discipline codes according to the new list