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 monthly scholarship amount: identical to the last net salary of the main activity, limited to the net salary which the beneficiary would receive as assistant at a university in the Flemish Community
  • Call 2022 closed (new call will open on 7 December 2022)
  • Deadline next call: 1 March 2023 17:00h CET
  • Announcement of selection results: 1 July 2023
  • Start of fellowship: 1 September 2023 or 1 October 2023 (choice of the candidate)

Profile and conditions

  • You have a diploma at least equivalent to a master's degree following a bachelor's degree and awarded by the competent institutions in one of the countries of the European Economic Area 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).
  • You agree with the Research Integrity Clause


  • You contact a a promotor affiliated to a Flemish university (or to the Evangelic Protestant Faculty in Leuven or the Faculty for Protestant Theology in Brussels), who is ready to guide you as a doctorandus. The promotor undertakes to properly coach and guide you as doctorandus.
  • The promotor is invited by the FWO to write a letter of recommendation.
  • You submit your application online (FWO e-portal).
  • Your application is submitted to the Cross-Domain Panel.
  • The Cross-Domain Panel reports to the board of trustees.
  • The board of trustees decides on the appointment (end June 2022).
  • You receive feedback on the decision and the findings of the expert panel.

Regulations and downloads

  • General regulations
    These general regulations are applicable for every funding of FWO
  • Regulations for Special PhD Fellowship
    These regulations contain all conditions to apply for an FWO-Special PhD Fellowship
  • Internal and external peer review
    These regulations lay down the conditions of the evaluation and award procedure for the research support programmes managed by the FWO. The composition of the panels for the FWO fellowships will be published early 2019.

Documents and additional information for applicants

Specific supporting documents

  • List research discipline codes
    Since 2019 the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) has been using the new list of research discipline codes as compiled by ECOOM in collaboration with relevant stakeholders and which has been approved for use within Flanders. This list of discipline codes is a hierarchical and structured compilation of research topics by discipline in all scientific fields.
  • Application form screen shots – (version 2022)
  • Evaluation form for evaluating a Special PhD fellowship
    The evaluation criteria for evaluating the applications for a special PhD fellowship at the FWO.
  • More info on the expert panel that will assess your application.