Scientific Prize Gustave Boël - Sofina Fellowships


Thanks to the help of the King Baudouin Foundation, acting on behalf of the Platform for Education and Talent, FWO and F.R.S.-FNRS may grant the Gustave Boël – Sofina Fellowships to talented PhD students for a research and/or training stay abroad.

The Gustave Boël – Sofina Fellowships consist of:

  • a fixed allowance of €1 650 per month; the monthly allowance may be used for accommodation, daily living expenses, expenses related to the research or training undertaken in the course of the Fellowship, and local transportation.
  • travel costs, i.e. a lump sum of €1 000 covering an economy class return ticket

The jury will take into account other funding granted to the applicant for the same stay abroad (e.g. travel grants); applicants are expected to indicate in the application form all other funding applied for to cover the same period and purpose. 


Candidates may go abroad to a host institution of their choice in all countries worldwide except the United States of America. The quality of the host institution is an important criterion in the selection procedure, since the Platform for Education and Talent aims at promoting excellence through training at the best educational institutions abroad. Also, the Platform for Education and Talent envisages these fellowships not only as a way to broaden the candidates’ experience and training, but also to establish a global network of talent and develop new contacts abroad. Hence they encourage candidates to look for a host institution where they have not been staying for a significant period prior to the Gustave Boël – Sofina research stay.

As from the 1st of January 2020, the FWO implements a sustainable travel policy that aims to contribute to the climate objectives. Details are available here. Please take this policy into account, when making your travel plans.

In response to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic, FWO has implemented a number of measures for all travel grants. Details are available here.


The following eligibility criteria apply for candidates who are seeking a Gustave Boël – Sofina Fellowship:

  • You are a PhD student with a paid affiliation at a Belgian university at the deadline of the call and when leaving for your research stay abroad; beneficiaries of clinical PhD fellowships, as well as candidates from the Royal Military Academy, are eligible
  • You have obtained a MA or MSc after November 1, 2016
  • You have a clear attachment to Belgium; you have been affiliated to a Belgian university for at least one full year prior to the submission deadline and will be affiliated to a Belgian university for at least the entire duration of the research stay.
  • Your stay abroad will last either 6 or 12 months and should fall within the academic year 2021-2022

Applicants should have an outstanding academic record (study results; academic results in your PhD research if already started) as well as an excellent command of the language which will be used at the host institution.


The FWO will check the eligibility of applications submitted prior to the evaluation by the Jury. A scientific Jury appointed by the F.R.S.-FNRS / FWO will evaluate and rank all applications according to the following evaluation criteria:

  • the applicant’s profile;
  • the applicant’s motivation, expressed in his/her motivation letter;
  • the quality of the host institution;
  • the potential to realise the project described in the application;
  • the project will be evaluated on its merits and benefits to the candidate and his/her career.

Application pocedure

Applications have to be submitted at the latest by November 3, 2020 by email to the address The application file should contain:

  • the application form, filled in completely and correctly;
  • a detailed curriculum vitae (including a list of publications);
  • a letter of reference by the applicant’s PhD supervisor;
  • a personal motivation letter; please be certain to explain why you want to go to the chosen host institution, why you need the Gustave Boël – Sofina fellowship as well as your affiliation to Belgium (previous, current and future affiliations);
  • an invitation letter from the foreign host institution, in which the responsible contact person in the country of destination acknowledges that the successful candidate will be received at the institute chosen for his/her training or research activities for the duration of the Fellowship;
  • Be aware: For any travel towards a higher-risk destination, the FWO (travel) grant can only be used in case of a positive advice of the concerned host institution. Please make sure to request this advice at the responsible advisory body of your host institution;
  • a detailed curriculum vitae (with list of publications) of the head of the foreign research group.

Regulations and downloads

The regulations detail all aspects of the application procedure for the Gustave Boël-Sofina Fellowships.


For more information, please contact FWO at