PhD Fellowship fundamental research


A PhD Fellowship fundamental research allows young researchers to prepare a PhD, and to develop into independent scientists with a critical mindset. Fundamental research in the context of a PhD fellowship stands for challenging and innovative research (at PhD level).

For the funding of a limited number of fellowships, the FWO collaborates with VITO and L'Oreal-Unesco.


  • Period: 2 years, renewable once
  • Net monthly scholarship amount:  minimum € 2.015,51
  • Fixed bench fee:  € 3.720 per year
  • Call closed
  • Announcement of selection results: 16 October 2019
  • Start fellowship: 1 November 2019

Profile and conditions

  • You are affiliated to a university in the Flemish Community or to the Evangelic Protestant Faculty in Leuven or the Faculty for Protestant Theology in Brussels
  • At the start of the fellowship, candidates must be holder of 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. No attestation is required for non-Belgian diplomas.
  • The master degree or equivalent diploma must have been obtained not earlier than 3 years before the closing date of the call.
  • You can apply maximum two times for the same fellowship.
  • MIND: CHANGE REGULATIONS: On 1 March 2019 (submission deadline) you have 18 months scientific seniority at most
  • You have not previously received an FWO fellowship (not even in part).
  • You agree with the Research Integrity Clause
  • Applied earlier for an FWO PhD fellowship? Look at the Transitional measures on eligibility conditions.
    • You can apply if you obtained your Master diploma not earlier than 5 years before 1 October 2019, or if you are not older than 31 years by 1 October 2019.
    • You can apply if on 1 October 2019, you have 36 months scientific seniority at most.

Submission and selection procedure

  • In a nutshell:
    • You find a supervisor 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.
    • You submit your application online (FWO e-portal).
    • The supervisor is invited by the FWO to write a letter of recommendation.
    • Your application is submitted to the FWO expert panel chosen by you.
    • In the beginning of July, after the preselection, you can be invited for a second round with interview
    • If you are selected for the second round, you'll be interviewed by the panel between 2 September and 4 October.
    • The expert panels report to the Board of Trustees
    • The Board of Trustees decides on the appointment (16 October 2019).
    • You receive feedback on the decision and the findings of the expert panel.

Information sessions call 2019

The FWO presents the new call for PhD fellowships (fundamental research and strategic basic research) to the 5 Flemish universities

The presentation is found here.

Agenda (for more details, see the university

KU Leuven: 18 December 2018

UAntwerpen: 18 December 2018

UGent: 19 December 2018

UHasselt: 10 Januari 2019

VUB: 20 December 2018

Regulations and downloads

Documents and additional information for applicants


General information

    • To understand the evaluation and selection process
    • To prepare an application that meets the evaluation criteria

Support with preparing the application

  • You can choose the expert panel that best fits your application. Check carefully the panel scopes in order to make the most adequate choice. For the interdisciplinary panel you should use the acceptance criteria decision tree to figure out whether this panel does really fit your proposal.
  • If during the evaluation of your proposal there is a panel consensus that the application is out of scope it can be rejected for that reason. It is important to stress that the responsibility for the match between application and panel is the applicant’s
  • 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

Evaluation Supporting documents

  • Scoring grids
    The scoring grid (scoring descriptors) will used by the expert panels as a reference framework for the evaluation during the preselection resp. interview sessions.

FWO PhD fellowship

There will be no new call for this type of fellowship. It is replaced by PhD fellowship fundamental research. You can find the information and regulations for this funding channel here:

ICM-FWO Fellowship

There will be no new call for the ICM-FWO Fellowship. You can apply in the funding channel 'PhD fellowship fundamental research and PhD fellowship strategic basic research'. You can find the information and regulations for this funding channel here: