Junior postdoctoral fellowship

Applying for a FWO postdoctoral fellowship in Corona times

The Covid-19 crisis is affecting and delaying many research activities since March: restricted access to research facilities, taking care of children during lockdown, increased commitment to teaching or healthcare, … International mobility has virtually come to a standstill. 

As a candidate postdoctoral fellow you may be worried about the impact of all this on the strength of your application file and the ambitions of your research project. 

Therefore we advise you to mention specific factors that influence your application in the entry field ‘career breaks’ and, where appropriate, ‘personal statement’, ‘research stays’ and/or in the project description file. 

The FWO will explicitly instruct the external reviewers as well as the panel members to take this into account when assessing your application.


The junior postdoctoral fellowships are intended to support researchers who have only recently completed their PhD, in developing an independent, international research career.

For the funding of a limited number of an additional postdoctoral fellowship, the FWO collaborates with Meise Botanical Garden.

For the postdoctoral fellowships call 2021, the Funds Suzanne Duchesne, managed by the King Baudouin Foundation offers an amount of € 70,000 in the form of special bench fees for selected postdoc researchers in oncology (Med4 panel).


  • Period: 3 years
  • Salary scale: minimum € 4,217.57 - maximum € 6,574.78
  • New Call open since 21 September 2020
  • Submission Deadline: 1 December 2020 at 5pm CET
  • Announcement of results: (End of) May 2021
  • Start of fellowship: October 1, 2021 (November 1, 2021 is also possible as start date)

Profile and conditions

  • See the programme regulations for more details on eligibility conditions
  • You hold a PhD by thesis or a degree or a diploma or certificate recognized as equivalent in accordance with European Union directives or a bilateral agreement
  • You can apply for a junior postdoctoral fellowship if your PhD was obtained not longer than 3 years before October, 1 of the year in which the fellowship would start, or will be obtained at Jun 1 of that year at the latest.
  • You have not previously received a similar fellowship (not even in part).
  • You can apply maximum two times for the same fellowship. You can apply for a senior postdoctoral fellowship immediately after your junior postdoctoral fellowship
  • You agree with the Research Integrity Clause

 Evaluation and selection procedure

  • You contact a supervisor affiliated to a Flemish host organization (eligible list: see regulations postdoctoral fellowships)
  • You complete your application online, which is submitted to an FWO Expert panel
  • The supervisor is asked by the FWO to write a letter of recommendation.
  • Early April , after the preselection by the expert panel, you can be invited for a second round with interview, else, you will be notified you have not been selected
  • If you are selected for the second round, you'll be interviewed by the panel between April 22 and May 17, 2021. Exact panel data will be published once available. The interviews are conducted in the FWO offices, however, depending on the COVID-19 situation by then, interviews may be organized online. This will be communicated timely.
  • The Expert panels report to the Board of Trustees, who  decides on the appointment (End of May 2021)
  • You will receive feedback on the evaluation after the decision.
  • The evaluation and selection procedures will be explained during infosessions (see below)


Documents and additional information for applicants


General information:

  • Evaluation and selection procedures are commented during the information sessions. This presentation (version 2021) serves as a practical applicants guide. The presentation allows to
    • Better understand the evaluation and selection process
    • Preprare an application that meets the selection criteria
  • Example application form: offers a number of screenshots of the online application forms and the project template outline (Version 2021)

Info sessions call 2021 (online sessions)

  • 1 October 2020 VUB
  • 6 October 2020 Universiteit Hasselt
  • 7 October 2020 KU Leuven
  • 8 October 2020 Universiteit Antwerpen
  • 9 October 2020 UGent

Supporting documents for your application

  • Expert panels: make the right choice!
  • 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 acceptancecriteria 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
    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.

Evaluation supporting documents

  • Scoring grid (scoring descriptors) used by the expert panels incl external reviewers

Working as a FWO postdoctoral researcher?