IRO Doctoral Scholarship Programme, Belgium

Deadline: 15 January 2014
Open to: citizens of one of the Least Developed, Low Income or Low Middle Income Countries (see list HERE) who completed a MA degree no more than ten years ago
Scholarship: tuition waiver, health insurance, monthly stipend of €1,383 for doctoral students or €900 for pre-doctoral students


As one of its contributions to development cooperation, KU Leuven offers each academic year scholarships to deserving students from developing countries to do their PhD in the largest university of Flanders, Belgium. The programme is organized and managed by the Interfaculty Council for Development Cooperation.

The IRO Doctoral Scholarship Programme has supported more than a hundred PhD graduates over the past ten years. After obtaining their doctorates at KU Leuven, these PhD holders are now valorizing their degrees in their home countries either in university academic research or in various sectors of industry.

KU Leuven, which is situated at about 20 kilometers from Brussels, the capital of both Belgium and Europe, is the oldest university of the Low Countries. As such, it has a long-standing tradition of hospitality towards students and scholars from abroad. At present, almost 7,000 international students (about 15% of the total number of students at KU Leuven) have found their home away from home in Leuven.

The IRO Doctoral Scholarships are only granted for doctoral programmes for a maximum period of 48 months and eventually for one pre-doctoral year as preparation period for the doctoral programme. Applicants who have already been enrolled as self-supporting doctoral students at KU Leuven can only be granted the IRO doctoral scholarship for 4 years minus the number of years enrolled as doctoral student.


Conditions for applicants:

  1. The time period between the date of completion of applicant’s MA degree and the date of submission of the scholarship application can be no more than ten years.
  2. Excellent academic results.
  3. Excellent research project.
  4. Proof of embedness in the South and motivation in the framework of development cooperation.
  5. Excellent recommendations.
  6. The applicant must be a citizen of one of the these countries: Afghanistan, Kenya, Armenia, Albania, Angola Korea, Dem. Rep., Belize, Algeria, Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan, Bolivia, Anguilla, Benin, Tajikistan, Cameroon, Antigua and Barbuda, Bhutan, Zimbabwe Cape Verde, Argentina, Burkina Faso, Congo Rep., Azerbaijan, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Belarus, Cambodia, Egypt, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Central African Rep., El Salvador, Botswana, Chad, Fiji, Brazil, Comoros, Georgia, Chile, DR Congo, Ghana, China, Djibouti, Guatemala, Colombia, Equatorial Guinea, Guyana, Cook Islands, Eritrea, Honduras, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, India, Cuba, Gambia, Indonesia, Dominica, Guinea, Iraq, Dominican Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Kosovo, Ecuador, Haiti, Marshall Islands, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Gabon, Laos, Moldova, Grenada, Mongolia, Iran, Liberia, Morocco, Jamaica, Madagascar, Nicaragua, Jordan, Malawi, Nigeria, Kazakhstan, Mali, Pakistan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Papua New Guinea, Libya, Mozambique, Paraguay, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Niger, Swaziland, Mexico, Rwanda, Syria, Montenegro, Samoa, Tokelau, Montserrat, São Tomé and Príncipe, Tonga, Namibia, Senegal, Turkmenistan, Nauru, Sierra Leone, Ukraine, Niue, Solomon Islands, Uzbekistan, Palau, Somalia, Vietnam, Panama, South Sudan, West Bank and Gaza Strip, Peru, Sudan, Serbia, Tanzania, Seychelles, Timor-Leste, South Africa, Togo, St. Helena, Tuvalu, St. Kitts-Nevis, Uganda, St. Lucia, Vanuatu, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Yemen, Suriname, Zambia, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Wallis and Futuna, Uruguay, Venezuela and Lesotho.


Doctoral students will get a monthly stipend of €1,383 (75 percent of the net salary of an assistant) and a social security coverage. In the other hand, pre-doctoral students get a monthly stipend of €900 and no coverage by social security.

All the beneficiaries enjoy waiver of tuition fees, affiliation with a Belgian Health Insurance company, professional and accident insurance coverage; third party liability insurance (study related matters and for professional liability) and return flight tickets for the beneficiary and (in case) his/her family after completion of the doctorate.


If you meet the eligibility conditions, you will need to follow the online application system accurately and fully. Application must be send by 15 January 2014. Documents to upload and submit:

  • The elaboration form of your Research Proposal signed by the appropriate professors. (Applicants who are already enrolled in a doctoral programme at KU Leuven will only need to prepare the detailed progress report as defined in their Doctoral School. The report must be signed by the promoter and the members of the examination committee of the doctoral student.)
  • Your personal motivation and the development relevance of your research proposal making use of this form. Herein the applicant must explain how the research proposal can be approached and treated in a manner relevant to development cooperation.
  • Two letters of recommendation by persons other than your (prospective) promoter and local co-promoter, who are qualified to assess your academic capabilities. The two letters of recommendation should be submitted in sealed envelopes and sent directly by the referees to International Admissions and Mobility, KU Leuven, Atrecht College, Naamsestraat 63 – bus 5410, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium before January 15.
  • Copies of applications for other scholarships, if any.
  • Only for new students who have not yet been enrolled at KU Leuven: Certificate of English proficiency.
  • Only for applicants for the doctoral programme in economics or applied economics: a GMAT or GRE score.

For further information, please visit the official website HERE.

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