Special Research Fund- Doctoral Scholarship

Through the Special Research Fund (BOF), Ghent University awards each year about 50 PhD grants to predoctoral researchers, aimed at obtaining a doctoral degree within a time span of 4 years. The scholarship is approximately € 2.225 per month, depending on the family status of the scholar.  A bench fee of € 310/month  will be awarded to the promoter.

Please note that at Ghent university doctoral studies are only open toward students who have the explicit invitation of a professor at Ghent University to join his/her research group as future PhD student. As soon as you have secured the support of a Ghent University professor you can start a scholarship application.

Duration BOF doctoral fellowship

  • Period: 1+3 years

In accordance with the regulations for PhD scholarship recipients, the doctoral program starts by definition with a scholarship agreement of 1 year.

If, before the end of the first year, the doctoral advisory committee or, in the absence thereof, the promoter(s) judge(s) that both the substantive progress in the context of the doctoral research and the overall functioning of the PhD scholarship recipientare such that the doctoral program can be successfully completed within a reasonable period of time, the promoter issues a positive advice in a written form. A positive recommendation leads to a 3-year extension of the doctoral scholarship.

  • Start fellowship: 1 October 2021

Who can apply for a BOF-doctoral  fellowship

To apply for a BOF doctoral fellowship candidates must meet several conditions:

This call is only open for:

(1) Candidates who have submitted an eligible application in 2021 for:

  1. the call FWO PhD Fellowship fundamental research (FO) with deadline 1 March 2021 
  2. the call FWO PhD Fellowship strategic basic research (SB) with deadline 1 March 2021 

(2) Candidates who haven't applied for an FWO PhD Fellowship fundamental research or an FWO PhD Fellowship strategic basic research in 2021, but who are eligible to apply for one of both calls in 2022 (deadline 1 March 2022).

There are no restrictions on nationality, age or research topic.

This call is highly competitive. Excellent study results are an absolute requirement when applying for a BOF doctoral scholarship. To be taken into consideration, applicants preferably belong at least to the top 15% best students of the group of fellow students who took exams for the same degree (both on bachelor and master level). Applicants with a lower candidate score have very little chance of getting a BOF doctoral scholarship.

Applications must be submitted with the support of a Ghent University promoter. It is allowed that the application also contains a co-promoter and 1 or more involved researchers.

BOF doctoral scholarship within a specific collaboration

There are 3 special programs to apply for a BOF doctoral scholarship within a specific collaboration:

  1. BOF PhD scholarship with UNU-CRIS (United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies) label
  2. BOF PhD scholarship with I-SITE ULNE (I-SITE Université Lille Nord-Europe) label
  3. BOF doctoral scholarship with GUGC label

Submission at FWO

  • Candidates who are awarded a BOF doctoral scholarship in 2021 and who are eligible to apply for a FWO PhD Fellowship fundamental research or FWO PhD Fellowship strategic basic research in 2022 are obliged to do so.
  • In case the awarded BOF doctoral scholarship holder also applied for a FWO PhD Fellowship FO or SB in 2021 and is invited for the second FWO evaluation round (interview), he/she is obliged to participate and prepare the interview thoroughly in advance.
  • If the FWO fellowship is awarded, the candidate is obliged to switch to FWO funding. The BOF scholarship will then be reallocated to a candidate on the BOF reserve list. In this way the number of awarded doctoral scholarships at Ghent University can be maximized.

How to apply?

Applications for a BOF PhD grant have to be submitted on the forms provided for that purpose and sent by e-mail to .

The promoter of the application must submit a document "advice promoter" and "questionnaire about the ethical and biosafety context of the proposed research project"


  • Deadline: 26 April 2021; 23:59

Candidates who did not yet obtain their master degree at the moment of the application deadline have to send their diploma and final study results no later than 12 July 2021 to


    • Results available on 31 august 2021
    • From this date on, unsuccessful candidates can request feedback via email to BOF@UGent.be.
    • Due to the high number of applications, the Research Council can carry out the selection procedure in two steps. During the first selection, only the study results of all the candidate applicants will be assessed. The projects of candidates who received an insufficient candidate score during the first selection are not further evaluated. There is therefore no substantive feedback possible for these candidates with regard to their project.


Research Department
Research Co-ordination Office - Special Research Fund


Call and application forms

The entire call and application form can also be downloaded below.

Scientific report

Final report : within three months following upon the end of the grant a final scientific/scholarly report has to be sent electronically to . The promoter and co-promoter (if applicable) are included in this e-mail (either as sender, or in CC).