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 beneficiary 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 2022

Who can apply for a BOF-doctoral  fellowship

UGent wishes to ensure optimal use of BOF resources in the financing of doctoral research, and therefore encourages all BOF applicants of a doctoral mandate to apply for parallel FWO financing. This allows UGent to support as many PhD students as possible in the process of applying for external funding.

Consequently, as of 2022, this call is only (*) open to applicants who can submit an admissible FWO application in the year of the BOF application and the following year.

  • This implies that BOF application candidates must be able to submit an admissible application to the FWO for an FWO PhD Fellowship Fundamental Research (FO) or an FWO PhD Fellowship Strategic Basic Research (SB) both in the year of their BOF application and in a subsequent submission round.
  • Please note, that candidates are not obliged to submit a parallel FWO application in the year of their first BOF application. They are obliged to do so in the year following the granting of their BOF mandate (*). Candidates are also strongly encouraged to submit 2 applications (in 2 different years) to the FWO (**) in order to maximize their chances of being granted a fellowship.

(*)For the 2022 call, the following bridging measure is provided: Candidates who already submitted to the FWO for a 2nd time in 2022 can still submit a BOF application in 2022.

(*)Applicants for a GUGC label are exempted from the obligation to submit to the FWO. However, they have to meet the same conditions as the other applicants with regard to obtaining a master's degree (maximum 3 years on March 1 2023) and with regard to scientific seniority (maximum 18 months on March 1 2023).

  • 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 Ghent University co-promoter and 1 or more involved researchers.

FWO PhD Fellowship fundamental research (FO)  or an FWO PhD Fellowship strategic basic research (SB).

(**)The following rules apply when applying for an FWO Fellowship (FO or SB)

  • Candidates are allowed to submit 2 applications to the FWO.
  • Applicants for an FWO application must have obtained their master's degree or equivalent no earlier than three years before the deadline (March 1) of the call.
  • Candidates for an FWO application have a maximum of 18 months of scientific seniority before the deadline (March 1) of the call.

For more details on the requirements of an FWO Fellowship Fundamental Research (FO) or an FWO Fellowship Strategic Basic Research (SB), please visit the FWO website: https://www.fwo.be/en/fellowships-funding/phd-fellowships/phd-fellowship-fundamental-research/

BOF doctoral scholarship within a specific collaboration

Within the framework of three specific partnerships, a number of additional fellowships are provided each year. These fellowships are only awarded in the context of the proposed cooperation. For more information and supplementary requirements, please consult the call document available at the end of this webpage.

  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 (Ghent University Global Campus - South Korea) label

Submission at FWO

    • Candidates who are rewarded a BOF PhD scholarship in 2022 are obliged to (re)apply(*) in 2023 or 2024 for an FWO PhD Fellowship fundamental research (FO)  or an FWO PhD Fellowship strategic basic research (SB).
    • In case the awarded BOF doctoral scholarship holder also applied for a FWO PhD Fellowship FO or SB 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.

    (*)excluding candidates who fall under the bridging measure for this call or doctoral mandates with a GUGC-Campus label, see the call document for further details regarding these exceptions.

    How to apply

    • Applications for a BOF PhD grant have to be submitted on the application 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: 28 April 2022; 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 11 July 2022 to


      • Results available on September 2nd 2022
      • Candidates who are not selected will automatically receive feedback on their application via email within 6 weeks.
      • Due to the high number of applications, the Research Council has decided to carry out the selection procedure in two steps. Applications that do not make it through to the second round will not be assessed for content. Consequently, no substantive feedback is possible for these applicants 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).