Doctoral grants: requirements and regulations

Candidates for a first grant need to comply with following terms:

  1. Have a Master’s degree relevant to the research topic obtained at least with distinction (or an equivalent thereof). Student candidates finishing the last year of their Master’s studies must provide a certificate of successful completion of the last year of their Master’s studies. They need to submit the correct diploma at the start of the grant. Candidates with a foreign diploma must be in the possession of an equivalence recognition. This can be obtained from NARIC-Vlaanderen.
  1. Have obtained a Master’s degree not more than 5 years ago,
  1. Be of irreproachable behavior,
  1. Based upon the legal notice Ci.RH.241/467.677 dated the 8th of October 2002, no doctoral grant can be assigned to a person who has previously worked as a researcher for ILVO Own Capital (EV ILVO) during one or more mandates and whose total number of days worked have exceeded the equivalent of a one-year full-time equivalent mandate.
    Under no circumstances may a doctoral grant be given when it can be proven that an ILVO employment contract is being replaced with a doctoral grant. In the application dossier the doctoral promotor will take an oath related to this.
  1. Never has had a contract with a third party as a doctoral scholarship student with the exception of an FWO grant.

Each candidate can obtain two consecutive grants of 1 year followed by a grant of 2 years. Prior to obtaining each of these grants, the candidate must have received a positive evaluation from an ILVO jury. The PhD activities need to be carried out mainly at ILVO (unless otherwise stated). After the grant has been given, the PhD student elaborates the subject further with his/her promoter from university and his/her ILVO co-promoter. The grant recipient needs to register him/herself as a PhD student at the university and complete the necessary administrative and financial requirements. This registration must be repeated on yearly basis. Proof thereof needs to be submitted to the human resource services of ILVO (contact: Christel Van Dorpe).

The application form contains following documents:

  • a curriculum vitae;
  • a copy of the examination certificate or of the Master’s diploma or a certificate of success from the last year of Master studies;
  • a cover letter stating the motivation for the grant, and if appropriate, your vision of how to tackle the object of the doctoral grant

ILVO will, in compliance with the general terms, investigate the completeness and conformity of the applications. Candidates with an acceptable application will be invited to demonstrate their scientific knowledge and defend their research program before a jury.

The grants become effective at the date of signature of the agreement with ILVO. The granting of the first two years is based on the application and the jury report. After two years an ILVO jury will evaluate on the basis of a progress report and an explanation of the performed work. The jury will give a justified decision about granting or possibly not granting the next two years.

Research grants can only be terminated in case of force majeure or of mutual consent. Each case of force majeure needs to be communicated immediately to the executive director of ILVO, who shall decide on possible changes in the general terms of the grant.

Combining the scholarship with other professional activities, professional benefits or assignments covered by other subsidies is not allowed. Any exception needs to be presented to ILVO and will be evaluated on an ad hoc basis on the provision that they do not contradict with the policy concerning taxes on scholarships. Part time (50% or 80%) scholarships are in principle not granted. Exceptions can be allowed in case of parental leave or after suspension.

Following a doctoral training program is mandatory according to the rules of the university to which the promoter belongs. The program will be decided together with the ILVO promoter (and co-promotor).

The PhD student commits him/herself to work solely on the research programme for which he/she obtained the grant. The grant can be withdrawn at any time if the student does not follow the general terms. The grant becomes suspended in case of long term illness or absence due to accident (after the 31st calendar day) or in case of leave related to maternity or birth of a child, and can be prolonged, under the same terms, after the end date of the grant.

The agreement between ILVO and the PhD student is drawn up at the start of the grant. The grantee receives the same benefits regarding vacations and other types of leave, reimbursements, and employment insurance as any other ILVO employee. The grantee is subject to all ILVO rules and regulations.