PhD scholarship for developing country


2021 Call for proposals


This call presents significant changes to the previous years

  • The list of eligible countries has been modified. The list includes countries classified in the category of low or medium human development index - HDI - according to the United Nations Development Programme - UNDP - as well as ARES partner countries not included in the low and medium HDI lists.
  • The selection criteria have been modified with a greater emphasis on collaboration with the South and the relevance of the project in terms of global development and societal issues.

The University of Louvain (UCLouvain) is organizing a competition to award PhD scholarships to nationals of developing countries. Through this initiative, UCLouvain wishes to contribute not only to the reinforcement of the academic network of developing countries, but also to the establishment of new partnerships between UCLouvain and research or higher education institutions in these countries.

1. Eligibility criteria

To be eligible, the applicant must meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • Be a national of one of the following countries: Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Comoros, Congo, Congo (Democratic Republic of), Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Djibouti, El Salvador, Ecuador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and South Africa, Ecuador, Eritrea, Eswatini (Kingdom of), Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Micronesia (Federated States of), Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Uganda, Peru, Philippines, Central African Republic, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tunisia, Vanuatu, Uganda, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
  • Be supported by at least one member of the academic staff of UCLouvain;
  • Be admitted by the Doctoral Domain Commission (CDD) of the candidate's research field at UCLouvain;
  • Be free of any commitment to return to the country with respect to a granting organization that has financed training;
  • For students who have already started their doctorate and are regularly registered at UCLouvain, not be a recipient of a scholarship.

Nationals of a country eligible for this call who, because of their administrative status within the EU, are comparable to Belgian students in terms of residence and/or social rights, are not eligible for this competition.

2. Selection criteria

The International Action Council (CAI) of UCLouvain will select the beneficiaries of the PhD scholarships on the basis of the following criteria:

Research dimension
  • Academic quality: CV of the candidate
  • Quality of the research project.
  • Quality of the environment: Adequacy and quality of the teams at UCLouvain and in the partner institution(s) that supervise the PhD student.
Cooperation for development dimension
  • Partnership: it is expected that projects will directly involve a partner from a Southern institution (co-tutorship or other form of collaboration with a scientist from the South). At a minimum, the project will describe one of the following: the involvement of one or more scientists from an institution in the South in the supervision of the thesis, collaborations with other ongoing projects in the South or in the North, or dissemination, awareness-raising and/or networking activities that are planned at UCLouvain and in the partner institution(s) in the South with a view to transferring skills and knowledge.
  • Relevance in terms of global development and societal issues: it is expected that scientific projects address development issues (in the sense of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals - SDGs), beyond the objective of quality (higher) education, or the development of skills that are relevant to the partner institution or at least the country of origin. The project should refer to at least one of the following elements: the link with one of the SDGs, the capacity building components for the Southern partner(s) or the relevance of crossing South-North views on the project theme.
  • Values: The project is expected to respect, wherever relevant, the dimensions of human rights, ethics and integrity, academic freedom, gender equality, and plurality of Southern and Northern views.
3. Scholarship terms

Successful candidates will receive a UCLouvain doctoral scholarship with monthly payments for a duration of maximum 36 months and, if necessary, the payment of one or more return air tickets between the international airport closest to their place of residence and Brussels airport.

4. Application procedure

The application (form + annexes) must be sent by e-mail (one PDF file only) by the UCLouvain promoter of the candidate to the President of the International Action Council (CAI) at the following address: by September 30, 2021.

Independently of the constitution of the grant application, the candidate and the UCLouvain promoter must take the necessary steps to apply for admission to the Doctoral Commission of the field (CDD) at UCLouvain. The acceptance of the thesis project by the CDD must be annexed to the application, as well as the last report of the supervisory committee in case of a thesis that already started.

Reference document