Global Minds Doctoral Scholarships Programme at KU Leuven

  • Phd
  • 29 April 2022

As one of its contributions to Global Development, every academic year KU Leuven selects exceptional scholars from institutions in the Global South as scholarship candidates to obtain their PhD from the largest university in Belgium. The KU Leuven Global Minds Programme is managed by the university's Interfaculty Council for Global Development.


• Candidates who hold citizenship of the EU will not be selected. The same applies to applicants with a long-term EU residence permit. • The candidate must have been awarded an academic grade equivalent to High Distinction or higher. Degrees obtained with a final score equivalent to second class second/lower division will not be taken into consideration. • The research project must be of excellent academic quality, with a special focus on the development relevance of the proposal. • The research project must have a clear time frame indicating how the research periods at KU Leuven and at the home institution will alternate (a maximum period of 12 months at the home institution should alternate with a maximum period of 12 months at KU Leuven). • The candidate must be formally affiliated to a university in the home country. In case the candidate has no such affiliation yet, he/she is eligible to apply to this scholarship programme but will only be granted the scholarship once such an affiliation is obtained. • The applicant’s home university must demonstrate sufficient financial support for the doctoral project, guaranteeing that the candidate receives financial means, via a fully funded full time position including social security coverage similar to the staff members with the same level and qualifications within the home institution. The home institution must also guarantee, in writing, that the candidate can dedicate himself/herself sufficiently to conducting doctoral research during the periods spent at the home institution. As will be stipulated in the contract, at least 80% of the time spent at the home institution should be dedicated to conducting the doctoral research. Candidates who are not yet affiliated to a university in their home country should present a Letter of Intent from the home institution signaling that the candidate will be recruited and given the assignment to conduct the doctoral research at that institution. The scholarship will only be granted once the candidate is formally affiliated to a university in the home country and when, consequently, that university can demonstrate sufficient support. • Candidates who are already enrolled as PhD-students at KU Leuven and who are financed by KU Leuven are not eligible for this programme. They may be eligible for the PhD Scholarships for Researchers from the South though. • Candidates who have been employed before in an EEA country other than Belgium are not eligible for this scholarship. They may be eligible for the PhD Scholarships for Researchers from the South though. • The candidate must demonstrate a development-oriented motivation. • The candidate must be supported by a KU Leuven promoter. • The candidate must be supported by a local co-promoter at his/her home university. • The candidate must demonstrate excellent recommendations from at least two relevant referees.

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The aim is to give scholars the opportunity to conduct 4 years of PhD research in a ‘sandwich’ system, which means that maximum 50% of the research is financed by and takes place at KU Leuven and at least 50% takes place and is financed by the home institution of the scholar, supported by a local co-promoter. Thus, as partners, both the KU Leuven and the home institution co-finance the research. KU Leuven, however, additionally offers a supervision allowance to the local co-promotor at the home institution and to the promotor at the KU Leuven. Candidates have to be assigned by the home institution and receive sufficient financial backing from that institution so as to pursue the research in an effective manner. This ensures the candidate is embedded strongly in the home country and can, after obtaining the PhD, contribute to local capacity building.


In order to be able to apply for a GM scholarship, candidates must first obtain admission to a (pre-)doctoral programme. The candidate has read and agreed to the Regulations, Obligations and Conditions for Terminating the KU Leuven Global Minds Doctoral Scholarship. The candidate must also conform to the Internal Regulations for the Awarding of PhD Scholarships at KU Leuven (please consult your promotor on this). Candidates are asked not to submit their application unless it fulfils the conditions listed above. Incomplete or late applications will not be taken into consideration.

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