IRO Doctoral Scholarships for Developing Countries

Deadline: 10 November 2014
Open to: citizens of the Least Developed, Low Income or Low Middle Income Countries who hold a master degree
Scholarship: monthly stipend of €1,415 for doctoral students or €1,000 for pre-doctoral students, plus housing allowance, tuition waiver, health insurance


KU Leuven,  founded in 1425, is Belgium’s largest university with a long-standing tradition of hospitality towards students and scholars from abroad. As one of its contributions to development cooperation, KU Leuven offers each academic year scholarships to deserving students from developing countries to do their PhD.

The IRO Doctoral Scholarship Programme, organized and managed by the Interfaculty Council for Development Cooperation,  has supported more than a hundred PhD graduates over the past ten years. After obtaining their doctorates at KU Leuven, these PhD holders are now valorizing their degrees in their home countries either in university academic research or in various sectors of industry.

The IRO Doctoral Scholarships are only granted for doctoral programmes for a maximum period of 48 months and eventually for one pre-doctoral year as preparation period for the doctoral programme. The research topics proposed are: Humanities and Social Sciences, Engineering and Technology Biomedical Sciences, although applicants could also propose their own research topic.


In order to be eligible you must:

  • Be a citizen of the Least Developed, Low Income or Low Middle Income Countries (see list HERE);
  • Hold a Master Degree (no more than ten years prior to the 1st of October 2015);
  • Have excellent academic results and excellent recommendations;
  • Have a research project of excellent academic quality.


The scholarship includes a monthly stipend of €1,415 paid at the end of each month for doctoral students and €1,000 paid at the beginning of each month for Pre-doctoral students. Besides, all the beneficiaries will receive waiver of tuition fees, housing allowance of €200 per month, affiliation with a Belgian Health Insurance company, professional and accident insurance coverage; third party liability insurance (study related matters and for professional liability) and return flight tickets for the beneficiary and (in case) his/her family after completion of the doctorate.


Interested applicants must complete the online application form. During the application process you should upload and submit the following documents:

  • The elaboration form of your Research Proposal signed by the appropriate professors (Applicants who are already enrolled in a doctoral programme at KU Leuven will only need to prepare the detailed progress report as defined in their Doctoral School. The report must be signed by the promoter and the members of the examination committee of the doctoral student);
  • Your personal motivation and the development relevance of your research proposal making use of this form;
  • CV of the local co-promoter;
  • Two letters of recommendation by persons other than your (prospective) promoter and local co-promoter, who are qualified to assess your academic capabilities. The two letters of recommendation should be submitted in sealed envelopes and sent directly by the referees to: IRO committee. International Admissions and Mobility, KU Leuven, Atrecht College, Naamsestraat 63 – bus 5410, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium;
  • Only for new students who have not yet been enrolled at KU Leuven: Certificate of English proficiency;
  • Only for applicants for the doctoral programme in economics or applied economics:  a GMAT or GRE score.

The deadline to apply is 10 November 2014. Selection of the candidates will be between November 2014 – February 2015.

For further information please visit the official website HERE.

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