IRO PhD Scholarships for Developing Countries at K.U. Leuven University

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KU Leuven, the largest university in Belgium, extends its hand in development cooperation by offering exceptional students from developing countries the chance to pursue a PhD through its Global Minds Programme.

Managed by IRO, the university’s Interfaculty Council for Development Cooperation, this initiative aims to foster research in development-related topics and provide students with a unique opportunity to conduct their studies in a ‘sandwich’ system.

This system splits the research duration equally between KU Leuven and the scholar’s home institution, supported by a local co-promoter. The PhD degree is awarded by KU Leuven, ensuring high-quality education and recognition.

Eligibility Criteria:

To be considered for the Global Minds PhD Scholarship, candidates must meet certain eligibility criteria:

  1. Citizenship: The applicant must be a citizen of one of the eligible countries listed in the scholarship country list. Citizens of the EU or individuals with a long-term EU residence permit are not eligible for this scholarship.
  2. Time Since Master’s Degree: The candidate’s latest Master’s degree must have been awarded no more than ten years prior to 1 October 2023, including the ongoing calendar year.
  3. Academic Achievement: Candidates must have obtained an academic grade equivalent to High Distinction or higher in their previous degrees. Degrees with scores equivalent to second class second/lower division will not be considered.
  4. Research Project Quality: The research project proposed by the candidate must exhibit excellent academic quality, with a special focus on its relevance to development.
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Scholarship Benefits:

The Global Minds PhD Scholarship is a comprehensive package covering various expenses:

  1. Tuition Fee: The scholarship covers the full tuition fee for the PhD program.
  2. Monthly Allowance: Recipients receive a monthly allowance to cover living expenses during their studies.
  3. Insurance: Health insurance is provided to ensure the well-being of the scholars.
  4. Travel Costs: The scholarship covers travel expenses related to the ‘sandwich’ research system, facilitating travel between KU Leuven and the home institution.
  5. Research Allowance: Scholars are granted a research allowance to support their academic pursuits.

Application Procedure:

The application process consists of two main steps:

  1. Obtaining Admission: Candidates must first secure admission to a doctoral or predoctoral program at KU Leuven. The application for admission should begin approximately 1.5 months before the scholarship application deadline.
  2. Applying for the Scholarship: Once the candidate has obtained admission, they can apply for the Global Minds PhD Scholarship before the deadline, which is 9 March 2023 at 5:00 PM GMT.
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Note: As of now, applications are closed, and interested candidates are advised to visit the official website for future application updates and detailed instructions.


The Global Minds PhD Scholarship offered by KU Leuven presents an excellent opportunity for students from developing countries to pursue their passion for development-related research. By providing comprehensive financial support and academic recognition, the scholarship empowers these exceptional scholars to contribute significantly to the global development landscape. For aspiring researchers, this program opens doors to new horizons and experiences at one of Belgium’s premier universities, KU Leuven.

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