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DRCongo: Marc Vervenne Fund (MVF) PhD Fellowships 2020/2021 for Researchers from DRCongo to Study at KU Leuven, Belgium


The Marc Vervenne Fund provides financial support for those aspects of the approved PhD project that take place at the KU Leuven.

Application Deadline: 15th January 2020

Eligible Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo.

To be taken at (country): Belgium

About the Award: The Marc Vervenne Fund (MVF) was set up in honor of professor Marc Vervenne, who is the honorary rector of KU Leuven and also the Fund’s chairman. Since its launch in 2013, five researchers from the Democratic Republic of Congo have obtained their PhD-degree with support of the Fund. Currently it is supporting another group of five scholars from the same country in achieving the same.

The Fund aims to enhance the capacity of universities in developing countries. It particularly focuses on the training of academic staff at universities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

It supports talented young scientists from the DRC who are involved in research projects that are relevant for the development of local communities in the Congo.

  • Scholarship holders should conduct their PhD research predominantly at their home university or at a research institute in the DRC.
  • The results of the PhD study should enhance the quality of life in the Congolese society.


  • health care
  • agriculture and natural resources
  • education
  • justice
  • leadership or governance

Type: PhD, Research, Fellowship


  1. The applicant must be a citizen of the DRC who is involved in research projects that are relevant for the development of local communities.
  2. The applicant may not possess a long-term residence permit of a country outside the DRC.
  3. The applicant should be affiliated as a PhD student or an employee to a university or research institute in the DRC.
  4. The applicant holds a Master’s degree, or an equivalent higher education degree, in a field that is relevant for the envisioned doctoral research. S/he must have distinguished her/himself through academic career or exceptional professional achievements.  In addition, candidates for the MVF should be admitted to the doctoral programme by the KU Leuven Doctoral School that organizes this programme for the research under concern (please refer to the Doctoral Schools). In the present call, the MVF gives priority to research projects in the domains of health care, agriculture and natural resources, education, justice, leadership or governance. The research should be relevant to local development and offer application possibilities from which society as a whole will benefit. Pre-doctoral candidates are not admissible for funding by the MVF.
  5. Sufficient local support for achieving the research project is essential and, consequently, must be demonstrated. This support must guarantee the feasibility of the research as well as facilitate the publication of the research results in order to be evaluated by peers in the research area.
  6. The applicant must conduct the PhD research predominantly in the DRC.
  7. The applicant has an academic supervisor at the KU Leuven. In addition, she or he is supervised by a promoter at the university or research institution in the DRC to ensure the embedding of the research within the local context. Even though there is no financial support for this local co-promotor, the co-promotor can apply for mobility grants under the Global Minds programme (please find more information here).
  8. The applicant must submit recommendation letters from relevant referees demonstrating the academic excellence of the candidate.
  9. The applicant is proficient in English as well as in other forum languages of the research field. Please find more information about the accepted English proficiency tests and certificates here.
  10. The applicant must follow the application procedure and submit the application before 15 January 2020. The application consists of submitting documents online but also of sending certain documents in physical form/paper format. See further instructions below.

Number of Awards: Not specified

Value and Duration of Award:

  • The completion of the MVF research project must be feasible within a maximum period of four years. Consequently, the MVF Doctoral Scholarships are only granted for programmes with a maximum duration of 48 months. Further extensions are not possible under any circumstance. The Fund does not finance so-called pre-doctoral periods. Only candidates who are directly admitted by the Doctoral School to start the doctorate can receive an MVF Scholarship.
  • The MVF scholarship funds four research stays at KU Leuven of 3 months (90 days) each. Only one research stay per year is allowed. The Scholarship contains a return ticket for each research stay. During the research stay, the scholarship holder receives a monthly scholarship of 1420 euros.
  • Applicants who are already doctoral students at their home university in the DR Congo can only be granted the MVF Doctoral Scholarship for the remainder of years that need to be fulfilled to complete 4 years. Further extensions are not possible under any circumstance.
  • The scholarship is renewed on a yearly basis in order to ensure progress from the doctoral student. The annual renewal of the scholarship depends on the annual evaluation of your doctoral progress by your promoter (supervisor) and by the Doctoral Commission of your Faculty.

How to Apply: 

Visit Programme Webpage for Details

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