Post-Doctoral Research

Application Materials

Fulbright Post-doctoral awards fund Belgian citizens to research or lecture at an accredited U.S. institution for a period between three months and one academic year (9 months). Between 5-10 awards are given to scholars each year, who must present a letter of invitation from an American university or think tank before they are allowed to apply. This letter should be on institutional letterhead and list specific dates and duration of stay, resources available to you at the institution, and relevant contact details from the inviting host. The invitation dates listed should be chosen carefully, as they may only be altered significantly due to uncontrollable factors after they have been approved by the Fulbright selection committee.

Benefits include:

  • $2,000 to $30,000 based on merit and financial need. The money may be used to cover flights, tuition, living costs, etc. The average award for post-docs academic year 2016-2017 was 16,000 USD.
  • Sickness and accident insurance for grantees
  • J-visa sponsorship for grantees and any accompanying dependents
  • Pre-departure orientation and reception at the U.S. Embassy to Belgium
  • Active Fulbright networks to welcome them in the United States and as an alumnus in Belgium when they return
  • Location-conditional discount on a Brussels Airlines ticket

Note: FWO regulations do not permit a full cumulation of the Fulbright grant with the FWO travel grant. The total sum of the salary of the researcher and the supplementary benefits should not exceed the sum of his salary and the benefits for long stays abroad from the FWO (salary + 1650 euro/month).

For more information about the Fulbright experience, interested candidates should read alumni and current grantee stories on our blog.

Requirements to apply include:

  • Belgian citizenship
  • English Proficiency
  • A doctoral degree
  • Academic excellence, generally defined as distinction/onderscheiding each year of study or a grand distinction/grote onderscheiding in the most recent year of study. *Note: Candidates without these grades are still encouraged to apply if they have outstanding personal or professional backgrounds.
  • Certain restrictions apply if you have held aJ-1 visa within the past two years, please contact us for more info

The most competitive applicants for Fulbright graduate studies awards demonstrate ambassadorial qualities and an interest in cultural exchange. It is important for candidates to be able to articulate a clear, creative, and feasible plan for their time in the United States, why right now is the right time to pursue this plan, and how it will ultimately help them achieve their personal and professional goals in the future. The Commission is looking for candidates who will have a multiplier effect within their U.S. and Belgian communities and who wish to ultimately return to Belgium to share their newfound knowledge and experience after their grant has ended. In this regard, it is also important to note that all Fulbright grantees must travel to the U.S. on a J-1 visa, which requires them to return to Belgium or their country of permanent legal residency for at least two years at some point after their grant before they are allowed to return to the U.S. to live or work permanently on an H, L, K or LPR visa. A list of documents that fulfill the proof of legal residency requirement for each EU country can be found here: If you are able to provide proof of legal residency for a country other than Belgium, you will need to include a scan of this document in the final online application.

Candidates already in the United States at the time of application or who have resided in the U.S. for five or more years in the six-year period preceding the date of application are ineligible to apply. Preference will be given to who have not had substantial recent experience in the U.S. with “substantial recent experience” being study, research or employment for a period of aggregating more than an academic year (9 months) during the past five years.

The Commission administers grants for educational and cultural exchange to Belgian and American citizens looking to study, research, or lecture in the partner country. While most of the funding comes from the Belgian and United States governments for awards whose eligibility is defined autonomously by the Commission, some awards are sponsored by individuals, companies, associations, and accredited Belgian and American universities solely for Fulbright applicants coming to or from their institutions. Check out this page for partner awards (All Academic Fields, Business Awards, International Relations Awards, Law Awards).

Timeline for grants for 2018-2019 academic year

Deadline: DECEMBER 1 (noon Brussels time)


For those deadlines that fall on a weekend, please use the previous Friday at NOON (12pm) as the deadline to submit applications and all supporting materials online.

September 15, 2017: Competition opens, online application starts
December 1, 2017 (at noon Brussels time): Deadline to submit the online application form
January 2018 (Date TBC): 10 minute interview in English (in person only) at the Commission for Educational Exchange in Brussels
February 2018 (Date TBC):interviews in Luxembourg for applicants from Luxembourg
February/March 2018: Applicants notified by e-mail
May/June 2018: Pre-departure meeting at the U.S. Embassy and reception with the U.S. Ambassador
Between August 2018 and March 2019: Grantees can departures to the U.S. between August 2018 and March 31, 2019.

Note: Proof of PhD is needed by time of departure to the U.S. for those applying for the scholar category.

Please note that inside the online application system we only require you to provide us with the application materials listed below.

Application Materials

If you are having technical problems with the online application, please use the Embark support website. Our office has no control over the online application system.

The Fulbright application process is now entirely online; applications and supplemental materials mailed or e-mailed to the Commission will not be considered. Please note that you will need to address why you are applying for a Fulbright grant in your application.  Complete Fulbright post-doctoral award applications consist of:

  • The online application form
  • An “Americanized” CV
  • 3-5 page single-spaced project statement
  • 1-3 page bibliography of references relevant to the proposed research
  • Any letter(s) of invitation from the U.S. university/institution that you have received already. If you don’t have a final letter of invitation, please check if the university/institution is willing to provide you with a conditional one. This letter should contain the institution’s letterhead and mentioned the dates (or academic term) of your research stay.
  • Scans of passport and any previous J-visas held
  • Transcripts and diploma from your most recent degree
  • 3 Recommendation Letters, uploaded by your references directly into the online application by the December 1 deadline

Applications without any of these materials will not be considered for an award. Candidates with strong completed applications submitted by the deadline will be invited to the Commission in January for a mandatory in-person interview in English.

Please note: We do not require any supplemental forms, the letter of the home institution, the signature form or official test results (TOEFL,…). No papers should be mailed to our office. (You may include test results in the appropriate application fields if you so desire.) 

The interview will include a discussion of your motivations for going to the U.S., your plans when you arrive, and how you will improve U.S.-Belgian relations as an alumni when you return. Successful candidates will demonstrate ambassadorial qualities, English proficiency, and the ability to explain their academic proposal in simple terms. The interview committee is composed of Belgian and American professors, professionals, government officials, and Fulbright alumni from various fields.

For tips about the Fulbright application process, candidates should refer to interviews with alumni and selected applicants like the one below on the Commission’s online advising channel:

Selected grantees should be prepared to provide a completed Fulbright medical form and proof of additional funds to support themselves in the U.S. during the months following their selection and preceding their departure.

Belgian citizens whose projects relate to U.S.-EU affairs, EU policy, or EU institutions should check their eligibility for the Fulbright-Schuman award ( also administered by the Commission in Brussels. This award is valued at €3,000/month and a €2,000 relocation grant and has an application deadline of December 1.

Questions? If you are a student, please contact (you currently do not possess a PhD); if you are a scholar, you can contact (you have a PhD or you possess significant professional experience – usually defined as 5 years or more).