Funding for a Ph.D. in Belgium
August 30, 2011 4:46 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for scholarships or fellowships that could fund, or help fund, a molecular/microbiology Ph.D. in Belgium for an American.

I am currently an American graduate student who will now suddenly be graduating with M.Sc in Microbiology with a thesis at the end of spring. I was just recently the Co-Coordinator for an international conference where my efforts particularly impressed the most awesome P.I. ever. He had already looked into finding a way to bring me to Belgium two years ago at the last conference when I was first applying for schools, but now that I will be a free agent again we are looking into it more seriously. The only problem then and now is that, while he has no problem finding money (his lab is gorgeous and rolling in it) all of his sources of student funding are at least EU citizen specific, and many of them are Flemish citizen specific.

I do have a few things going for me,

  • My CV does not look so bad, I am on some publications, have significantly more experience than is usual for my age, and have been on some impressive sounding committees.

  • I speak a little bit of French and really want to work on it

  • This would be research that is plausibly in an area of national need (The Navy, Army, VA, and assorted defense contractors are beginning to dabble in it)

  • The P.I. is a rising star in the field and a general all around badass who has made a lot of crazy shit work.

  • There are companies with venture capital and defense cash which might be interested in me doing a project of theirs in his lab.

  • The University may have funding for at least part of the time that I'd need it

  • The significant challenges are that,

  • A Ph.D should have 4 years of funding at least plausibly available.

  • European Ph.D. funding seems largely inaccessible

  • American funding for a Ph.D. abroad seems largely non-existent

  • So far I've found the Belgian American Educational Foundation and he has found the Study in Flanders Fellowship, though they are both only for a year. The Fulbright Scholarship has the same problem but also requires a goal to be plausibly accomplished at the end of their year.

    He is also now looking for other possible European and Belgian sources of funding, including possibly a Marie Curie Fellowship, and is more familiar with the companies than I am, but I'm hoping to find any American sources I may have overlooked. Do you have any ideas?

    Really this is all kind of new and bewildering for me, I was a C- student in high school who went to a hippy college in the middle of the woods with no grades to get away from that, even the idea of international scholarships is entirely new and weird to me.
    posted by Blasdelb to Science & Nature (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
    Best answer: Rotary.

    Even if they are for one year, you can go and then figure out a way to stay once you meet people, impress the faculty, split atoms in your bathroom (that's a thing, right?).
    posted by mrfuga0 at 5:19 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

    Best answer: Spend some time with the Grants Register, and with someone who can show you how to use it--it takes a bit of getting to know, but it's worth it when you suddenly find an organisation that offers PhD scholarships to US citizens with a MetaFilter user number of between 90,000 and 100,000, or some other similarly specific thing.

    This looks like the relevant Marie Curie scheme, and it does seem to suggest that you could be eligible.

    A little thing about the BAEF which points in the right direction: a Belgian friend of mine had one of them in the US a year or two ago, and when he went to their big meet-up in New York he discovered that he was just about the only social scientist in a cohort of 85, or something. They mostly go to people working in 'proper' sciences.

    Good luck, and congratulations on going from C- high school student to internationally-competitive doctoral researcher!
    posted by lapsangsouchong at 12:05 AM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

    Best answer: Sorry, in case it's not obvious--of course, you don't BUY a copy of the Grants Register, you go to your university careers service and look at theirs.
    posted by lapsangsouchong at 12:13 AM on August 31, 2011

    Response by poster: The Rotary Ambassador Scholarship looks perfect! Though the Boren seems to be particularly hostile to studies in Western Europe as well as more focused on shuttling people towards the foreign service exam and that track than hard science.

    I will definitely look into the Grants Register, and thank you for pointing me in the right direction with the Marie Curie and BAEF.

    You both have been awesome thank you. It looks like I am well off the front page, but I will continue to check this thread until the time limit runs out.
    posted by Blasdelb at 1:38 PM on September 1, 2011

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