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BMS Signature PhDs positions Round 2: now open!

Application for the second round (2020) of the BMS Signature positions has opened.

We had a successful first round of the BMS Signature PhD positions last year, check the intranet page:

We would like to invite you to apply for the 2nd (and final) round. For this second round, we would like to highlight 2 changes we made following an extensive evaluation with the BMS research theme chairs:

  1. Assuming that most prospective PhD students will have a preference for starting in the month of September, we organize the call a couple of months earlier than last year with a submission deadline of 1 June 2020. This would allow starting as of September 2020.
  2. It is not necessary to already indicate a promotor for your project. The supervisory team is solely evaluated in terms of their (added) expertise in relation to the project topic and plan. If no one of the supervisory team has “IUS”, and the grant will be awarded to you, the supervisory team and the Faculty Board will jointly invite a suitable promotor to join the team. The choice will be based on the fit with the team, both contentwise as well as personal, with the PhD candidate having a main say in this.

For the 2nd round, a maximum of 6 PhD positions will be available (4 year period). An essential factor is that a concrete candidate needs to be available for the project. Please note that one of the most important lessons learned from last year is that the quality of the candidate as well as the fit with and “ownership” of the project is the most defining variable for grant acquisition.

Not changed are the following application conditions:

  1. The proposed research project is clearly grounded in at least one of the 5 research themes; it is innovative & groundbreaking. It is a pre if the proposal is related to new and emerging UT- themes such as Energy or Artificial Intelligence.
  2. The project has a demonstrable link with technology and the BMSLab.
  3. A concrete candidate is available and explicated in the proposal. Her or his CV is attached to the proposal. Graduation of the candidate before the start of the project should be ensured and substantiated by the educational programme.
  4. The project supervisors offer a unique co-supervision mode, with a strong preference for new collaborations. 
  5. The first supervisor needs to be from the BMS faculty. The 2nd supervisor can be from BMS or from another faculty/institution, as long as the project is clearly grounded in BMS, i.e. has clear links with other BMS projects, people or our strategy. The promotor needs to be from the BMS Faculty.
  6. The first supervisor has a regular appointment (formele aanstelling) at the BMS Faculty during the entire PhD project or have a clear prospect of this (substantiated by the department head).
  7. The formal supervisory team has a maximum of 3 people. In case no one from the team has IUS a maximum of 2 supervisors thus applies.
  8. All supervisors need to have a PhD.
  9. BMS researchers can be involved in one project application only.
  10. Per BMS supervisor, a maximum of one project will be awarded across the two grant rounds. So, supervisors with a project granted in 2019 cannot participate in this round (irrespective of their role in the project).
  11. The proposed PhD candidate is available to give a short pitch about their research project on 22, 24, or 25 June 2020.
  12. If selected, the PhD project will start as soon as possible but no later than 1 December 2020
Wish you lots of inspiration!On behalf of the Faculty Board, Ellen Giebels


Application Form

Submission procedure: two rounds and pitches by candidates

For the first selection round, the application deadline is the 1st of  June 2020 and you can send your application to

Instead of sending your application to the theme chairs involved, we kindly request you to send it to Marcia Clifford ( ). Make sure you indicate on the application form to which theme(s) you wish to submit your application.

  • Health
  • Resilience
  • Learning
  • Smart Industry
  • Emerging Technologies & Societal Transformations

After selecting a maximum of 2 projects per theme, the theme chairs will meet and jointly select from the remaining pool additional projects to a maximum of 15 in total.

Date planning

For the 2nd selection round, the selected candidates will be invited to pitch their project to the Faculty Board on 22, 24, or 25 June 2020. After the pitches of the candidates, the Faculty Board will decide before 1 July 2020 which projects will receive funding. The Faculty Board will look for a balanced constellation of projects also taking into account last year’s granted projects. Please note that the chosen projects are not necessarily evenly distributed across themes.

This round will be the 2nd and final round in the BMS Signature PhDs initiative. Due to Corona measures, this round may (partly) concern an online selection.

Questions and Contact

Q&A session will be organised on Tuesday 12 May 2020 (details will follow).
For questions on the conditions and procedures, you can contact Melanie Braamhaar (Grants & Project Coordinator BMS).