KU Leuven – Melbourne Call for Joint PhD Projects

Critical Dates

14 July 2021

Call opens

21 October 2021 - 5:00PM (GMT+2/Brussels time)

Applications due

December 2021

Results released

* Applicants from ABP, please contact abp-gradresearch@unimelb.edu.au for additional EOI steps


In 2020, KU Leuven and the University of Melbourne (UoM) established the KU Leuven-Melbourne joint PhD program, providing opportunities for international research collaboration. The first cohort consists of 12 supervisory teams supporting 24 candidates completing joint PhD projects in a wide range of research areas. Candidates benefit from their international supervisory teams, access to high-quality research networks and the development of a global perspective.

Candidates participating in the PhD program are enrolled at both institutions, perform their research work under joint supervision, and are judged according to the academic standards of both institutions. Upon successful completion of the program, each candidate will be eligible to receive a joint PhD with cross reference to the partner institution.

In 2021, KU Leuven and UoM are calling for proposals to establish up to 20 joint PhD projects across ten separate pairs of PIs. Each of these ten PI pairs will access funding for two joint PhD candidates.

It is up to the partners involved in the individual projects to cover consumable costs.

This call for joint PhD project proposals is open to applications from academic supervisors only. If you are a prospective candidate interested in applying for a joint PhD, please refer to the information available here.


The Supervisory team must comprise of at least two Principal Investigators (PIs), one from KU Leuven and one from the University of Melbourne. The PIs must have capacity to serve as primary supervisors for two jointly enrolled PhD candidates.

UoM academics

UoM PIs must be registered to supervise as per the Supervisor Eligibility and Registration Policy. Primary supervisors should be employed at UoM beyond the envisaged submission date of their PhD candidates (2026). If their employment contract does not extend beyond the candidates’ submission date, then alternative arrangements must be in place, by either having:

  1. A named co-supervisor employed at UoM beyond the envisaged submission date of their PhD candidates (2026); or
  2. A letter of support from the respective Head of Department/Head of School detailing the arrangements in place to ensure continuity of supervision.

For more information, including forms for supervisor registration, please consult the information for supervisors section on the Graduate Research Hub.

Honorary employees whose primary academic affiliation is with UoM are eligible to lead an application as a PI if they are a registered Principal Supervisor at UoM, and either:

  1. Their primary employer has entered into a written agreement for this call to fund the Melbourne cash component of the collaborative activity; or
  2. They participate at their own expense if they are otherwise unaffiliated (for example, they hold an emeritus position).

Previous UoM recipients may not currently reapply to the scheme as a PI but may participate in a project as a co-investigator.

KU Leuven academics

The PIs on KU Leuven side must meet the requirements of the General regulations and conditions Internal Funds. The KU Leuven PI and main applicant will also become the ‘promoter’ of the doctorate at KU Leuven.

Supplementary notes for all applicants

Additional colleagues (including other partners in Australia, Belgium or internationally) are not eligible to apply as primary supervisors, although they can participate in co-supervision of joint PhDs.

Applications that do not satisfy these criteria will not be eligible.

How to apply

  1. Review the guidelines

    Please review the guidelines before submission.

  2. Complete and submit the application

    A single, jointly prepared proposal must be submitted in English using the template application form. Once the proposal is ready for submission, the KU Leuven PI should submit the application using the  the online KU Loket application system.

Supporting documents

- KU Leuven - Melbourne Joint Call Guidelines 2021

- KU Leuven - Melbourne Joint Application form (Word Document)


UoM contact details:

Lanny Sandler
Grants Officer, Research, Innovation & Commercialisation
The University of Melbourne

Submission and KU Leuven contact details:

Marian Schoenmaekers
Internal Funds (IF), Process Management and Organization
KU Leuven
An Vanoyenbrugge
Internal Funds (IF), Process Management and Organization
KU Leuven