4 Open Study/Research Award
Accepted Degree Levels
Grant PeriodFall Start
Grant Length9 Months
The Fulbright Commission in Brussels offers 4 Open Study/Research Awards to Belgium per year for students interested in graduate study, independent research, or a combination thereof. Applications are welcome in all academic disciplines, with one award reserved for a project in the arts.
The standard grant is for a duration of nine months. Grants will follow the academic calendar, beginning in mid-September 2024 and concluding in mid-June 2025 (Candidates wishing to begin the grant period at another time should explicitly state this in their application). Grantees who wish to enroll in multi-year graduate programs are not eligible for additional funding.
Prior to departure, the Fulbright Commission will organize a virtual pre-departure orientation for Fulbright grantees to Belgium and Luxembourg. Grantees will be required to attend an in-country orientation with the Fulbright Commission in Brussels upon arrival in September.
Well-qualified candidates at all graduate degree levels will be considered. Candidates must be mature, self-motivated individuals who are capable of working independently without supervision; preference will be given to candidates who demonstrate a track record of successful independent study.
Projects can be either full-time study, full-time research, or a combination of independent research and participation in a graduate degree program or other advanced courses. Proposals are welcome from candidates in all disciplines. Proposed projects should be innovative yet feasible and should build off the candidate's overall academic education and prior work. Applicants are encouraged to visit the website of the Fulbright Commission to see examples of past successful projects.
For all awards, the Commission seeks applicants who:
- Demonstrate professional and academic excellence;
- Outline a strong rationale and methodology for pursuing their project in Belgium;
- Possess qualities of a cultural ambassador and show genuine interest in promoting mutual understanding as a Fulbright grantee; and
- Indicate how they will benefit the Fulbright Program in Belgium.
Please be aware that applicants wishing to apply for the Fulbright-Schuman Award to the European Union must follow the guidelines on the EU Award summary page and will not be considered if they apply for an award to Belgium.
Projects in the Arts
The Fulbright Commission in Brussels prioritizes projects in the arts with a wide variety of host institutions. For the 2024-25 academic year, one grant is reserved for an open study/research award that focuses on European art in collaboration with a museum, non-profit or other artistic organization in Belgium. Preference is given to projects in European art before 1800, especially relating to art restoration.
The Fulbright Commission in Brussels is actively looking for candidates for the US Student program with diverse backgrounds or projects that they would like to implement in Belgium. We are committed to recruiting a diverse cohort of grantees to Belgium to highlight the vast plethora of talent and qualifications that the United States has to offer. In addition to the traditional academic background, we also encourage applications from professionals, researchers or candidates with significant experience in the field they would like to do research in. Professionals could be policy-makers, policy analysts, researchers at think tanks, non-profit organizations (NGOs), associations, learned societies, foundations, decision-makers at state or federal government offices and individuals in industry or the media with relevant professional experience for their proposed project. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list. Candidates with extensive experience should strongly consider applying for the US Scholar Program.
Accepted Degree Levels
Foreign Language Proficiency
Foreign language proficiency is not required, but preference may be given to applicants with some level of proficiency in one of Belgium's three official languages (French, Dutch, and German). In order to develop a feasible proposal, candidates may wish to consult with their prospective host institutions about the availability of courses and programs in English, as well as the possibility of conducting research in English.
Upon selection, some study of the local language prior to arrival is encouraged to promote deeper engagement with the host community.
Fulbright Proposal Types
Letter recommended but not required at deadline
Letter recommended but not required at deadline
Candidates are responsible for securing their own admission or affiliation at a university, conservatory, think tank, or non-profit organization in Belgium. While proof is not required at the time of application, preliminary contact with the host institution(s) is encouraged and preference will be given to candidates who include admission or affiliation letters in their application. Selected candidates must ultimately submit evidence of an affiliation at least four months before arriving in Belgium.
Due to ongoing changes in the visa process for Belgium, candidates applying to do independent study/research are highly encouraged to explore options of enrolling as a visiting or independent student at a higher education institution in Belgium, in addition to any other affiliation or host institution connections in their proposed project. Enrolling as an independent/visiting student at a higher education institution will facilitate the visa process for successful candidates, and grants can be provided only to those who are able to get a visa before arrival in Belgium.
Applicants who will be undertaking a full-time graduate program should be aware that tuition waivers are rarely given and are at the discretion of the educational institution. Applicants are responsible for requesting waivers. In the event a fee waiver is not granted, candidates should be aware that the Fulbright grant does not cover the cost of these fees.
Grantees in this award are expected to receive €1,600/month to cover living expenses along with a one-time travel stipend currently set at €2,000 to cover the cost of round-trip flights to/from Belgium, the costs of applying for the visa and the residence permit process once in the country, and other miscellaneous requirements linked to the grant. These amounts are subject to change and are only confirmed once successful candidates have signed their Terms of Award with the Fulbright Commission in Brussels.
Fulbright grantees are responsible for arranging their own housing in Belgium. Most Fulbright grantees choose to live in affordable shared accommodation with graduate students or young professionals. The Fulbright Commission will provide grantees with advice and a list of resources prior to arrival; additional support in finding housing may be provided by the grantee's host institution. Some higher education institutions have housing for enrolled students, but this housing is often limited and quite competitive. More resources will be provided to successful candidates at their pre-departure orientation typically held in April/May before their arrival.
The Fulbright Commission in Brussels does not provide financial support to grantees bringing dependents, but we do provide additional information for how to bring dependents on the grant. Any dependents wishing to come to Belgium for more than 90 days in any 180-day period will be required to apply for a visa as well. This is typically done at the same time as the visa application for the grantee.
Please keep in mind that childcare is difficult to come by in Belgium, so bringing young children can pose additional challenges. Enrollment in primary or secondary schools is possible in most cases for grantees staying in Belgium for longer than 90 days. More resources can be provided on a case by case basis.
Music and Fine Arts Proposals
One award will be granted to a project in the field of European Art before 1800 or art restoration. It is highly recommended that candidates in the arts reach out to proposed host institutions before applying for the award in order to request a letter of affiliation. Eligible host institutions for projects in the arts include, but are not limited to: museums, universities, university colleges, art academies and nonprofits that focus on the arts.
Candidates in other music or art fields are eligible for this award and should establish contacts with specialists in their fields who teach at Belgian institutions (e.g., music conservatories, art academies) and request a letter of affiliation. The Fulbright Commission does not accept music and art students who wish to study exclusively with private teachers and will not pay for private lessons. Additional personal funds will be required to cover costs for private lessons, practice facilities, studio space, purchase of materials, etc.