Grants for (Pre)Doctoral Research

Grants for (Pre)Doctoral Research

As part of the Fulbright Foreign Student Program, Fulbright Schuman awards scholarships to European citizens to study or conduct research in any academic field at an accredited U.S. institution for a period between four months and one academic year (9 months). Applicants must present a letter of affiliation from at an accredited U.S. institution and demonstrate in their Study or Research Objectives Essay that their proposed program or research is relevant to US-EU relations, EU policy/affairs, or the EU institutions and to at least two EU Member States.


Doctoral Research (before or as part of ongoing PhD)

Research-focused graduate program


September 15 till December 1 (at noon CET)


Review eligibility requirements below and include all required documents in your online application.


Scholarship of up to 2000 euro per month (USD equivalent)

J-1 visa sponsorship

Pre-departure orientation in Belgium or at local Fulbright Commission

Travel stipend of 2000 euro (USD equivalent)

Sickness and accident benefits

In-country programming (e.g. orientations, seminars, local advisor)

Prestigious title and access to alumni network


Citizenship in an EU Member State

Proficiency in English

Minimum of a bachelor’s degree

Academic/professional experience of 3+ months in two or more EU Member States is recommended

Academic excellence or outstanding personal or professional background

Factors that may make an applicant ineligible for the Fulbright Schuman Program include: current employment/traineeship at the European Commission, strong professional ties to European institutions, current or former residence in the United States, and lack of experience outside of home country. No candidate may receive Fulbright Schuman funding in concurrence with other EC funding (e.g. Marie Curie) for the same activity.


Americanized resume/CV

Study or Research Objectives Essay

Personal Statement Essay

Diploma of most recent degree including transcripts with completed coursework (certified translation in English unless the original documents are in Dutch, French or German)

Writing sample (for doctoral students only)

Three letters of recommendation (uploaded directly into online application by chosen recommenders)

Letter of affiliation or admission from a U.S. host institution. This letter should contain the institution’s letterhead, mention the exact dates (or academic term), the objective of your stay as well as any facilities you will have access to during your grant . Student researchers are encouraged to submit their affiliation letter by the application deadline, if possible.

All these documents must be included in your application by December 1 with exception of the affiliation letter. Please note that we do NOT require supplemental forms such as a letter from your home institution or official test results (e.g. TOEFL). You may include test results in the appropriate application fields if you so desire.


The application period to apply for this grant is between September 15 and December 1 for applicants who intend to start their program in the next academic year.

E.g. if you intend to start a program in the academic year of 2022-2023, you will need to apply for a grant between September 15 and December 1, 2021. 

Every applicant needs to complete an online application in English by noon (Central European Time) on December 1 including the required documents. No papers should be mailed to our office and it is not required for applicants to contact us before starting their application. Incomplete applications will not be considered for an award. When creating an online account to start a new application, preferably use a personal email address instead of a temporary work or school address.

When filling out the initial fields of the online application in the ‘Preliminary Questions’ section, applicants MUST select ‘European Union (Schuman)’ as the Program Country. This indicates that you are applying for a Fulbright Schuman award and ensures that your application is sent to our office and not to a different Fulbright Commission. We strongly encourage you to send us an email after submitting your application to make sure that our office has received your application for the Fulbright Schuman Program.

There are no requirements for particular fields of study, however, the proposed research project must be relevant to Europe, the European Union, and/or US-EU relations. The program has funded research projects in political science, law, and economics but also in linguistics, social sciences, public health, arts, etc. Are you curious about what others have done? Take a look at what previous grantees have studied or read about their experiences.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program of the U.S. Department of State. Keep in mind that the program is all about promoting mutual understanding through cultural diplomacy.

The most competitive applicants to receive a Fulbright award demonstrate ambassadorial qualities and a genuine interest in cultural exchange and diplomacy. It is important to articulate a clear, creative and feasible plan for your time in the United States and to explain why right now is the perfect timing to pursue this plan and how this grant will ultimately help you achieve your personal and professional goals in the future. We are also looking for candidates who will have a multiplier effect within their U.S. and European communities and who wish to ultimately return to the European Union to share their newfound knowledge and experience after their grant has ended. Candidates are responsible for applying and securing letters of admission or affiliation on their own.

Competition closed

Before starting a new application, please review the Application Guidelines on how to complete the online application.


September 15

Online application opens

December 1

Deadline to submit online application (by noon CET)

Late January

Top-ranked applicants receive invitation for Skype interview

Late February

Successful applicants notified of selection

Late March

Successful applicants notified of official approval by the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board


Start of document collection process for J-1 visa


I am an EU citizen living abroad. Can I apply? + -

As an EU citizen, you may apply for a Fulbright Award if you are living in any country except the United States. If you are resident in the United States, a dual U.S. citizen, or hold a Green Card at the time of application, you are ineligible to apply.

I do not have EU citizenship, but am currently living/studying/working there. Am I eligible to apply for the Fulbright Program? + -

No. Eligibility for the Fulbright Program is based on nationality, not residence.

I am a British citizen. Am I eligible to apply for the Fulbright Schuman Program? + -

Starting from the competition for 2021-2022, British citizens are no longer eligible for the Fulbright Schuman Program since the United Kingdom officially left the Europeon Union as of January 2020.

I am an EU citizen currently pursuing my studies in the United States. Am I eligible to apply for the Fulbright Program? + -

Candidates already in the United States at the time of application and those 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. Moreover, please note that preference will be given to those 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.

I intend to pursue a medical residency or clinical medical research or training in the U.S.? Can I apply? + -

No.The Fulbright Program will not fund applicants seeking to enroll in a medical degree program nor does it offer grants to those who wish to conduct clinical medical research or training involving patient care and/or contact. (both human and animal)

When is the deadline to submit an application? + -

Every applicant needs to complete an online application by December 1 at 12 PM (Central European Time) including the required documents. Incomplete applications will not be considered for an award.

When do I need to apply for a Fulbright grant? + -

Applicants can apply for a Fulbright award between September 15 and December 1 with the intention to carry out a program in the next academic year. All departures must take place between August and March of the academic year you are applying for.

I am a Belgian or Luxembourgish citizen. Can I apply for the Fulbright Schuman Program? + -

Yes. The Fulbright Schuman Program is open to all EU citizens. If your research proposal does not have a focus on EU-U.S. relations, we recommend checking the national Fulbright awards for Belgian and Luxembourgish citizens. ( Applicants are only allowed to apply for one Fulbright grant per year and therefore not simultaneously submit applications for a Fulbright Schuman award and a Fulbright award administered by their local commission.

I am currently a Marie Curie Fellow. Am I eligible to apply? + -

Applicants cannot receive funding from the Fulbright Schuman Program and the Marie Curie Program for the same research program. Research projects that are unrelated to projects that were funded by the Marie Curie Program are considered eligible.

Am I responsible for arranging my own affiliation/acceptance to my host institution? + -

Yes. Applying to a host institution in the United States is a separate, simultaneous process. Please note that if you have chosen a university as your host institution, its accreditation should be recognized by either the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the U.S. Department of Education.

It is recommended to have academic or professional experience of 3+ months in two or more EU Member States. How can I fulfil this requirement? + -

Examples that meet this requirement include spending a semester abroad for research, interning or working in another member state, or pursuing a full-time degree in another country for at least 3 months continuously and per country. 

As a participant in the Fulbright Foreign Student Program, will I be subject to the two-year home requirement after my grant? + -

Yes. All Fulbrighters are J-1 Exchange Visitors subject to a two-year home residency requirement also known as the foreign residence requirement under U.S. law, Immigration and Nationality Act, section 212(e). A two-year pe­riod of home residency is required before you may apply for a non-immigrant (H, L and M) visa as a temporary worker or for permanent residency in the United States. This requirement does not prevent you from reentry into the United States within the two-year period to attend conferences, tourism, or further study. More information about the two-year rule can be found here. A list of documents that fulfill the proof of legal residency requirement for each EU country can be found here.

What is the difference between the Study/Research Objectives essay and the Personal Statement? + -

The Study/Research Objectives essay should provide a clear and detailed description of your study/research objectives, and your reasons for wanting to pursue them. Be specific about your major field and your specialized interests within this field, but remember that your application will likely be read by a variety of people, including some who are not experts in your field. Describe the kind of program you expect to undertake, and explain how your study plan fits in with your previous training and your future objectives. The Personal Statement is a narrative statement describing how you have achieved your current goals; it should include information about education, practical experience, special interests, and career plans. You can also use the Personal Statement to describe any significant factors that have influenced your educational or professional development and explain your existing practical experience. You must demonstrate in your essays that your proposed research is relevant to U.S.-EU relations, EU policy, or the EU institutions and that your application is relevant to at least two EU Member States. We generally recommend to limit each essay to one or two pages.

What is an Americanized resume? + -

While many examples of an ‘American’ style resume can be found online, there are some general guidelines that are different from a typical ‘European’ style resume. An American resume begins with your name and contact information (address, phone number, email address) at the top of the page. Most resumes will include sections about the applicant’s education, work experience and skills. Do not include personal information like a photo, date/place of birth, nationality, or marital status. In most cases, it is recommended to have a resume or CV that is no longer than one or two pages, however, we understand that this can be more challenging in an academic context.

When do I need to provide proof of affiliation/acceptance to a U.S. university in my application? + -

Students researchers are recommended to submit an affiliation letter by December 1 if possible, however, this letter can still be provided after the application deadline. An example of a letter of affiliation for research applicants can be found here.

Do I need to apply in the student or scholar category as a researcher? + -

If you are currently a doctoral student who will graduate after the intended research stay in the U.S., you need to apply in the student category. If you already completed your PhD degree or you will complete your PhD before or by the intended time of departure to the U.S., you will need to apply in the scholar category. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions about your specific situation.

The online application has asked me to do something different to the application instructions on the website. What should I do? + -

The online application system is used by Fulbright Programs around the world, and application procedures differ greatly from country to country. You must follow the guidelines presented by the Fulbright Commission in Brussels.

Does the Fulbright Commission in Brussels require me to contact them before beginning the application? + -

We do NOT require applicants to contact us before beginning the application. Please begin your application without contacting us.

Does the Fulbright Commission in Brussels require supplemental forms? + -

We do NOT require supplemental forms such as a letter from your home institution or official test results (e.g., TOEFL). The required documents that need to be included in your application can be viewed above.

Can I be affiliated with multiple host institutions during my stay in the U.S.? + -

The majority of applicants only seek affiliation at one host institution for their entire program. It may be possible to have multiple affiliations under exceptional circumstances, however, this is evaluated on a case-by-case basis and approval is not guaranteed.

Can I mail physical documents to the Fulbright Commission? + -

No. The application is completed entirely online.

Is the entire application in English? + -

Yes. The online application needs to be completed in English including the required documents. Exceptionally, you may include transcripts and the diploma of your most recent degree in either Dutch, French or German, however it is recommended to submit an English version of these documents. Any documents in other languages should be submitted along with a certified English translation.

How do I add the required letters of recommendation to my application? + -

Letters of recommendation need to be submitted online by your chosen recommenders. In the online application you will find a section called ‘Recommendations’ where you can register your chosen recommenders. Once registered they will receive an automatic email with the request to upload their letter of recommendation which we will be added to your application. After registering, you are able to track the status of these letters and send reminders. These letters need to be submitted in your application by the December 1 deadline.

Can I submit more than three letters of recommendation? + -

Although it is technically possible to register more than three recommenders in the online application, we only require three letters and only the first three letters will be taken into consideration.

What is a writing sample? + -

A writing sample is only required for doctoral students and can be a research essay, paper, or article that you have written during your studies. There is no preferred length for this document and most applicants submit an article or an abstract of a paper they have written related to their conducted research.

I submitted an application but never heard from the Fulbright Commission. What happened? + -

If you have not received any communication from the Fulbright Commission by late January, it is very likely that we did not receive your application. Usually, this is because you did not select “European Union” as the Program Country when initially filling out your application and, as a result, your application was sent to another Fulbright Program office.

What happens if I am offered a Fulbright Award, but not a place at university? + -

If you are not accepted to a U.S. university, the offer of a Fulbright Award will be withdrawn.

Can I apply to more than one Fulbright Program? + -

No. Applicants are only allowed to apply for one Fulbright grant per year. Applicants may therefore not simultaneously submit applications for a Fulbright-Schuman award and a Fulbright award administered by their local commission.

Does the Fulbright Commission cover the cost of tuition/fees at my host institution? + -

No. The Fulbright Commission provides a scholarship (including a travel stipend) and other benefits, as detailed above. However, no additional funds are available for tuition/fees at the host institution.

Does the Fulbright Commission provide additional support for dependents? + -

No. Although grantees may choose to bring their spouse and/or young children with them on a J-2 visa which can be sponsored by the Fulbright Commission, we do not provide additional financial support for grantees with dependents

Is the amount of the awarded grant calculated based on location in the U.S.? + -

No. The Fulbright Commission offers standardized monthly stipends regardless of the candidate’s residence in the U.S. Please note that study and living costs vary in the U.S. 

The Fulbright Schuman Program, administered by the Fulbright Commission in Belgium and jointly financed by the U.S. State Department and the Directorate-General for Education and Culture of the European Commission awards grants to European citizens to conduct research in the United States and to American citizens to conduct research in the European Union.