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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

TweetThis! Individual PhD Sandwich Scholarship Programme

Call 2009

The Institute of Tropical Medicine at Antwerp awards each year maximally five PhD fellowships to outstanding alumni from its international Master and expert courses, as part of a comprehensive capacity strengthening programme supported by the Belgian Cooperation Agency.

The candidates must be linked to a scientific institute or university in their country and present a strong PhD project proposal co-supervised by promoters at the home institute and the ITM, and at the university that is awarding the PhD degree. The fellowship is awarded after a competitive procedure based on the evaluation of academic merit, a full PhD project proposal and the quality and relevance of the institutional set-up.

The doctoral research project will typically last four years. The scholarships are of the ‘sandwich’ type; 40% to 70% of the doctoral research time is spent in the home institute or country and the remainder at the ITM.

Alumni working in partner institutes of the ITM's capacity strengthening programme are not eligible for this individual scheme, but can apply for a PhD fellowship as part of the institutional collaboration.

Eligibility criteria
- Candidates should have a diploma of one of the ITM Master programmes or a certificate of one of the ITM short courses (list in annex 1). Alumni of the Interuniversity Programme in Molecular Biology (IPMB) can apply on condition that they finished their Master thesis at the ITM (15 ECTS credits). Alumni of the European Master in International Health of the tropEd Network (www.tropEd.org) can apply on condition that they earned at least 12 ECTS credits at the ITM.

- Candidates should be linked to a scientific institute or university in the South that is not a partner in the ITM's capacity strengthening programme supported by the Belgian Cooperation Agency (list of partner institutions in annex 2).

- At least one promoter at both the home institute and the ITM should declare their commitment to supervise the thesis work. Both must be eligible as formal academic promoter of PhD theses according to their national and/or institutional regulations. The promoter of the university awarding the PhD diploma needs to be identified and committed as well.

- Candidates should be able to obtain the PhD degree before the age of 45.

- Candidates should be citizen of a country eligible for fellowships funded by the Belgian Cooperation Agency (list in annex 3).

- Candidates must commit themselves to spend at least 80% of their time on doctoral research and training during the grant period, with written consent and commitment of their superiors.

Grant conditions
The grant includes a monthly living allowance for a period of maximum four years, insurances, family allowance, travel expenses and a bench fee to cover basic costs for training and research. The amount of the monthly living allowance is a uniform lump sum for all fellows and throughout the project, within or outside Belgium. If this standard arrangement conflicts with national or institutional regulations, a suitable alternative can be negotiated with the home institute. The fellowship does not constitute an employment relationship between the ITM and the grantee; in Belgium the candidate will have the legal and fiscal status of a student. The legal and fiscal status in the home institution and country is the responsibility of the candidate and the home institute.

The grant is initially allocated for a period of two years, with a renewal for another two years after a positive progress evaluation by the promoters and the ITM PhD Committee.

Evaluation criteria
All eligible applications will be examined by the ITM PhD Committee. The selection will be based on:

- Scientific quality of the candidate
  • Study results and/or relevant research experience
  • Publications (quality and quantity)
  • Recommendation letters of the promoters
- Scientific quality of the proposal
  • Quality and feasibility of the research plan
  • Relevance to health and health development in developing countries
  • Coherence with research programmes at the home institute and at the ITM
  • Potential output
- Contribution to capacity strengthening of the home institute and/or country

Application procedure and timeline
- Applications have to be completed and submitted by the candidate, with support from the promoters, according to the guidelines and on the format in annex 4.
- The deadline for submission is 30 November 2009.
- The evaluation and ranking by the ITM PhD Committee will take place between 1 December and 15 January 2010.
- The final decision is taken by the ITM Direction Committee before 15 February 2010.
- The candidates and their promoters will be notified at the latest by 1 March 2010.
- The PhD scholarship can start between 1 March and 1 September 2010.

Further information can be obtained from Ann Verlinden, ITM Research Coordinator (averlinden@itg.be; +32 (0)3 247 66 86), to whom also the applications should be sent.

ANNEX 1. ITM Short Courses
  • Short Course on Health Policy
  • Short Course on Strategic Management of Health Systems
  • Planning and Management of Reproductive Health Programmes
  • Planning and Management of Tropical Diseases Control Programmes
  • Short Course on Anti-Retroviral Therapy (SCART)
  • Short Course in Clinical Research & Evidence-based Medicine (SCREM)
ANNEX 2. Partner Institutions under the Third DGDC-ITM Framework Agreement

  • Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale R.D. Congo (INRB), Labovet R.D. Congo
  • Institut National d'Administration Sanitaire Maroc (INAS)
  • Makerere University/Institute of Public Health, Kampala, Uganda (IPH-MU)
  • PUCE Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador/ISP Instituto de Salud Pública, Quito, Ecuador (IPH-PUCE)
  • Instituto Nacional de Higiene, Epidemiología y Microbiología, Havana, Cuba (INHEM)
  • Instituto de Medicina Tropical Pedro Kourí, Havana, Cuba (IPK)
  • Universidad Mayor de San Simon/Graduate School, Department of Medicine, Cochabama, Bolivia (UMSS)
  • Institute of Public Health Bangalore, India
  • Sihanouk Hospital Centre of HOPE, Phnom Penh, Cambodia (SHCH)
  • Tropical Diseases Research Centre, Ndola, Zambia
  • Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia/Instituto de Medicina Tropical Alexander von Humboldt, Lima, Peru (IMTAvH)
  • National Institute of Malariology, Parasitology & Entomology, Hanoi, Vietnam (NIMPE), National Center for Malaria Control, Parasitology and Entomology (NCMC)
  • Université Cheikh Anta Diop, CHU Le Dantec/Laboratoire de Bactériologie Virologie, Dakar, Sénégal
  • University of Pretoria/Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, Pretoria, South Africa (DVTD)
  • Centre International de Recherche-développement sur l'Elevage en zone Subhumide, Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso (CIRDES)
  • Centro Internacional de Zoonosis, Central University, Quito, Ecuador
ANNEX 3. List of countries of which citizens are eligible for DGDC-funded fellowships

Algeria, Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia, Burundi, Brazil, Burkina-Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Cuba, DR Congo, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Palestine areas, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Surinam, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe

ANNEX 4. Guidelines and research proposal format

Please send your application 30 November 2009 at the latest to Ann Verlinden, ITM Research Coordinator, averlinden@itg.be , 32-(0)32476686.

The PhD application should include:
1. The PhD research project proposal following the guidelines below.
2. Letters of acceptance and support from the promoters (home institute, ITM, PhD awarding university).
3. Motivation letter of the candidate.
4. A CV with a transcript of higher education records (at Master and postgraduate level) and a short description of the candidate’s present employment.
5. Language proficiency test scores or equivalent for the thesis and training language (English or French). All candidates must have a sufficient (proven) knowledge of English to consult scientific literature.
6. List of publications.
7. Full text of at least one published article, or one or more relevant chapters of a master thesis if no articles have been published.
8. A statement of the director of the home institute or university attesting the institute’s support and commitment that the candidate will be able to spend at least 80% of his/her time on the doctoral research and training during the grant period.

The PhD research project proposal should provide:
1. Title
2. Abstract (max. 200 words)
3. Research question (max. 1000 words)
a) State of the art
b) Main and secondary research objectives
c) Working hypothesis

4. Research methodology (max. 1000 words)
a) Study design
b) Methods and statistics
c) Expected data and analytical plan

5. Reference list (max. 10)

6. Impact and relevance (max. 200 words)
a) Innovative character, originality of scientific contribution
b) Scientific, medical, societal relevance

7. Institutional context
a) Embodiment in the research and teams of the home institute
b) Relation of the project to research programmes and teams at the ITM
c) Parts of the work to be done in the home institute and at the ITM

8. Management
a) Personal capacities and experience, possible training needs
b) Logistical and organisational feasibility
c) Budget and resources
d) Ethical, regulatory and legal clearances
e) Timeline and milestones
f) Risks and precautions

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