PhD thesis with NIRAS/ONDRAF

To advance research related to waste and disposal issues NIRAS/ONDRAF and SCK•CEN propose several joint PhD opportunities.

Preparing your doctoral thesis at the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre in collaboration with NIRAS/ONDRAF offers you the best of both worlds: you stay in close contact with the academic world and you enjoy a unique international research environment, with advanced nuclear experimental facilities and top-level guidance from our experts.

PhD students should register at a pre-defined university, depending on the topic of their PhD. Although they are doctoral students at the university, they are based in Mol for the greater part of the time.

 Available PhD thesis topics in collaboration with NIRAS/ONDRAF

How to apply ?

  • When interested, it is compulsory that you first contact the SCK•CEN mentor for further information.
    The name of the mentor and his/her contact details are indicated with each topic.
  • Applications can only be made online, by using the website (click the “apply here” button indicated at the bottom of each topic). Any other form of application (electronic or written) will be rejected.
  • The online application form must be filled in as completely and as accurately as possible, but needs to include at least:
    • two duly signed reference letters from scientific collaborators at a university or scientific institute, one of whom must be the applicant's final-year university Master thesis supervisor (i.e. the university professor who promoted the Master thesis), unless that person is also the promotor of the PhD thesis topic for which you are applying, in which case you should find a different referee.
      Please use the following template: Reference_letter_referee (19 kB) for these reference letters.
    • one duly signed reference letter completed by the promoter of the PhD thesis topic for which you are applying. You should contact the PhD promotor via the SCK•CEN mentor.
      Please use the following template: Reference_letter_promoter (19 kB) for this reference letter.
      These duly signed reference letters should be uploaded by the applicant as a part of the online application (strongly preferred), or can be sent directly by the referee to In the latter case, please note that we need to receive this e-mail at least one day before the submission deadline (see below). The email address of the SCK•CEN mentor has to be in the cc field of this email.
  • Please note that only applications where all required documents and information are received before the deadline (see below) will be considered.
  • Candidates can apply for maximum of two topics from the list of available topics, but candidates need to apply separately (online) for each topic.
  • The submission deadline for applications is strict and can be found in the section "timing" (see below).
  • The application form will be evaluated by a Jury composed of experts of NIRAS/ONDRAF, EURIDICE and SCK•CEN. When judged positively, the applicant will be invited to give an oral presentation on the research topic to this Jury at SCK•CEN in Mol, Belgium. The various dates for these oral presentations have already been fixed and can be found in the section “timing”. Please reserve all these dates in your diary, since the exact date and timing will be determined only later by the SCK•CEN Academy and cannot be changed. SCK•CEN does not reimburse travel or accommodation costs incurred in order to attend the oral presentation. We do offer a webconferencing system for foreign applicants who have difficulties in travelling to Mol.
  • Preference is given to candidates who have obtained a Master degree (or equivalent) with at least distinction in the final year. The period between being awarded the Master degree and the planned starting date of the PhD should not exceed 5 years.
  • Citizens of States that have not signed/ratified the Non Proliferation Treaty are excluded from R&D topics related to the nuclear fuel cycle.
  • The final decision about your application will be taken after the oral presentation, and will be announced officially soon afterwards.
  • All additional enquiries regarding your application and the application procedure should be made to


Deadline for application: March 24, 2017
Notification of selection for first round: after May 15, 2017
Second round - oral presentations:  to be announced
Notification of final result: June 30, 2017
Foreseen starting date of the PhD research (subject to university administrative issues): October 1, 2017