PhD thesis

In a conscious desire to increase its pool of highly specialized researchers and to tighten the links with the universities, SCK•CEN embarked in 1992 on a programme to support PhD candidates and post-doctoral researchers.

Preparing your doctoral thesis at the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre 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. They are doctoral students at the university, however, they are based in Mol for the greater part of the time.

 Available topics for a PhD thesis

How to apply ?

  • Capture.PNGView the practical guidelines (.ppsx, press "s" to pauze during the presentation).
  • When interested, it is strongly advised to 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 need to reach us via the website (use the “apply here” button indicated at the bottom of each topic).
  • Your file needs to be as complete and accurate as possible, and needs to be accompanied by at least:
    • two duly signed reference letters from scientific collaborators of a university or scientific institute, of which one must be your final-year university Master thesis supervisor (the university professor who promoted your Master thesis).
      Please use the following template: Reference_letter_referee (19 kB).
    • one duly signed reference letter filled out by the promoter of the PhD thesis topic for which you are applying (contact the mentor for the name of the university promotor and his/her contact details).
      Please use the following template: Reference_letter_promoter (19 kB)
      These letters can be uploaded by the applicant (preferred), or can be sent directly by the referee to In the latter case, please note that we need to reveive the e-mail the latest one day before the deadline of the submission of the files (see below).
  • Please note that your application will only be considered when all necessary documents and information are received within the deadline (see below).
  • You can apply for maximum two topics indicated in the list of available topics. You need to submit one file per topic.
  • Deadline for application is strict and is mentioned in the section "timing" (see below).
  • Your file will be evaluated by the Scientific Council of SCK•CEN. When appraised positive, you will be invited to present your work orally for a jury. For the exact dates, see section “timing”. Please keep all dates free in your agenda, the exact date and timing will be determined by the SCK•CEN Academy and cannot be changed. SCK•CEN does not foresee a reimbursement of travel or accommodation costs to travel to Mol, Belgium. We do offer a webconferencing system for foreign applicants who have difficulties to travel to Mol.
  • Preference is given to candidates who obtained their Master degree (or equivalent) with at least a distinction in their final Master year. Time between obtaining the Master degree and the application should not exceed 5 years.
  • Citizens from States that have not signed/ratified the Non Proliferation Treaty are excluded from R&D topics related to nuclear fuel cycle research.
  • The final decision about your application will be taken after the oral presentation, and will be officially announced soon after.
  • All additional communication regarding your application procedure should go through


Deadline for application: September 30, 2016
Notification selection first round: October 10, 2016
Second round - oral presentations: October 26, 2016
Notification final result: November 1, 2016