Netherlands Fellowship Programme (NFP) – PhD students

For professionals from one of the 51 NFP countries who are unconditionally admitted to a Leiden University PhD programme.


The Netherlands Fellowship Programme, including the fellowships for PhD candidates, is currently being redeveloped by Nuffic on behalf of the Dutch Ministy of Foreign Affairs. 


It is not yet known in what form the programme will continue. The November 2017 deadline for PhD fellowships has been cancelled. 


This webpage will be updated as soon as more information becomes available. 


For whom?

Applicants must be a professional and a national of, and work and live in one of the following countries.

  • Applicants have been unconditionally admitted to a PhD programme at Leiden University.
  • Applicants are nominated by their employers and have an employer’s statement that complies with the format Nuffic has provided (see step 5 of the application procedure below). 
  • Applicants must have an official and valid passport. 
  • (If applicable) applicants must have a government statement that meets the requirements of the country in which the employer is established (see step 4 of the application procedure below).
  • Applicants do not receive more than one fellowship for the courses that take place at the same time 
  • Applicants are not employed by an organization that has its own means of staff-development. Organizations that are considered to have their own means for staff development are for example: multinational corporations (e.g. Shell, Unilever, Microsoft), large national and/or a large commercial organisations, bilateral donor organisations (e.g. USAID, DFID, Danida, Sida, Dutch ministry of Foreign affairs, FinAid, AusAid, ADC, SwissAid), multilateral donor organisations, (e.g. a UN organisation, the World Bank, the IMF, Asian Development Bank, African Development Bank, IADB), international NGO’s (e.g. Oxfam, Plan, Care). 
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that finances the NFP scholarships, has determined that 35% of the total NFP budget will be spent on grants and study programmes in food security and private sector development, 50% of the budget is for applications from Sub Sahara Africa and 50% of fellowships has to be awarded to female applicants.

Scholarship Amount

A NFP fellowship is intended to supplement the salary that the fellow should continue to receive during the study period. The allowance is a contribution towards the costs of living, the costs of tuition fees, visas, travel, insurance and thesis research. If applicable, the fellowship holder is expected to cover the difference between the actual costs and the amount of the personal NFP allowances.

Scholarship period

The duration of a PhD fellowship is 48 months at the most and must start between 1 January and 31 December in the year following the year the application was received.

General requirements

See the NFP website for the requirements.

NFP-PhD application procedure and deadlines






Deadline to start your PhD in 2017


Find a supervisor

A PhD at Leiden University entails independent and original research under the supervision of a full professor. You can contact a professor to discuss your research plan yourself or you can contact the Graduate School of the Faculty first.

More information about finding a supervisor.

June 2016


Apply to the Graduate School

After you and the proposed supervisor (promotor) agree on your research proposal and research plan, you have to apply to the Graduate School of the Faculty where you plan to conduct your PhD research.

Please take into account that the application process might take 4 to 6 weeks.

If you are admitted, you will receive a Letter of Unconditional Admission from the Graduate School.

July 2016


Statement Promotor

Ask your supervisor (promotor) to write you the Statement NFP PhD. Please use this format to make sure the statement meets all the prescribed criteria.

The statement must be signed by your supervisor (promotor), printed on Leiden University letterhead paper and then uploaded with your application via Atlas (see step 4). 

August 2016

4 (If applicable) Statement Government Authority

Some NFP countries require a Government statement. Please use this format to make sure the statement meets all the prescribed criteria. If there is unclarity about the need for a government statement, please contact Embassy of the Netherlands in your home country for more information.

August 2016

5  Statement employer

Ask your employer to write you a statement for the NFP PhD scholarship. Please use this format to make sure the statement meets all the prescribed criteria.
August 2016
6 Prepare your application

In Atlas, the online application tool for NFP PhD scholarships, you will have to answer three questions regarding your motivation (see below). We strongly recommend that you prepare your answers in word, so you only have to copy-paste and avoid typing in Atlas. Please note that the weblink to Atlas will be available between 1 September and 13 October 2016.


1. What is the issue or problem you want to address in your country?

Please give a brief outline [in min 50 and max 1000 characters] of the issue or problem hindering the development of your country you would like to contribute to solving using the knowledge and expertise gained by attending the study program or course.

2. How will this course enable you to address this issue?

Please explain [in min 50 and max 1000 characters] what knowledge and expertise you expect to gain from the course or study program and how this specific knowledge and expertise can contribute to solving the issue or problem.

3. How will you address this issue with your position within your organisation?

Please describe [in min 50 and max 1000 characters] the position you hold in your organization and explain why and how this position will enable you to address the issue or problem with the knowledge gained from the course or study program. You do not need to include a detailed list of activities here, as a specific plan of activities forms part of the “employer’s statement” that has to be uploaded separately


September 2016


Apply for the NFP PhD scholarship via Atlas

Apply for the NFP PhD scholarship via Atlas, the online application tool for NFP scholarships.


Please note that you need to upload:
1. copy of your passport (or another form of identification);
2. the employer's statement;
3. the Letter of Unconditional Admission from the Graduate School and the statement NFP PhD application from you supervisor (promotor). Please upload these two documents in one PDF document;
4. (only if applicable) the statement government authority,


otherwise your application will not be considered. Each uploaded document should be prepared in PDF format and not exceed 2MB. 

Between 1 September and 13 October 2016


Nomination process


If the number of applications exceeds the number of nominations that Leiden University can make for the NFP PHD scholarship, a selection committee, under the responsibility of the Rector Magnificus, will review the applications. Nominees will be selected on the basis of: 

  1. Statement of promotor (see step 5) 

  2. Your motivation (see step 6)

  3. Best possible distribution of nominees per institute

  4. The connection with the aim of the NFP (see NFP website)  

Between mid-October and the beginning of November 2016


Outcome granting process

The Scholarships Team will contact you regarding the outcome of the granting process.

Mid-December 2016



Practical arrangements

The PhD candidate, the Leiden University supervisor (promotor) and the contact person of the Faculty/Department/Institute/Graduate School are responsible for all the practical issues related to the arrival and stay of the selected NFP PhD candidate (such as visa, accommodation, work space etc.)

Not applicable


Financial arrangements

The Scholarships Team of the Student and Educational Affairs department is responsible for the financial arrangements.


Not applicable


Holland Alumni Network and NFP alumni activities

The Holland Alumni Network provides services to all alumni that have studied at Dutch higher education institutions. It periodically organises events for alumni and/or alumni associations.

Alumni and alumni-to-be are encouraged to join, participate in, and/or set up (pre-) alumni activities. Several opportunities and funds for (pre-) alumni activities are available.

For more information see the Holland Alumni Network website.

More information

Last Modified: 25-07-2017