Career Opportunities after the PhD

Production companies with a Research and Development department are the most obvious of potential employers of PhDs. In this respect, spin-offs dedicated to innovation and cutting-edge research offer great opportunities. There are also doctors in service companies, such as design offices, banks, insurance companies, consultancies, publishing houses specialising in scientific publications, and charities and NGOs. Private or university based approved collective research centres can also offer multiple hiring opportunities.

Universities hire PhD holders for roles as researchers on research projects and for staff positions. Staff are either scientific (research and teaching associates and senior research and teaching associates) or academic (professors and associate professors). Universities also have doctors in certain administrative services, such as the DAVRE at UMONS. Vacant posts are published in the Belgian Official Journal and on university websites.

The FRS-FNRS offers the possibility to researchers, after having obtained their doctorates, to apply for a full-time post as a researcher. The FNRS also assigns permanent mandates (permanent contracts) to experienced researchers. There are three successive levels for these permanent positions: research associate, senior research associate and research director.

Hautes Ecoles can offer teaching careers to Doctors. However, the teacher will have to obtain the Certificate of Teaching for Higher Education (CAPAES) in Hautes Ecoles to fulfil the conditions of a permanent position.

Public research organisations, such as the State Archives, the Royal Library of Belgium, the Centre for Historical Research and Documentation on War and Society, the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy, the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, and Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage provide jobs to doctors.

Administrative staff, whether federal, community or regional, are recruited through the federal administration selection office called SELOR.

A person who has acquired the degree of doctor can be assigned a research mandate for a short time at another university than the one where they earned their title.

This is an opportunity for the doctor to deepen the knowledge acquired during their PhD.

Some funds provide doctors the opportunity to carry out a postdoctoral stay abroad. 

A PhD is a great opportunity to become a specialist in a scientific field. Some researchers, working within the different fields of applied sciences, or other associated fields, have the opportunity to work and provide solutions to very concrete problems in our society. While research can sometimes lead to patents, it can also lead to the creation of businesses and can allow the researcher to reveal their entrepreneurial spirit and potential. Another career opportunity is creating a business or company with the guidance and support of adequate structures.