The ultimate Ph.D. guide

made for and by Ph.D. students of the IR and WE faculties of the VUB.

1. What is the NSE-PHD network? introduction

The NSE PhD Network is an organization formed by and for PhD students from the faculties of WE and of IR. The organization is part of the NSE Doctoral school and supported by the Faculties of Engineering (IR) and Sciences (WE). The NSE PhD network has three main goals:

  1. To enhance social contact between the PhD students of the different departments of WE and IR. To do this, we organize social events that allow PhD students to get to know each other better. The dates of these activities can be found on our site http://my.vub.ac.be/phd/network/}{my.vub.ac.be/node/phd/network
  2. To help new PhD students with general questions they might have about pursuing a PhD degree at the VUB. To that end, this booklet has been created that addresses the most frequently asked questions. Additional questions are more than welcome by e-mail to nse.phd.network@vub.ac.be or on our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/nse.phd.network
  3. To inform Master Degree Students about the PhD program. To that end, current and former PhD students will speak about their experiences. The dates of these information sessions can be found on our site and on our facebook page

Every PhD student from WE and IR is welcome to participate in the NSE PhD Network. If anyone is willing to help with the organization of social events or to help new PhD students, please send an e-mail to nse.phd.network@vub.ac.be .

We look forward meeting you at our events!

2. Let us guide you

The NSE PhD Network attempts to guide new and current PhD students from the NSE doctoral school through the maze of excellent information that can be found online and at various other organizations.

A good starting point is: my.vub.ac.be/en/phd. In the remainder of this guide various links to this portal page will be mentioned as a reference. Let us first introduce the most important instances related to PhD candidates:

Doctoral school of Natural Sciences and Bioscience Engineering
my.vub.ac.be/phd/nse

The doctoral schools at the VUB support the PhD researchers by organizing activities related to general scientific and transferable skills. The scientific follow-up of the PhD is guaranteed by the faculties themselves. This separation of responsibilities guarantees that there is no conflict of interest be- tween the scientific research and the transferable skills.

Central PhD office
my.vub.ac.be/en/phd/docbe

The central PhD office helps PhD students to start, conduct and complete a PhD project covering following aspects:

  • Administrative aspects of a PhD
  • Shape VUB policy concerning PhD's
  • Offering workshops aimed at developing skills
  • Furthering co-operation with other institutions

The doctoral school offers language support for publications. All info can be found at my.vub.ac.be/phd/support/languagevouchers.
For those who finalized their PhD thesis, the doctoral school offers grants for publishing their thesis as a monograph my.vub.ac.be/phd/support/publishing.
For faculty specific questions you can contact the IR or WE secretariat. Respective contact details can be found at IR webpage and the WE webpage
The personnel department also assigns a personal file manager to each PhD candidate during your registration at the personnel department.

3. Our internal structure.

As you already know, the NSE PhD Network is an organization ran for and by PhD students of the faculty of science and engineering. The Network consists out of three task groups with specific responsibilities. Each of these groups has a manager, who is the interface of task groups and who communicates with the other groups. If you want, you are welcome to join any of these groups. Just contact the manager of the group for further information.

...

Social events

This group is responsible for the organization of social events. The people in it brainstorm about possible events that they can organize and how to do it.

Manager: Sandra

...

Daily operations

The Facebook, e-mail and other daily services are monitored by this group. They also announce coming events and other announcements in general.

Manager: Liesbeth

...

Public relations

This group links the NSE-PhD network with other groups and organisations at the VUB.

Managers: Gerrit and Hilke

4. Regulations What you should know as a Ph.D. candidate

In this section we summarize the regulations that you should be aware of as a PhD candidate and the conditions that must be satisfied to in order get a PhD degree at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. The central PhD regulations can also be found online.

A PhD study at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel is typically four years and is funded. There are several types of funding. A more detailed explanation about funding can be found in chapter 9. In general PhD candidates must fulfil education assignments. Which task you must fulfil depends on your type of funding and your department. If you are doing a joint PhD, you can find more details about this in chapter 11.

Registration at the VUB

You have to make sure that you are registered as a PhD candidate at the VUB. Registration needs to be repeated every academic year in which the PhD is being prepared including the academic year in which the PhD examination takes place. The registration fee however only must be paid twice. Once during the first year of your PhD and once during the year of your PhD defense. Currently (web 2014) the registration fee for PhD candidates is €290,2.

Progress report

Each year you must submit a progress report to the secretariat of the faculty before the first of May. This report contains four parts:

  1. an overview of activities dating from the end of April of the previous academic year until the end of April of the current academic year
  2. a plan of the PhD process for the upcoming academic year
  3. an indication of problems encountered: a description of past or possible future problems and the manner in which they were or could be dealt with
  4. a report by the supervisor outlining the PhD student’s activities
A template of the follow-up report can be found online. You can also always contact the secretariat of your faculty to receive the most recent version.

Doctoral Training Programme

It is compulsory to obtain at least 30 credits in order to be able to obtain the PhD degree. The table that you can find at https://my.vub.ac.be/sites/default/files/ph nse.pdf lists up how you can obtain these credits.

If however you have obtained min. 60 credits, you receive a Doctoral Training Programme Certificate in addition to your PhD degree certificate. Doctoral Training Programme Certificate is signed by the rector of the VUB. You can find more information about the doctoral schools in chapter 13.

The PhD examination

When you wish to take the PhD examination, you first have to register for the academic year in which you wish to take the exam. Next your supervisor proposes a jury that has to be approved by the Facultaire Doctoraatscommisie. Next you have to send a written request to the Dean (of your faculty) co-signed by your supervisor(s). This request must state the title of the PhD thesis. You have to enclose, together with the request, a number of copies of his/her thesis equal to the number of members of the doctoral jury plus three additional copies to be handed in at the faculty secretariat.

The PhD student will also deliver an electronic version of your PhD thesis. The PhD thesis must be written and defended in Dutch or in English and it is not allowed to simply bundle your publications. There are 2 defenses: a private one and a public one. After you have submitted the PhD thesis, you must defend the thesis in a private session for a jury that consist out of at least 3 members of the VUB and 2 external members.
The defense is in English or Dutch. After this internal defense, there is a public defense. The public defence will take no less than one hour and no more than two hours. It will include a brief summary of the PhD thesis intended for the examination jury and the lay audience, followed by a discussion. Both the examination jury and the audience may question the PhD student, who will then proceed to defend his/her PhD thesis.

Valorization

In addition to supplying education and research, the university has a third, valuable role in society, namely rendering a social and scientific service. The objective is to channel knowledge developed within the university into society. The VUB owns and co-owns more than 100 patent families. This patents and knowledge are managed by the VUB's Technology Transfer Interface (TTI) (http://vubtechtransfer.be/). TTI manages the intellectual property (IP), takes care of contractual agreements with existing companies, licensing and the establishment of university spin-offs.

5. Belgium? Belgique? België? Belgien?

Belgium is one of the most underrated, least known and little explored nations in Europe. Surrounded by France, Britain and Germany, Belgium has spent much of its history being fought over and dominated by its neighbors. Only in the 19th century did it gain independence and has emerged as a distinct separate identity.

Belgium is flat in the north, hilly in the south and in the northwest corner of the country there is a small coastal strip. Belgium consists of three regions: Brussels, the bilingual capital where French and Dutch are joint official languages; Flanders, the Dutch-speaking North; and Wallonia, the French-speaking South.

The climate is moderate, with drastic seasonal changes. In the summer, temperatures are usually somewhere between 20°C (68°F) and 30°C (86°F), and between minus 10° (14°F) and plus 10° (50°F) in the winter. It usually rains a lot, no matter what season it is. The weather can be very unstable especially in the spring and the autumn.

Belgium’s well-known specialties include its mouth-watering chocolates, a long brewing tradition with a wide range of local beers, many of which are unique, and of course mussels served with French fries.

If you want to read more about Belgium, please consult the website \href{www.visitbelgium.com}{www.visitbelgium.com}

6. Brussel? Bruxelles? Brussel? Brüssel?

The heart of Europe

Geographically, Brussels lies in the heart of Belgium. The city is bilingual, but predominantly French speaking (About 90\%). Nevertheless Brussels is completely surrounded by the Flemish region. The bilingual aspect of Brussels is very obvious: all streets have French and Dutch names. As a city, it is the capital of Belgium, where the King resides, and where the federal parliament and government have their seat.

Brussels is also called "the Capital of Europe" as it is well known to host a number of European institutions. In 1958 it was chosen as the headquarters of the European Union. This involves a lot of European administrators living in Brussels.

With 159 embassies and 2500 diplomats, Brussels ranks second in the world in terms of diplomatic representations. Thus, the importance of Brussels is not just confined to European affairs. It is home to more than 120 international governmental organizations with the most famous one being NATO.

The city has such a wide impact on the world at large that it has become an extremely attractive place for doing business. This is the reason why about 1400 international non-governmental organizations are situated in Brussels. Situated at the heart of Europe, Brussels is open to the world. With nearly one third of its inhabitants being foreigners or of foreign origin, you will see that Brussels is a place where not only the different cultures of Belgium, but also the cultures of the world meet.

7. Vrije Universiteit Brussel VUB

Responsive image

VUB stands for Vrije Universiteit Brussel, which translates to English as: the free university of Brussels. Free refers to the pluralistic nature of the University, since it is open to all students on the basis of equality regardless of their ideological, political, cultural or social background
The VUB is the Dutch-speaking sister university of the French-speaking ULB Université libre de Bruxelles).

The VUB has 8 faculties:

  • Faculty of Law and Criminology (RE)
  • Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences and Solvay Business School (ES)
  • Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences (PE)
  • Faculty of Sciences (WE)
  • Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy (GF)
  • Faculty of Arts and Philosophy (LW)
  • Faculty of Engineering (IR)
  • Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy (LK)
The Vrije Universiteit Brussel is located at 3 campuses. Most activities of the IR and WE faculty are at the Campus Etterbeek. Exceptions to this rule are the INDI department and the TONA department, which are also located at campus Kaai.
  • Campus Jette: Aka the ‘medical’ campus. Houses the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy. The University Hospital and the forest of Laarbeek are just a stone's throw away.
  • Campus Etterbeek: The largest campus of VUB in the greenery with a restaurant, sports facilities and lots of meeting places.
  • Campus Kaai: The place to be to study Engineering Technology and have fun in the FabLab Brussel.
    • The faculty of Engineering of the VUB is closely related to that one the ULB since they offer the engineering master program together in English. This corporation is called BRUFACE, which stands for Brussels Faculty of Engineering.

8. Ph.D. registration Getting started

Your PhD registration starts online and ends by signing your contract. Detailed registration information for all The most important steps in between are summarized in this section.

  1. Register online via CALI

    You can do this by clicking on the following link: \href{http://www.vub.ac.be/en/phd/enrollment}{link}
    Next you have to log in or create an account using the online application tool.
    When you are logged in, you have to follow all steps to register. Remark that there is a filter at the tab ‘Program Request’ you have to change the filter to "Show the complete list of VUB courses. I register on the basis of admission by file." such that you are able to indicate 'training level' 'PhD'.
    There is a checklist of all documents that need to be uploaded. The list of required documents can be found on \href{http://www.vub.ac.be/en/phd/enrolment}{the VUB website} . The document Document 'Application for Registration as a Doctoral Student' needs to be signed by the dean of your faculty and your supervisor.

  2. Deliver these documents to the secretary of your faculty

    • Document of Good supervisor (Goede promotor)
    • PhD Scholarship (Doctoraatsbeurs)
    • Certificate of Master of Science Degree
    • Curriculum Vitae

9. Ph.D. Funding Where to get your money?

So you decided a PhD is your cup of tea. You found a research proposal you feel motivated for, and found a supervisor that feels the same way. You're all set? Not entirely. Most PhD candidates in Flanders get funded for their years of research. There are three types of funding you can receive for your PhD:
  • As an employee of the university: you are an assistant (referred to as AAP).
  • You submitted a research proposal to a funding agency, got accepted and received a grant.
  • Your supervisor or department has a project grant of which you can receive your funding.
The full details of each of the three options can be found with your supervisor or the central PhD office (http://www.vub.ac.be/node/8001).

AAP

As Assisting Academic Personnel or AAP, you will combine research for your PhD (60% of your time) with assisting the Professors in your department with teaching assignments (40% of your time). AAP vacancies can be found on \href{http://vub.talentfinder.be/en/vacatures/g/academisch-personeel/index.aspx}{http://vub.talentfinder.be}. \\ Traditionally an AAP mandate is 6 years, opposed to the typical 4 years for a BAP. Recently, this AAP is officially shortened to 4 years in the faculty of engineering. Depending on your supervisor, he can grant you 1 or 2 additional years to complete your PhD. Be aware that those extensions are not guaranteed though.

BAP

BAP stands for Bijzonder Academisch Personeel,

freely translated as Particular Academic Personnel. If your PhD is funded by funding agency, you are registered as BAP. The Vrije Universiteit Brussel is a Flemish University. In Flanders there are two institutes that provide the majority of the PhD grants, namely IWT \href{http://www.iwt.be/english/welcome}{www.iwt.be} and FWO \href{http://www.fwo.be/en/}{www.fwo.be}. It is important to note that the candidates must belong to one of the member states of the European Union. The complete details can be found on the respective websites. Underneath you find the info to get started.

IWT is the government institution for Innovation by Science and Technology.

The preferred research proposals are focused on strategic basic research that can generate an impact on the Flemish industry and employment in the near future. A grant is 4 years in total, with an intermediate evaluation after 2 years. The procedure to obtain an IWT grant is twofold. First, you submit a research proposal to their calls, according to their specific guidelines. Next, in case your proposal is in accordance with their minimum standards, you are invited to defend your project in front of a jury of experts. The defense consists of a 1 minute introduction presentation, followed by a 20 minute Q\&A round. You are graded on your personal capacities, your project proposal, and the potential for the Flemish industry. All details with regard to the application procedure are nicely summarized on their website. Be aware to follow all guidelines with regard to your research proposal, since you must meet all conditions. You can only apply twice for an IWT grant, moreover the allowed research activities before your application are limited. Please consult the IWT guidelines on their website carefully.

The Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)

is an independent agency that stimulates and supports ground breaking fundamental research in all areas of science at the universities in the Flemish Community, including associated research institutes. The Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) grants 4 year Fellowships. The FWO funds excellent and promising researchers as well as Research projects following an inter university competition and an evaluation by national and international experts. The only criterion is the outstanding quality of the researcher and the research proposal, regardless of scientific discipline, host institution, gender, politics or religious persuasion. It is important to note that your application must excel with regard to your research proposal and your profile as a researcher. Your grades from both bachelor and master will be examined, as well as your publication list if any. Furthermore, your research proposal should be fundamental in nature and push the limits of the state of the art. The application date is February 1st (if Saturday or Sunday, moved to the following Monday at 17.00h). Second year master students can already apply during their last semester. Full details can be found on \href{http://www.fwo.be/en/fellowships-funding/phd-fellowships/phd-fellowship/regulations-for-phd-fellowship/}{the FWO website}. The website also includes specific collaborations with other institutes or companies.

The Brussels institute for research and innovation Innoviris

also grants PhD funds. For specific guidelines please visit their \href{http://www.innoviris.be/nl}{website} (unfortunately not in English yet). They provide funding for a traditional PhD, as well as a PhD in partial collaboration with a company.

Besides the Flemish funding channels, it is also possible to start a joint-PhD (or cotutelle) with the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). Besides the enrichment of a PhD between 2 departments, you also have additional funding options from Wallonia. The main funding institute is the Scientific Research Fund - F.R.S. - FNRS. \href{http://www.fnrs.be/}{Their website} is in French but they have well documented calls and regulations in English (\href{http://www2.frs-fnrs.be/index.php/appels-reglements}{click here}). All information regarding the join-PhD can also be found on the \href{https://my.vub.ac.be/en/phd/joint-phd}{vub webpage}.

If the IWT, FWO or Innoviris don’t really match your profile, there is no reason to panic. There are dozens of institutes that can fund your PhD. Many of them are specified in a particular field. Your supervisor is probably the best source of information to find the institute that fits your proposal best.

Good to know

Once you received a grant, you will officially start working for the funding institute (exception for Innoviris grant), which means you are officially not a University Employee anymore. You are not entitled for a staff card anymore, but can request a Volunteering Employee card at the personnel department. The IWT does not pay commuter travel. The FWO does but you have to request a refund yourself.

With a PhD grant you are still considered \emph{student} for the tax service. For your medical insurance company you are considered as an employee though. This means you have to take care of your own hospitalization insurance since IWT and FWO don't provide this, while the VUB does for its employees.

Your paycheck will be different depending on your statute. Furthermore, IWT for example does not give holyday and end of the year bonusses, while FWO does. It is important, however, to know that each paid PhD student in Flanders earns the same amount on a yearly basis.

10. Travel grants Expand your research network

In order to attend a conference, workshop, summer school or stay abroad you can apply for a travel grant in order to get your costs reimbursed. The two options are listed described here underneath.

DS travel grant

The Doctoral Schools of the VUB are making DS travel grants available to their members in order to allow them to attend events that is specifically targeted at PhD students and that takes place outside Belgium. Through this grant system, the Doctoral Schools wish to support the PhD-related training of their members and to stimulate the addition of an international dimension to their formation. Please find all information at \href{https://my.vub.ac.be/en/phd/support/travel-grants}{my.vub.ac.be/ en/phd}.
The PhD events that qualify for these grants need to meet certain criteria summarized on their website. If accepted, the Doctoral Schools will provide grants with a maximum of € 750 which can be used for paying travel costs, accommodation costs and/or event registration fees, as long as these expenses are directly related to the PhD event.

FWO travel grant

FWO funds stays abroad for \href{http://www.fwo.be/en/fellowships-funding/international-mobility/outgoing/travel-grant-for-a-short-stay-abroad/}{short period} and \href{http://www.fwo.be/en/fellowships-funding/international-mobility/outgoing/travel-grant-for-a-long-stay-abroad/}{long period}. The information for both is provided by fwo on their webpage. (still \href{http://www.fwo.be}{http://www.fwo.be})

11. Joint Ph.D. Partner up

A joint PhD, known as a ‘gezamenlijk doctoraat’ in Dutch and a ‘cotutelle de thèse’ in French, stands for a doctoral thesis researched, written and defended under the joint responsibility of two partner institutions. In concrete terms this means co-operation between the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and another domestic or foreign institution either within or outside Europe.
The terms of such co-operation are laid down for each PhD student individually in a contract signed by the rectors of the two institutions, both co-supervisors and the PhD candidate.
It is a prerequisite for a joint PhD that the PhD candidate has completed a minimum of six months of his or her doctoral research work at the partner institution during one or several periods.
If you are interested in starting a Joint PhD you can find more information in the following sections. For more details go to \\ \href{https://my.vub.ac.be/en/phd/joint-phd}{https://my.vub.ac.be/en/phd/joint-phd} .

How is the contract for a joint PhD drawn up?

Always contact the Central PhD Office when you are considering starting a Joint PhD.
Agreements negotiated and/or signed without the Central PhD Office's knowledge and approval are not accepted. Start the procedure at least 1 year before the defence.
Incoming PhD students preferably use the model agreement provided by the VUB. Fill out the template as much as possible and send it to the partner institution for validation. If any changes are required, notify the Central PhD Office. The final version needs to be approved by the Central PhD Office before it can be signed.
Outgoing PhD students can use the documents provided by the guest institution. VUB's documents can also be used, e.g. if the partner institution does not have a model agreement of their own. Send the proposal to the Central PhD Office.

What are the enrolment procedures for a joint PhD?

The PhD student must be enrolled as such at both institutions. This means that he/she is required to enroll at both institutions from the academic year in which the contract takes effect up to and including the academic year in which the final PhD examination takes place (without interruptions). So also in the period or years during which an incoming PhD student is not present at the VUB he/she will need to be enrolled at the VUB as a PhD student.
A joint PhD student is - just like any other PhD student - bound to the VUB regulations. This means that he/she needs the authorisation of the university to start a PhD at the VUB and therefore needs to make an official request.

12. Help?! Where to go with personal problems?

If you are discouraged or having remarks and com- plaints relating to difficulties involving the supervisor(s) , there are people at the VUB that are their to help you with these problems.

Ombudsperson

If you are having remarks and complaints relating to difficulties involving the supervisor(s) during the preparation and the execution of their PhD research can be addressed to the Ombudsperson for PhD students.
At the request of the PhD student, the Ombudsperson for PhD students may operate as a mediator between the PhD student and the supervisor(s), chair person of the (Interdisciplinary) PhD Progress Monitoring commission, the Dean and members of the academic staff. The goal of the Ombudsperson is to arrive at a friendly settlement of complaints.
All remarks and complaints are recorded by the Ombudsperson for PhD students in a confidential file.
The Ombudsperson for PhD students decides, in consultation with the PhD student, how they will proceed after the first meeting initiated by the student. After the first meeting, the necessity of a further procedure will be considered. When a complaint is confirmed in writing, there will always be a written follow-up.
The ombudsperson is Prof. Dr. Jenneke Christiaens (Campus Etterbeek, Building B, room 4B355). To make an appointment you can call her 02.629 39 37 or \href{Jenneke.Christiaens@vub.ac.be}{Jenneke.Christiaens@vub.ac.be} . You can find more information about the ombudsperson at \href{https://my.vub.ac.be/en/phd/ombudsperson}{my.vub.ac.be/en/phd/ombudsperson.}

Student psychologist

If you are having problems with motivation, concentration, stress, if you are facing a lack of self-confidence or if you are discouraged, you can always contact the student psychologist. You can contact them via the SBC (Studie Begeleiding Centrum or study guidance/counseling office). You can find them in Building Y, room 0.15a or call them at 02.629 23 06 or send an email to \\ \href{begeleiding@vub.ac.be}{begeleiding@vub.ac.be}. More information can be found at \href{https://my.vub.ac.be/studiebegeleiding}{my.vub.ac.be/studiebegeleiding}.

CAW: Centre for general well-being

The centre of general well-being or CAW provides psychosocial counseling, legal advice and assistance, gynecological consultations and mediation in divorce cases. Consultations for psychosocial counseling and legal advice are free. For gynecological consultations and mediation in divorce cases the rate is calculated according to your income. You can find them in Building Y3 or call them at 02.629 23 45 or send an email to \href{begeleiding@cawmozaiek.org}{begeleiding@cawmozaiek.org}. For more information: \href{http://www.vub.ac.be/sjerp/CAW_Team_Begeleiding.html}{vub.ac.be/sjerp/CAW\_{}Team\_{}Begeleiding.html}.

13. Educate yourself Doctoral school and language courses

As a PhD student you can also train other skills than your research. The doctoral schools at the VUB organize activities related to general scientific and transferable skills. Besides that you can also take language courses at various centers for Adult Education (CVO) at the university campus.

The Doctoral School

The Doctoral Training Programme of the VUB is organised by three Doctoral Schools. These interdisciplinary and interfaculty Schools support PhD students, stimulate the quality of doctoral research at the VUB and help promote junior researchers.
The Doctoral Schools aim to provide a distinctive framework for the Doctoral Training Programme and, in so doing, increase the visibility of doctoral research and enhance its image, both within and outside the academic world.
Several faculties are associated with each Doctoral School and they join forces to organise the Doctoral Training Programme. Each Doctoral School is headed by a Director responsible for the day-to-day management of his or her Doctoral School. The Director consults with the faculties involved and the other Directors in order to determine Doctoral Training Programme policy and content.

Since you are a PhD student in the Faculty of Science of Engineering you are automatically a member of the NSE Doctoral School. You can check whether your Doctoral School membership has been registered on your student card. Normally the card should state your Doctoral School. If this is not the case, please contact the Student Administration Center. The Doctoral Training Programme is however not compulsory. You find more information about the NSE Doctoral School \href{https://my.vub.ac.be/en/phd/nse}{online}.

CVO Language Courses

The Brussels Adult Education Centre (CVO) of the Brussels Chamber of Commerce and Industry organizes high-quality language courses for adults on the campus of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Each year more than 5.000 students enroll in various levels of the Dutch, French, German, English, Spanish and Italian courses. Linguistic competence is highly valued in the European business world and opens doors to a wide range of careers. Therefore, a team of experienced teachers offers clear, well-structured courses, supplemented with up-to-date textbooks and other didactic materials. Appropriate attention is paid to the four language skills: speaking, reading, listening and writing. Special classes for writing and reading are organized and blended learning programs for higher levels are highly successful. The most accurate and up-to-date information is available only at the C.V.O. B.E.C. administrative office in building D, room 1.33. The costs of the lessons can be found on their site \href{http://cvo-bec.net/site/?p=117\&lang=en}{cvo-bec.net}. You can also send them an \href{http://cvo-bec.net/site/?p=140\&lang=en}{email}.

Candidates are exempt (fully/partially) from the enrolment fee (not the costs of the course material) when they belong to the categories also listed on \href{http://cvo-bec.net/site/?p=235\&{}lang=en}{their site}. For Brussels residents (19 municipalities) who can present a valid document (e.g. E-id, residence permit) the Dutch classes Levels 1 \& 2 are free of charge (excl. books). Students and personel can also follow language courses, at \href{https://my.vub.ac.be/en/acto/english-acto-home}{reduced prices} at ACTO.

14. The important trivialities

How to get to Belgium, Brussels and the university?

IMG
by plane
If you come to Belgium by plane, you will arrive either at “Brussels Airport” in Zaventem, about half an hour from the centre of Brussels, or at the “Charleroi Bruxelles-Sud" airport, about one hour away from Brussels. You can be asked to state proof of the purpose of your journey when you enter our country.
IMG
... from Brussels Airport - Zaventem
The best way to get to the city centre of Brussels is by bus. STIB-MIVB provides a relatively fast connection called the Airport Line. A ticket (bought at a vending machine outside the bus!) is approx. 4 euros. Once in the city centre, connections are available through the rest of the STIB-MIVB public transport network. All information can be found on \href{https://www.stib-mivb.be/airport-line.html?l=en}{www.stib-mivb.be/airport-line.html}.
IMG
... from Brussels South Charleroi Airport
From Brussels South Charleroi Airport, you can take the bus to Brussels Zuid/Midi train station (± 45 minutes) for approx. 14 euros, which runs every 30 minutes. You can also take one of the taxi vans to Brussels Zuid/Midi train station for a similar price. All info on \href{http://www.charleroi-airport.com/en/brussels-south-charleroi-airport/}{www.charleroi-airport.com}.
IMG
By Train
The Belgian Railway Company is called NMBS. All information to plan your travel by train can be found on \href{http://www.belgianrail.be/en}{www.belgianrail.be}. The station \emph{Etterbeek} is closest to the University.
IMG
... from Brussels Zuid/Midi
Take tram 3 destination Churchill or tram 7 destination Heizel. The name of the tram stop is \emph{VUB}.
IMG
... from Brussels Noord/Nord
Take tran 25 destination Boondaal. The name of the tram stop is \emph{VUB}.
IMG
By Bus
You can also travel to Brussels by bus or coach. This however is a very slow and tedious way of traveling. That’s why traveling by bus is not really that popular or practical. You can take a look at \href{http://www.eurolines.be/}{www.eurolines.be} for all details.

If you are still looking for a place to live during your PhD study, following sites might help you out finding a nice place to live:

  • immoweb
  • immo vlan

If you get a result and it says ‘kot’ it means that they are talking about a student room and not about an apartment or a studio. A kot is typically cheaper, but also less comfortable and you will be surrounded by students.
You can enter your preferred location by starting with postal code. Here is a list of some municipalities together with postal codes that are close to VUB or easy get at with public transport:

  • 1050 Elsene - Ixelles
  • 1040 Etterbeek
  • 1160 Oudergem - Auderghem
  • 1030 Schaarbeek - Schaerbeek
  • 1000 Brussel - Bruxelles

There are also some nice facebook groups that occupy themselves with housing:

  • Bxl a Louer - de bouche a oreille
  • BXL A SOUS-LOUER
  • BXL STUDIOS a louer - Offres et demandes
  • BXL A LOUER - de bouches a oreilles
...
...
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15. This is a template for extra chapters:

The first line of the file comes in the title. You can use any html in this for layout. If you add any dependencies (javascript, css, ..) put the library-link into the header file.