NATO Security Studies
Number of recipients
In addition to being a prestigious academic exchange program, the Fulbright Program is designed to expand and strengthen relationships between the people of the United States and citizens of other nations and to promote international understanding and cooperation. To support this mission, Fulbright Scholars may be asked to give public talks, mentor students, and otherwise engage with the host community, in addition to their primary activities.
Funded by a partnership between the NATO Public Diplomacy Division and the Fulbright Commission in Brussels, this unique award invites American academics and professionals to conduct a research or professional project that fosters awareness and understanding of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
The successful candidate will spend one semester researching or researching/teaching on transatlantic security studies at a university or think tank of their choice in Belgium. In addition to their primary institute of affiliation, the award recipient will be connected with officials at NATO and at the U.S. Mission to NATO in order to facilitate their research. Throughout the grant, the award recipient may be invited to give public talks, mentor students, and otherwise engage with the host community.
The Commission for Educational Exchange between the United States, Belgium, and Luxembourg is responsible for running this Fulbright program, which is financially supported by the U.S. government and the NATO Public Diplomacy Division.
Grants will be awarded for a period of four months, and are tenable during the autumn semester (August/September 2023 to December 2023/January 2024) or spring semester (January/February 2024 to May/June 2024).
Applications are accepted in a number of fields of study. Given the unique nature of this award, applications in areas with a connection to NATO are highly encouraged, including but not limited to: cybersecurity, military history, nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, peace and security, security studies, and transatlantic studies. Previous recipients of the NATO Security Studies Award have conducted research on energy security, complex security governance, the role of women in the military, the importance of media literacy for strategic defense, the impact of coalition forces in Afghanistan, and more.
Applicants are responsible for arranging their own affiliation at a university, think tank, or government institution in Belgium. Popular options for applicants include the College of Europe in Bruges and the Brussels office of the German Marshall Fund (GMF). A letter of invitation is preferred, but not required at the time of application. Please keep in mind that a formal letter of invitation will be required to obtain a visa, and thus including this in your application can ease the transition into the grant period.
$6,000 per month
Note: Grant will be awarded in euro (€5,000); USD value may fluctuate.
One-time travel allowance of $1,129 (€1,000 - for grantee only).
Note: Grant will be awarded in euro; USD value may fluctuate.
- Healthcare is usually quite affordable: an appointment with a general practitioner would normally cost around €25 ($28).
- Public transportation is available across the country with frequent and affordable travel available between cities by train and within cities via metro, trams or bus. A single ticket on public transportation lines ranges from about €1.6-€2.5 ($1.8-$2.8), and a trip on a train from Brussels to most Belgian cities costs less than €15 ($17), or much less for those with a train pass (10 tickets that can be used between any Belgian stations) or people younger than 26.
- Rent in Belgium is much lower than in most parts of the United States. A one-bedroom apartment can be rented in most parts of Belgium for around €750.
All grantees in Belgium and Luxembourg receive support from the Fulbright Commission in Brussels. They are included in cultural programming throughout their grant, including activities with the FAAB (Fulbright Alumni Association Belgium), workshops with other grantees, and receptions at the local U.S. Embassy. Grantees may also participate in the Fulbright Inter-country Lecturer Program within Europe during their stay in Belgium.
Recipients of this unique award are connected to representatives of both at the NATO Public Diplomacy Division and the U.S. Mission to NATO during their stay. These professional ties as well as the connections established between the Fulbright Commission and these organizations offer a unique insight into the workings of NATO and special access to professional contacts that would otherwise be difficult to obtain.
Final grant amounts will be determined prior to the start of the academic year and are subject to the availability of funds. The United States Department of State and the Fulbright Commission in the host country reserve the right to alter, without notice, participating countries, number of awards and allowances.
In 1830, Belgium declared its independence from the United Kingdom of the Netherlands and established the basis of the intricate system of government found here today. The government is split up into three highly autonomous regions, three language communities, 10 provinces and 581 municipalities in a country about the size of the state of Maryland. It is a trilingual country located in the heart of Europe, sometimes even referred to as the "capital of Europe", with many of the European Union institutions located in Brussels.
The various education systems in Belgium are managed by the linguistic community in charge of the area - the (Dutch-speaking) Flemish Community, the French Community and the German-speaking Community. Belgium is home to the oldest Catholic university in the world - the Katholieke Universiteit in Leuven (also called KU Leuven), which was first established in 1425. There are many other universities, university colleagues and other higher education institutions across Belgium. Applicants are invited to take a look at the website for French-speaking institutions in Belgium here and for Dutch-speaking institutions here.
Coming to Belgium as a Fulbright scholar comes with many benefits, as you would have the chance to live and work in a country that OECD's Better Life Index ranks above average in work-life balance, income and wealth, civic engagement, education and skills, subjective well-being, jobs and earnings, health status, housing, social connections, and personal security. More informally, Belgium also offers a plethora of summer, music or cultural festivals throughout the year, a diversity of fried foods to try, a long history of perfecting chocolate and the chance for you to join the debate on which is better - the Brussels or the Liège waffle. During your period in the country, the Fulbright Commission in Brussels will provide support to help you get settled in your host country and experience the richness that Belgium has to offer. Grantees are invited to events throughout the year, including an orientation meeting in the fall, a mid-year meeting in February, and other informal events such as a Thanksgiving dinner or cultural activities around Belgium. In addition to group events, Fulbright staff provide individualized support prior to and during the grant period and are available to discuss issues that may come up throughout the year.
The Fulbright Commission offers awards for semester and year-long research, teaching and combinations of teaching/research that are available for applicants in any academic field who are interested in joining a Fulbright program that prides itself on the research and cultural programming it provides. Scholars may present their research or give guest lectures throughout Europe via Europe's inter-country lecturer program, and they are often encouraged to assist the U.S. Embassy in Brussels with cultural lecturer requests. The fall semester in Belgium is from mid-September to the end of January, and the spring semester lasts from mid-February through the end of June. For more information, visit the Belgian Commission for Educational Exchange.
Overview of visa requirements
If staying in the Schengen Area for longer than 90 days, grantees to Belgium must apply for a long-stay Visiting Researcher visa prior to departure. Please note that although the Fulbright Commission provides assistance with the visa application process, the responsibility of obtaining the necessary travel documents lies with the applicant. Grantees should therefore carefully look into visa issues beforehand and start the application as soon as possible after notification of a grant award.
"The Fulbright Scholar Award to Belgium has provided an enormously rich setting for my work examining municipalities and migration. From the "hyper-diverse" Brussels capital region to the linguistic, religious, and ethnic diversity evident across Flanders, throughout Wallonia, and into the Eastern Cantons, examining migration in Belgium has proven to be both personally and professionally rewarding. Fulbright staff in Belgium are exceedingly competent, always helpful, and ready to help navigate the complexities of travel and residence permits, settling in with a host institution, and providing opportunities to explore one's host country; the contacts I've made with and through them will benefit both my research agenda and my teaching for years to come." - Dr. Amy Foerster, 2021-22 Fulbright Scholar to Belgium
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