Become a Researcher

How to start a PhD in the Arts at KCB/VUB?

If you have a Master’s degree (in the Arts) and are a performing musician or composer/arranger, you can start your own (artistic) doctoral trajectory. KCB then functions as a research environment and has four resident professors who can act as academic supervisor for your doctorate (Kristin Van den Buys, Maarten Stragier, Matthias Heyman, NN). For the PhD of Arts, KCB collaborates with the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). VUB also awards the diplomas. The Brussels Arts Platform organises these programmes.

To start a PhD of Arts at KCB, you must go through a selection procedure that consists of three rounds:

1.    For a first artistic screening (next deadline in 2025: to be confirmed), the following documents must be submitted online: relevant personal information (e.g., diploma...), a list of important concerts, recordings and music awards, and two to three publicly available audio files demonstrating your artistic quality (e.g. YouTube...). Composers should also submit two to three compositions (scores and, if available, recordings).

2.    Following a positive advice, the candidate will have to submit a fully worked-out research proposal (including state-of-the-art, methodology, planning, output, integration in KCB). The deadline for this is 1 September of the running year.

3.    If the jury selects the candidate on the basis of their research proposal, they must give a live presentation to a jury in early December of the same year. This presentation consists of an oral presentation of your research proposal as well as the (live) performance of music related to the subject of your research, followed by an interview with the jury. Exceptions or alternatives (e.g., in the case of composers) can be discussed.

Admission to a doctorate in the Arts does not mean that this doctorate will also be funded by KCB. Trobador, the KCB research committee, advices every year in June which doctoral projects will be funded for a 50% mandate as a research assistant with a term of two times two years. These mandates then start the following October.

The next deadline for the artistic screening needs to be confirmed still. The above-mentioned documents and files should be submitted online via this Form. Those who are admitted to the second round, will be invited to submit a research proposal with as deadline 1 September 2025. For all questions on doctoral research, please contact Inge Pieters, coordinator of Brussels Arts Platform.


Project Research

KCB stimulates and supports project research. This type of research is only available to KCB staff (education and research) and subject to conditions.

Each application for a research project or mandate (including personal consumables) must be submitted using the correct form and within the set deadline in order to be admissible. All admissible applications are then evaluated and ranked by a reading committee consisting external evaluators. The reading committee submits this ranking to Trobador, which formulates an advice to be submitted to the Raad van de School of Arts, which makes the ultimate decision. The results are communicated in the course of June and the mandate can be started from October.

There are various types of research projects which will be announced by call (through an internal online form). For this year, KCB opens up two types of calls, one for project research (two years for 30%), one for postdoctoral projects (three years for 50%). Both types are subject to conditions and availability (see internal call for details).