ITM vacancies

PhD student fellowship
Department of Clinical Sciences
HIV/AIDS and Infectious Diseases
  Apply before: 16 Dec.


The Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp is one of the world's leading institutes for training, research and assistance in tropical medicine and health care in developing countries. Internationally, the ITM participates in activities and collaborations all over the world.

This is a fellowship within the framework of the TB TRIAGE project


The Unit of HIV/AIDS and Infectioous Diseases is dedicated to the control of HIV and tuberculosis, with a special focus on diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of HIV-coinfections. We conduct research on management of drug-resistant tuberculosis, models of care for HIV and clinical decision making in tuberculosis, making use of point-of-care diagnostic tests, taking into account diagnostic accuracy, local prevalence and risk factors.

One such project is the EDCTP-funded African-European TB TRIAGE study. In the context of the TB TRIAGE study the Unit of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Diseases is looking for a motivated PhD student. This sandwich PhD project will take place both in the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) in South Africa and in the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) in Belgium, and will be embedded in the work package “Clinical decision making in TB”. The student will be primarily based in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, and conduct research in close collaboration with supervisors of HSRC and ITM.

As part of the PhD research the candidate will, guided by supervisors, conduct a diagnostic accuracy study of an alternative point-of-care CD4 test, establish a therapeutic threshold for TB in Lesotho and South Africa, and perform a latent class analysis to estimate the true prevalence and the diagnostic accuracy of triage tests studied during the first phase of the TB TRIAGE project. During this process the PhD student is expected to evolve into an independent researcher which will result in the defense of a PhD thesis and publication of research papers.


  • You are a national from a sub-Saharan African country and highly motivated to start a research career.
  • You have been awarded a Master's degree or equivalent in biomedical or other relevant sciences with strong study results.
  • A specialisation in infectious diseases is an asset, as well as training in biostatistics or hands-on experience with statistical data-analysis, for example in the context of a Master's thesis.
  • Proof of successful contribution to a peer-reviewed publication is an asset.
  • You work meticulously, have good organisational and analytical skills, you are quality-driven, creative, a team-player, open-minded, willing to learn and capable of critical thinking/analysis.
  • You must be able to deliver proof of English proficiency with a certificate from a recognised institution as stipulated in ITM’s scholarship regulations.


  • An intellectually stimulating and international environment
  • A PhD sandwich scholarship
  • Benefits according to the ITM sandwich PhD regulations


Contact Lut Lynen, Head of the Unit of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Diseases at ITM, if you would like to receive more information on the position (; +32/3/2476476) or Alastair Van Heerden, research director at HSRC (, South Africa).

Send your applications with a cv, motivation letter and a draft project proposal to before 16 December 2019.

Project proposal

One of the requirements for your application is to write a brief project proposal on a topic related to diagnosis of tuberculosis.

Your proposal should have a specific format, as follows:

  1. Summary (200 words) 
  2. Description of the project (1,000 words)
    1. Background and significance (relevance and innovativeness) 
    2. Objectives 
    3. Main research question 
    4. Theoretical framework 
    5. Research approach
  3. References

Please Note: The request that you submit a project proposal is primarily an exercise to aid the selection committee in the assessment of your writing skills, knowledge and ability to envisage the impact of your chosen topic on TB control. Your project proposal is part of the selection procedure and will be judged on its innovativeness, scientific quality, and societal relevance. Please note, however, that if you are selected for a PhD position, this does not imply you will be able to execute the research project that you designed in your research proposal. The topic and overall design of your thesis is defined by the candidate and the PhD supervising team, which consists of ITM and HSRC scientists.