I've read that in Belgium academic salaries are based on years since PhD. If this is the case, is this always the case? Are there special cases where someone would be paid more than their "years since" rate? Like, for example, if an early career scholar brings in a very large research grant: still the "years since" rate? It would seem difficult to keep talent with such a system so perhaps I am misunderstanding something.

2 Answers 2


I work at a major Flemish institution (but am not local). Here there are different salary scales, depending on your rank.

You start as faculty as a "ZAP" (tenure track Assistant Professor). It is true that your salary increases every year. But that is normal I guess. To keep track of inflation I guess.

In order to have a more significant pay rise you need to advance through the ranks, get tenure, become associate, become full professor, etc.

  • Thanks for this but I am not quite sure it answers the question. Perhaps to clarify just a bit more: in the UK, where I am currently based, one's salary is roughly based on experience but is not tied to how many years you are post PhD. Doing things like, say, getting a major research grant allows you to gain promotions more quickly and often skip over ranks or points on the salary scale and so on. If you are being hired from another institution you can negotiate what your salary and, at times, what your rank is. Is this the case in Belgium? Aug 17, 2019 at 8:34
  • I ask because I am starting talks about moving to a Belgian institution. If I was moving in the UK I would be going in to the discussion saying "I want to be X rank at Y salary" and go from there. That doesn't seem to be allowable in Belgium... Aug 17, 2019 at 8:36
  • I too moved from the UK to Belgium. I managed to have my starting salary raised but not my rank. I was a Senior Lecturer in a non Russell group university and I had to "restart" as a tenure track Assistant Professor. Still worth it. Aug 17, 2019 at 10:33
  • It might be possible to rise more quickly, but there are some hoops you have to go through. Do you speak Dutch already? At what level will you start? Here for example to go from associate to full there have to pass 3 years they say. It seems there might also be an unwritten rule sadly that you must have c1 in Dutch to go to the next rank after that. Aug 17, 2019 at 10:35
  • I'm senior lecturer at a Russell Group Uni and I'd be bringing a €1.5mil ERC starting grant with me (thanks Brexit), so I would be expecting tenure wherever I go. If that isn't possible in Belgium I probably need to keep looking. I don't speak Dutch, no. Aug 18, 2019 at 16:42

The answer by TheWanderer is extremely useless and full of errors. You do not start "as faculty as a "ZAP" (tenure track Assistant Professor)." ZAP means that you are senior faculty member: AP, Assoc. Prof., Prof., Full Prof. If you start at AP level then you are referred to as ZAP tenure track (Assistant Professor).The "AP" in "ZAP" has nothing to do with Assistant Professor. ZAP is "Zelfstandig Academisch Personeel." Now regarding salary increases, every year you advance along the salary steps. Every three years there is a salary increase. This increase has nothing to do with inflation. This is a salary progression: the longer you work for a given university the more money you get (up to a limit of course). Then on top of that there is also inflation indexation. It takes place conditional on inflation index--thus no predetermined paths. Just google for example "KU Leuven salary" -- and you will find official salary tables on the website. As an AP you would normally start at step 7-9 t KU Leuven, for example.

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