PhD's on Informal Economies in Post-pandemic resilient communities

PhD's on Informal Economies in Post-pandemic resilient communities

Published Deadline Location
23 Feb 26 Mar Groningen

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Job description

We are offering a 36-month PhD position (full time, 1.0 FTE) within the Industrial Doctorate project Post-pandemic resilient communities: is the informal economy a reservoir for the next generation of digitalized and green businesses in Africa, Asia and Latin America? (HORIZON-MSCA-2021-DN-01, GA 101073394)

What is an Industrial Doctorate?
An MSCA – Industrial Doctorate is a programme funded by Horizon Europe thanks to which Junior Researchers can enroll in a PhD programme while being employed 18 months by a university and 18 months by a non-academic partner (think tank, company, NGO, see list below). Successful fellows will receive a salary for three years, at the EU early Stage Researcher rate (total amount depending on the country where they will be based in) and an allowance for mobility, research, family in line with EU guidelines that can be viewed here:

The programme is aimed at producing PhD holders with already a strong work experience and thus already competitive on the job market.

Main objectives of the programme
If successful, you will be enrolled in a PhD programme in the University of Groningen and work in a team of academic and non-academic specialists to conduct a multi-level study on informality in Thailand or Ecuador, involving a) Horizon Scanning; b) Delphi Survey; c) Construction of Case Studies, to identify the sectors of the economy that have been most affected by the pandemic, the sectors that could lead economic recovery and the policies needed to make this recovery durable and sustainable in the long term; the final goal is the training of junior experts on informality in the Global South with exposure to both academic and non-academic sector opportunities; the output includes a database, PhD thesis, scientific publications, policy publications, and communication activities.

Short description of the project and its focus
In addition to the almost 2bln workers already active in the informal sector, World Bank and ILO estimate that the pandemic might have put at risk of precarious employment 500mln-1.5bln more workers. These losses, and related consequences, are not evenly distributed given that Africa, Asia and Latin America is where 93% of the world’s informal employment is located and where post-pandemic crisis is likely to hit harder (especially women, migrants and young people). Yet, the concern is global. Indeed, besides vulnerability and precariousness at individual and community levels, informality also eventually reduces state capacity and the ability of institutions to design and implement policies that properly address social, economic and environmental issues (i.e. SDGs) in a long term perspective. Accordingly, informality-related challenges have been devoted a great deal of attention and political statements. But seldom have these statements been followed by concrete instructions, guidelines or evidence-based policies to tackle informality across the world. Starting from this gap, PRESILIENT is a large network comprising 14 partners (of which 7 nonacademic) and 15 associated partners located in Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America committed to delivering a world class cross-regional training on informality in the Global South to: measure it, address it, find viable and sustainable alternatives. By doing this, we have committed to four main objectives: 1 train the next generation of experts on informality in the global south; 2 carry out a research spanning 15 different countries and to produce novel data and significant theoretical advancements in the field; 3 produce strategic intelligence that can be used to provide practical policy recommendations; 4 enable multi-directional knowledge transfer through network events, pairing of academic and non-academic partners (who will jointly supervise each fellow), secondment and task-based teamwork.

This vacancy note applies to two PhD positions at the University of Groningen, part of the overall project involving 15 PhD projects:

PhD researcher 4; Focus: Thailand
Partners: University of Groningen and Bratislava Policy Institute (
The researcher in this project will be housed in University of Groningen’s Faculty of Arts
PhD researcher 5; Focus: Ecuador
Partners: University of Groningen and Development Solutions Associates (
The researcher in this project will be housed in University of Groningen’s Faculty of Law

Tasks and responsibilities:

- carrying out the sub-project described above
- contributing to the successful advancement of PRESILIENT as a whole, and to the spirit of interdisciplinary exchange characterizing the project
- presenting research results at workshops and conferences, and publishing academic articles
- engaging in public outreach and knowledge utilization activities related to the project
- participating in regular meetings with the other project team members, and assisting the researchers in communication tasks (e.g. co-managing project website, writing blog posts).

Since its foundation in 1614, the University of Groningen has established an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative university offering high-quality teaching and research. Its 37,000 students are encouraged to develop their own individual talents through challenging study and career paths. The University of Groningen is an international centre of knowledge: It belongs to the best research universities in Europe and is allied with prestigious partner universities and networks worldwide.

The Faculty of Arts is a large, dynamic faculty in the heart of the city of Groningen. It has more than 5000 students and 700 staff members, who are working at the frontiers of knowledge every day. The Faculty offers a wide range of degree programmes: 15 Bachelor's programmes and over 35 Master's specialisations. Our research, which is internationally widely acclaimed, covers Archaeology, Cultural Studies, History, International Relations, Language and Literary Studies, Linguistics and Media and Journalism Studies.

The Faculty of Law ( is building on a longstanding tradition of four centuries. Its mission is to be an ambitious top-ranking faculty of law with both high-quality education and research, with a strong international orientation, firmly rooted in the North of The Netherlands. The faculty creates and shares knowledge through outstanding education and research, benefitting society. With more than 4000 students and 350 staff the faculty is heavily involved in educating students, both Dutch and international. The faculty is a modern, broad and international institution, educating students to become forward-looking, articulate and independent lawyers.


University of Groningen


- (Research) MA degree in International Relations, Economics, Law, Political Science or another related discipline. Candidates who expect to obtain their degree before 1 September 2023 are also eligible, and may be offered a position conditional upon successful completion of the Master degree
- excellent research skills (as shown, for instance, by the candidate’s MA thesis)
- excellent command of English
- language proficiency in Spanish and/or Thai is highly desirable
- a strong interest in collaborative research and interdisciplinary dialogue
- enthusiasm for communicating academic research to non-academic audiences.

Eligibility: there are no nationality limitations (anyone can apply); applicants must hold a degree enabling them to enroll into doctoral studies by September 2023 (usually a MA or MSc). They cannot have more than 4 years full time research experience (or hold a doctorate already, even if they worked less than 4 years to complete it) at the time of recruitment.

Mobility requirement: applicants can be of any nationality but cannot have been resident (or have had their main activity i.e. work or study) in the country where you will be enrolled in PhD studies for more than 12 of the 36 months prior to recruitment. This means that if you spent less than 12 months in the country where you are going to start your PhD you are eligible.

NB: this is a very intensive programme. Each selected candidate will be enrolled into a PhD programme, work as junior researcher and will be seconded to the target region for data collection and gain a hands-on work experience on how research skills can be used beyond academia for the benefit of the governmental, private or international development sector. There will also be workshops of 4 to 5 days duration approximately every 6 months at which attendance is essential. Therefore a willingness and ability to undertake these international mobilities is a core requirement.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 36 months.

Financial conditions (including salary levels) and background documents are available at

Your salary will be calculated according to MSCA rules and your personal + family situation. More information can be found at the financial section of the above MSCA document. If selected, you will be expected to familiarise yourself with these rules also to be aware of your formal rights and obligations towards the donor.

This 1.0 FTE appointment is temporary, for a specified period of three years. The candidate will first be appointed for twelve months. After six months, an assessment will take place of the candidate’s results and the progress of the PhD project, in order to decide whether employment will be continued. The prospective starting date is 1 September 2023.

You will be enrolled in the Graduate School for the Humanities (GSH) of the Faculty of Arts or in the Groningen Graduate School of Law (GGSL) at the Faculty of Law. GSH and GGSL offer the organizational infrastructure within which PhD candidates participate in advanced training and supervised research.


  • PhD
  • Language and culture
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • max. €3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • V23.0122


University of Groningen

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