Fully-funded PhD Student Position at the University of Groningen and the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

Fully-funded PhD Student Position at the University of Groningen and the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

Fully-funded PhD Student Position at the University of Groningen and the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research.

PhD student position at the
University of Groningen and the
Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research – International Max Planck
School for Population, Health and Data Science is currently open for application from interested and qualified candidates.

The Organization

The Faculty of Spatial Sciences at the University of Groningen (UG) and the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) are looking for a PhD candidate. We offer a fully-funded PhD Scholarship at the Faculty of Spatial Sciences of UG (2 years) followed by a PhD student position at the MPIDR (2 years), ideally starting on September 1, 2022.

The Faculty of Spatial Sciences consists of approximately 100 members of staff, 100 PhD students and around 1,000 undergraduate students. It focuses on high-quality teaching and research in the fields of social and economic geography, demography, and spatial planning. Their mission is to produce research that is
world-leading, distinctive, and policy-relevant. With two Bachelor programs, six Master programs, and a Research Master, the Faculty provides a wide range of courses within the fields of geography and spatial

The MPIDR is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It is part of the Max
Planck Society, a network of more than 80 institutes that form Germany’s premier basic research organization. Max Planck Institutes have an established record of world-class research and they offer a unique environment that combines the best aspects of an academic setting and a research laboratory.

Project Description of the Fully-funded PhD Student Position

The PhD student starts with a PhD Scholarship position at the Faculty of Spatial Sciences of the University of Groningen (UG), the Netherlands, for 2 years. The 3rd and 4th year are spent at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, in Rostock, Germany. Candidates should propose their own research project, to be carried out with supervision from Clara H. Mulder (UG) and Emilio Zagheni (MPIDR).

The proposed PhD research topic must fit within the following description:
• Topics: Either migration (either internal or international) in relation to family and/or life course (e.g. related to the FamilyTies project, www.rug.nl/FamilyTies), or: the roles of siblings, classmates and/or colleagues in life-course events.
• Methods: Advanced statistical analyses using large survey datasets, data from administrative registers,
or other innovative data sources.

What we offer

You will participate in UG and MPIDR training programs for PhD students as part of your personal training and supervision plan. Part of the training consists of following the Career Perspectives curriculum, which aims to prepare you for your (academic or non-academic) career after your PhD trajectory.

You will be expected to be part of the International Max Planck Research School for Population, Health and Data Science (PHDS). PHDS supports strong interdisciplinary research training and exchange within a network of universities in Europe and the US.

The research school offers a core training program in Rostock, extensive networking opportunities across partner sites, and high-quality supervision across at least two institutes. For more information on the IMPRS-PHDS curriculum please see www.imprs-phds.mpg.de.

The UG Scholarship Programme is part of the national PhD Scholarship Programme issued by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW). PhD scholarships amount to a scholarship (stipend) of € 2,249 per month (gross) from the University of Groningen for a period of two years. For the specific terms and conditions of the PhD Scholarship Programme, see: https://www.rug.nl/education/phd-programmes/phd-scholarship-programme/conditions-application/

The MPIDR will offer the PhD student, during year 3 and 4, a 2-year contract with remuneration based on the salary structure of the German public sector (Öffentlicher Dienst, TVöD Bund), currently starting at 34,295.22 € gross a year.


In order to apply for the fully-funded PhD position we are looking for a candidate with:

  • a two-year Master degree in Population Studies, Demography, Statistics, Human Geography, Sociology or a related field, or a one-year Master supplemented with a certificate/degree from the European Doctoral School of Demography (obtained before September 1, 2022). Candidates with an outstanding one-year Master degree may also apply,
  • excellent study results,
  • excellent skills in statistical methods and experience in analysing large datasets (preferably including register data),
  • good writing skills and fluency in English; preferably experience in academic writing,
  • a keen interest in a research topic related to the Project description provided above,
  • a strong conceptual thinking with the desire and capacity to relate theoretical topics to empirical research,
  • strong motivation, good communicative skills, proactive and independent work attitude,
  • strong planning and organizational skills, for their own work and related activities.

What Do You Have to Do and What Are the Evaluation Criteria?

We ask you to provide the following documents, compiled into one pdf:

  • A cover letter (no more than 1 page) about why you want to pursue a PhD position at the Faculty of Spatial Sciences of UG and at the MPIDR;
  • A note of around 300-500 words about the research topic you would like to work on in this position (preliminary research proposal);
  • One writing sample in English;
  • CV including names and contact details (e-mail address) of two Academic Referees;
  • Copies of transcripts of undergraduate and master’s degrees.

Procedures for Applying to the Fully-funded PhD Student Position

The procedure consists of the following steps:

  • Upload full application documents in one pdf file online before May 10, 2022, 23:59 hrs CEST (Central European Summer Time) via https://survey.demogr.mpg.de/index.php/782168?lang=en
  • Short-listed candidates will be invited for an online interview. This interview will take place on May 19, 2022 or soon afterwards.
  • The selected candidate(s) will be invited to develop a research proposal in consultation with the supervisors (Clara H. Mulder and Emilio Zagheni).
  • The starting date is preferably September 1, 2022, but no later than November 1, 2022.

E-Mail inquiries concerning UG should be sent to: [email protected]

E-Mail inquiries concerning MPIDR and IMPRS-PHDS should be sent to: [email protected]

Equal Opportunities

The University of Groningen and the Max Planck Society strive for equal opportunities. Applications of any background are welcome. We will select a candidate in accordance with the following statement of the MPIDR:

The MPIDR is an equal opportunities employer. Our work atmosphere includes respectful treatment of each other, with gender, nationality, religion, disability, age, cultural origin, and sexual identity playing no role. We aim to have an institutional culture that enables everyone to develop their individual skills and competencies.

The Max Planck Society offers a broad range of measures to support the reconciliation of work and family. These are complemented by the MPIDR’s own initiatives. The Society has been awarded the certificate “Work and Family” which is granted to institutions committed to establishing a family-friendly corporate culture by binding target agreements. The MPIDR collaborates with a network of local day-care centers that provides childcare places for the children of Institute staff. The Max Planck Society has contracts with a private family service company that offers services such as arranging child care on short notice in various cities in Germany for parents who attend conferences, care services for children of school age up to 14 years, and support for those caring for family members and relatives. The MPIDR also practices flexible working-time models, which include at least one home office day per week, and scheduling meetings only within core working hours. To help accompanying spouses and partners find appropriate work at their new location, the MPIDR works in close cooperation with Dual-Career Partners in regional networks.

Our Institute values diversity and is keen to employ individuals from minorities.

The Max Planck Society is committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in its workforce and therefore encourages applications from such qualified individuals. Furthermore, the Max Planck Society seeks to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply.

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