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Study and Career

PhD Scholarship in Spatial Sciences

Scholarship opportunities

The PhD positions are PhD Scholarship positions. PhD Scholarships provide candidates with a unique opportunity to propose their own interdisciplinary research project. The proposed PhD research topic must both fit within, and explicitly contribute to, the Faculty Research Programme tWIST - towards Wellbeing, Innovation and Spatial Transformation. Furthermore, the research topic must fit within the scope of one of the research themes below. Please click on a specific research theme to get a full description.

Research themes

  1. Water as leverage for urban climate resilience in coastal areas
  2. Spatial spillovers of well-being: modelling the spatial inter-dependencies of happiness and its determinants
  3. Immigrants’ return migration from the Netherlands
  4. Families and school classes as contexts for mobility and life chances
  5. Inclusive mobility and accessibility
  6. Data, dialogue and decision making: design thinking in participatory processes with digital tools for creating sustainable landscapes
  7. A step in the right direction: exploring spatial scenarios for transformation of urban pedestrian mobility
  8. Assembling new subterranean energy regimes: Vertical and horizontal explorations in renewable energy transitions



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

  • a (Research) Master degree in Cultural or Economic Geography, Real Estate, Planning, Demography, or a related social-science discipline (obtained before 1 September 2021)
  • excellent study results
  • good writing skills and fluency in English; preferably experience in academic writing
  • interdisciplinary affinity with social sciences and a keen interest in topics related to the Faculty's research program
  • strong conceptual thinking with the desire and capacity to relate theoretical topics to practical challenges and solutions
  • strong motivation, good communicative skills, proactive and independent work attitude
  • strong planning skills, good in organizing own work and related activities
  • a great drive and enthusiasm.



The Faculty of Spatial Sciences at the University of Groningen (RUG) is looking for PhD Scholarship candidates. They offer 7 fully-funded PhD Scholarships at the Faculty of Spatial Sciences starting 1 September 2021.

The Faculty of Spatial Sciences consists of approximately 100 members of staff, 100 PhD students and around 1.000 undergraduate students. They focus on high-quality teaching and research in the fields of social and economic geography, demography, and spatial planning. It is their mission to produce research, which is world-leading, distinctive, and policy-relevant. With two Bachelor programmes, six Master programmes, and a Research Master they provide a wide range of courses within the fields of geography and spatial sciences.



They offer PhD Scholarships for excellent students for a period of 4 years. They offer coaching to facilitate a smooth process and timely completion of your PhD thesis. You will participate in the Faculty’s Urban and Regional Studies Institute (URSI) PhD training program 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.

The PhD 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 € 2,207 gross per month from the University of Groningen for a period of four years.

Please note that PhD Scholarship positions are different from employed PhD positions, which also exist in The Netherlands. In general, the conditions between the two types of PhD positions differ, for example in the possibility to choose one’s own research subject, the possibility to teach, and payment and certain social benefits.



What do you have to do and what are the evaluation criteria?

They ask you to:

  • Develop and submit your own PhD proposal (max 2000 words) connected to the research theme you apply for. Both the fit to the research theme and the contribution will be an explicit consideration in the evaluation of the PhD proposal. They expect you to develop your own PhD Scholarship proposal. For the Proposal format, see:
  • Write a cover letter (no more than 1 page) about why you want to receive a PhD Scholarship at the Faculty of Spatial Sciences at the University of Groningen;
  • CV including names and contact details of two Academic References;
  • Add the results (grades) of your Research Master or Master program
  • Provide proof of sufficient competence in English (e.g. TOEFL or IELTS).


The procedure consists of the following steps:

  • Upload full applications (1. Cover letter, 2. CV, 3. Grades, 4. Proposal) until 2 May 11:59 pm / before 3 May 2021 Dutch local time (CET)
  • Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview in which they present their proposed PhD research proposal. This interview will take place between 17 – 28 May 2021
  • Accepted candidates start preferably on 1 September 2021.

They are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at their University. They are committed to building a diverse faculty so you are encouraged to apply. Their selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP), and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers,

university of groningen
More information
University of Groningen

For information you can contact:

  • Dr Sanne Ponsioen, Coordinator of the Graduate School, s.n.ponsioen [at]
  • Tineke Dijkman, Office manager of the Graduate School, gradschool.fss [at]