PhD 'Migration, seasonal labour and (r)urban arrival infrastructures in the Netherlands and Belgium' (1.0 FTE)

Updated: 27 days ago

PhD 'Migration, seasonal labour and (r)urban arrival infrastructures in the Netherlands and Belgium' (1.0 FTE)


You will develop your own PhD project within the framework of the H2020 project ‘ReROOT: Arrival infrastructures as sites of integration for recent newcomers’, which focuses on processes of recent migrants’ settlement, interconnections and belonging through the concept of arrival infrastructures. Arrival infrastructures are produced by various actors and shape migrants’ pathways into employment, housing, education and training, public services, religious, cultural or leisure activities, neighbourhood organisations etc. In a number of settings in Europe, ReRoot documents processes of arrival, investigates diverse strategies for intervening in the arrival infrastructure and translates these insights into workbooks, tools and educative material for civil society organisations, professionals, and policy makers.

The project is a collaboration between Utrecht University (Netherlands), KU Leuven (PI) (Belgium), Coventry University (UK), Ghent University (Belgium), CNRS (Centre National de Recherche Scientifique) in Paris (France), University of Thessaly (Greece), Sabanci University (Turkey), Malmö University (Sweden) and Institut für Landes -und Stadtentwicklungsforschung in
Dortmund (Germany) and societal partners Menedek (Hungary), Planerladen (Germany) and Molengeek (Belgium).

This PhD project focuses on (seasonal) agricultural workers in two rural areas with string urban connections: Westland (the Netherlands) which is connected to the surrounding cities The Hague and Rotterdam, and Haspengouw (Belgium) with connections to Sint-Truiden, Brussels and Liège. Most of the agricultural worker arrival infrastructures are related to (temporary) work and facilitated through private labour agencies or social networks of migrants themselves. Also housing is an important part of the job related infrastructures. Comparing arrival infrastructures along the two sites will shed light on differences in broader migration regimes, political economies, local settings but also on internal differences and intersectionalities among groups of workers.

Your tasks include:

  • mapping and ethnographically researching and describing the arrival infrastructures of agricultural workers on both sites (Westland and Haspengouw);
  • designing research instruments such as observation protocols, interview guidelines, and ethnographic strategies and techniques;
  • analysing interactions and conversations with various stakeholders, ranging from employers, landlords, travel and employment agencies to migrants and community leaders. Engaging in reflections with them;
  • identifying and interpreting relevant secondary data and policy documents;
  • sharing your emerging data and insights with the other ReROOT research teams across Europe;
  • writing articles for academic (English) and practical (Dutch) purposes;
  • giving presentations at Dutch, Belgian and international conferences;
  • limited teaching duties at the Department of Human Geography (UU) (max. 0.1 FTE/year);
  • completing a PhD dissertation within 4 years, under the supervision of Ilse van Liempt, Gideon Bolt (UU) and Karel Arnaut (KU Leuven).


We seek a highly motivated PhD candidate who fits the requirements, with:

  • a (Research) Master's degree (completed or near completion) in human geography, anthropology, planning, social sciences or a related field;
  • knowledge of and affinity with migration issues;
  • research experience in qualitative methods (e.g. ethnography, in-depth interviews);
  • competence in writing academic papers (evident from your individual Bachelor's thesis, Master's thesis and/or other publications);
  • an excellent command of written and spoken Dutch and English. Knowledge of other relevant languages is valued;
  • the ability to make independent decisions, and develop, implement and complete plans satisfactorily within the framework of the project and the given time frame;
  • affinity with working in an international setting;
  • a proactive attitude and good planning skills;
  • strong social and communicative skills.


You will be offered a temporary position (1.0 FTE), initially for one year with an extension to four years in total upon a successful assessment in the first year, and with the specific intent that it results in a doctorate within this period. The gross salary ranges between €2,395 in the first year and €3,061 in the fourth year (scale P according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) per month for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year. In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions  (multiple choice model). More information about working at Utrecht University can be found here.

Over de organisatie

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University , the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

Utrecht University's Faculty of Geosciences studies the Earth: from the Earth's core to its surface, including man's spatial and material utilisation of the Earth - always with a focus on sustainability and innovation. With 3,400 students (BSc and MSc) and 720 staff, the faculty is a strong and challenging organisation. The Faculty of Geosciences is organised in four Departments: Earth Sciences, Human Geography & Spatial Planning, Physical Geography, and Sustainable Development.

Aanvullende informatie

For more information about this position, please contact:
Dr Ilse van Liempt (Associate Professor), via or 06 24 98 01 01.


To apply, please send your curriculum vitae, including a letter of motivation via the ‘apply’ button below.

Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives.  

We seek to initiate the position as soon as possible (preferably 1 May 2021)

Please note: Due to the current situation regarding the Corona virus (COVID-19) the process of selection and interviews may be subject to change.

Reageren uiterlijk 15/03/2021
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