PhD position Careers in Regional Labour Markets (1.0 FTE)

Updated: 6 months ago
Deadline: 12 Apr 2023

Since its foundation in 1614, the University of Groningen has enjoyed an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative centre of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Balanced study and career paths in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 31,000 students and researchers to develop their own individual talents. Belonging to the best research universities in Europe and joining forces with prestigious partner universities and networks, the University of Groningen is truly an international place of knowledge.

The Faculty of Spatial Sciences consists of approximately 100 members of staff, 100 PhD students and around 1000 undergraduate students. We focus on high quality teaching and research in the fields of social and economic geography, demography, and spatial planning. With a single collective research theme of 'towards Wellbeing, Innovation and Spatial Transformation' (tWIST), it is our mission to produce research which is world-leading, distinctive, and policy-relevant. With two Bachelor and eight Master programmes, we provide a wide range of courses within the fields of geography and spatial sciences.

The PhD researcher will be based in the Department of Economic Geography. The department offers teaching and training at different levels, including the Master’s Programme ‘Economic Geography’ and its specialization ‘Economic Geography: Regional Competitiveness and Trade’. The research agenda of the department focuses on regional aspects of labour market dynamics, well-being and socio-economic disparities, transport and mobility and Real Estate.

The Economic Geography Department of the Faculty of Spatial Sciences at the University of Groningen is looking for a PhD researcher on the topic ‘Careers in Regional Labour Markets’.

This PhD position contributes to our research programme on regional labour market dynamics and career patterns. More specifically the project aims to understand inequalities in career opportunities across space and socio-economic groups. For this, the PhD-project will address the spatial dimensions of career choices by young people and the long-term effects of those choices on labour market positions and success. There is an interest in understanding such choices in the context of specific sectors including health-care and energy and it stands to reason at least one of the studies of the PhD will address the situation in a specific industry. The exact project proposal will be developed in the first three months of the project as a cooperation between the PhD-researcher and the supervisors.

The PhD-project sits within the ‘Talent in the Region’ research programme, which is a large research project aiming to further talent development in the North of the Netherlands, with a specific focus on Groningen. One of the central elements of the project is the Talentmonitor ( This is an online dashboard with the goal to inform local policymakers, firms and citizens about local labour market dynamics, based mostly on individual level register data (microdata) from Netherlands Statistics. As part of the PhD, you will contribute to and assist in updating and further developing this monitor. The analyses you perform for the Talentmonitor will also inform the academic output that is part of the PhD thesis. Your project will be supervised by Prof. Dr. Sierdjan Koster, Dr. Femke Cnossen and Dr. Viktor Venhorst.

Central tasks include:
• write a PhD thesis consisting of 4 first-authored articles at the level of international scientific journals, an introduction and a discussion. The thesis will be written in English.
• Maintaining the Talentmonitor in cooperation with the other project members: a system for monitoring talent in the north of the Netherlands by using microdata from Statistics Netherlands
• quantitative analysis of various labour market transitions such as school-to-work, work-to-work, or work-to-inactivity, where you will specifically focus on the regional element in these transitions
• conduct supportive research activities if applicable such as policy analysis, stakeholder interviews, surveys, focus-groups
• presentations at (inter)national conferences as well as to audiences consisting of regional administrators, policy advisors, entrepreneurs etc.

We are looking for a candidate with:

  • a (Research) Master’s degree in a field of study relevant to the topic of the project (e.g. geography, economics, labour market studies, demography, sociology) or to be completed in the near future
  • good writing skills and fluency in English; preferably experience in academic writing
  • strong conceptual thinking with the desire and capacity to relate theoretical topics to practical challenges and solutions, also in policies
  • excellent skills in quantitative research methods and data handling. Experience in working with large individual level (register) data sets is preferred
  • strong motivation, good communicative skills in different settings (scientific and in the policy arena), and a proactive and independent work attitude.

Also, given the data to be used at least a passive understanding of Dutch is preferred.

In accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, the University of Groningen offers a salary of € 2,541 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,247 gross per month, based on a full-time position (1.0 FTE). This is excluding a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income and an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance.

The appointment of the PhD researcher is with the Faculty of Spatial Sciences at the University of Groningen. As such, the PhD researcher will be admitted to the Graduate School of the Faculty of Spatial Sciences, and a PhD trainings program is part of the agreement.

According to faculty regulations, the selected candidate will first be appointed for a period of 12 months. Prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that a successful completion of the PhD thesis within the next three years is to be expected. The contract will then be prolonged for another 3 years.

The preferred starting date is June 1st 2023

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