PhD Social Inequalities Over Time, Space and Scale

Updated: about 1 month ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 09 Mar 2023

Challenge: Analyse longitudinal and multiscale measures of population.
Change: Understand segregation trends and individual exposures to spatial context.
Impact: Tackle sociospatial inequalities.


In the conditions of growing economic inequalities, population ageing, as well as international and internal migrations, it is important to explore how different aspects of segregation (by ethnicity, income, age, and other dimensions) develop, relate to each other, and affect people. While there is a lot of discussion in the Netherlands – and internationally – about segregation, both ethnic and socioeconomic, there is no clear evidence of whether the segregation of different groups within the population is increasing or decreasing over longer periods of time, whether the spatial scale of segregation is increasing or decreasing, and how this differs between different places within the country. One of the main challenges in research on sociospatial inequalities and their effects on people is the measurement of the spatial context in which people live. Traditionally, this spatial context is measured at a single point in time, using one variable (such as the percentage of people in poverty) and at a single spatial scale (often a neighbourhood represented by an administrative unit). Researchers and policy makers increasingly acknowledge that spatial context measures should be longitudinal, multidimensional and multiscale, embracing various areas (from micro to macro) to which people are potentially exposed. This means that the full residential histories of people during their lives must be measured across spatial scales. The Netherlands has excellent and unique register data, which allows the creation and analysis of such spatial context variables. A longitudinal, multidimensional and multiscale perspective helps urban planners and urban designers to better understand the impact of the city on individuals and their opportunities to do well in life. 

To address these societal challenges, you will use longitudinal, multidimensional and multiscale measures of the full population of the Netherlands, based on people’s sociodemographic characteristics, such as their socioeconomic status, age, ethnicity, or education. These detailed multiscale measures will enable us to answer here interrelated scientific research questions: How has segregation developed over a long period of time in the Netherlands? How have different neighbourhood characteristics and individual residential histories developed over time? To answer these questions, you will 

(1) measure social inequalities over time, at multiple spatial scales, and in different dimensions, 

(2) examine how these different dimensions (sociodemographic characteristics) relate to each other and interact, and 

(3) analyse individual exposures to spatial contexts over time and scale (multiscale residential histories). 

You will be part of the Urban Studies group in the Department of Urbanism at Delft University of Technology. You will be supervised by experienced researchers who have developed an approach to create multiscale measures of population, using individual level register data from Statistics Netherlands (CBS). For this PhD position, we are seeking an enthusiastic and well qualified researcher who holds a master’s degree in sociology, demography, geography, economics, applied statistics, or another relevant discipline. The candidate has strong quantitative research skills and experience with analysing large (longitudinal) data sets using advanced statistical techniques, as well as a good command of written and spoken English. A keen interest in the research topic, a willingness to work in an international team, good communication skills, excellent study results, and experience in academic writing are regarded as assets. 


  • A master’s degree in a social and spatially aware discipline, such as Urban Studies, Demography, Sociology, Geography, Economics, or Spatial Statistics.
  • Strong quantitative research skills, experience in using advanced statistical techniques in Stata, R or similar programmes, as well as experience with analysing large (longitudinal) data sets.
  • Familiarity with spatial data analysis and the use of geographic information systems is considered an advantage.
  • An excellent command of spoken and written English and good communication skills.
  • A willingness to work in a team, excellent study results, and academic writing skills are regarded as assets.

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements. 


Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met. 

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from €2541 per month in the first year to €3247 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. 

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation. 


Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context. 

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values  and we actively engage  to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration. 

Challenge. Change. Impact! 


Faculty Architecture & the Built Environment

The Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment has a leading role in education and research worldwide. The driving force behind the faculty’s success is its robust research profile combined with the energy and creativity of its student body and academic community. It is buzzing with energy from early in the morning until late at night, with four thousand people studying, working, designing, conducting research and acquiring and disseminating knowledge. Our faculty has a strong focus on 'design-oriented research’, which has given it a top position in world rankings. 

Staff and students are working to improve the built environment with the help of a broad set of disciplines, including architectural design, urban planning, building technology, social sciences, process management, and geo-information science. The faculty works closely with other faculties, universities, private parties, and the public sector, and has an extensive network in the Netherlands as well as internationally. 

Click here  to go to the website of the Faculty of Architecture and the Built 


For more information about this vacancy, please contact Ana Petrovic, Assistant Professor, email:  

For more information about the selection procedure, please contact Manon de Gier, HR Assistant, email:  

The position will remain open until March 9, 2023 (local Dutch time + 2 hrs). You must apply via the "Apply now" button. Applications via e-mail will not be processed. 


Join the oldest and largest technical university in the Netherlands. Work on clever solutions for worldwide challenges, to change the world and make an impact. Ready to bring your energy to our research?

Challenge, change, impact!

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