Open PhD positions

Farewell Addres prof. Joy Clancy December 8th, 2023 (Remark: first 10 minutes people entering the room)

When a promising researcher identified a research topic of interest and secured adequate personal funding for completing a PhD-research project, they may present their project idea to CSTM. CSTM will assess the applicant and their proposed project, next step can be to connect to the envisioned promoter and if consent is reached, some forms need to be submitted to the promoter and the Dean of the Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences (BMS). Based upon the approval of the Dean, the promoter then can enroll you into the PhD programme. Some conditions can be assessed at forehand, as listed further below.

Specific conditions for open PhD positions

In principle, an application for an open PhD-position can only be awarded when all of the following conditions are met:

  1. Adequate own funding on the part of the candidate
    CSTM cannot offer grants for research, nor for travel and living expenses; such funding will have to be demonstrably secured by the candidate themselves, preferably on the basis of a research grant from an external funding organization (as explained in point 2. In addition to covering the travel and living expenses, this external grant should also include a yearly tuition fee as required by the University of Twente and the BMS Faculty. Find more details on the UT tuition fee packages below.
  2. Positive indications of a candidate’s research competence in the relevant field
    An application should ideally come with a proposal that has been awarded a research grant by an organization with a recognized academic reputation, upon intrinsic assessment of the related research proposal. Still, alternative proof of a candidate’s abilities is possible, such as examples of academic work written in English, a draft of a research plan that communicates ambitions and skills, or endorsement by academic peers (e.g. MSc. thesis supervisors).
  3. Fit between the proposed research topic and pre-specified CSTM research themes
    To be accepted by CSTM, applications for PhD research should demonstrate a strong fit with one or more of the topics on the list of research themes below.
  4. Availability of supervisory capacity within CSTM
    Even when there is a sufficient fit with a given research topic, it may be that the relevant supervisors are currently not available, given their involvement in existing research projects or other tasks.
  5. An academic master degree in a relevant discipline
    The candidate must have an academic master degree in a relevant discipline, such as Public Administration, Public Policy, Political Science, Policy Studies, European Studies, Business Administration, Economics, Law, Sociology, Anthropology, Development Studies, Systems Science, Sustainability Science, Energy Management, Energy Engineering, Water Management, Water Engineering, Environmental Management, Environmental Engineering, Industrial Engineering and Civil Engineering.
  6. A candidate’s continued and substantive availability to do the PhD research
    Sufficient research progress requires that a candidate is available to work on their research project at least three days per week, for a consecutive period of four years. The candidate is generally required to spend at least three months each year at CSTM.
  7. Sufficient command of the English language
    Candidates need to provide proof of sufficient command of the English language. An IELTS score of at least 6.5 or a TOEFL score of 90 (TOEFL/IBT) or Cambridge CAE-C (CPE) is taken as a general minimum. Further, the research proposal and application for a position with CSTM must be written in English by the applicant themselves.

Tuition fee packages

The UT applies a standard tuition fee for External PhD Candidates of EUR 15,000 per year . Following UNL guidelines, this fee consists of the following four categories:

  1. Basic Fee: EUR 2500 per year. 
    This is a fee for the basic facilities that are always offered during a PHD trajectory. This includes access and use of the library facilities as well as the overall UT infrastructure (e.g., including use of various licenses for systems, an online workplace, and the support of the secretariat etc.). In addition, participation in the mandatory TGS training programme is included as well.
  2. Supervision costs: EUR 8000 per year.
  3. Use of a workplace on campus and/or the BMS Lab facilities: EUR 1250 per year.
  4. Additional Activities: EUR 3250 per year.
    This includes e.g., membership of an additional graduate school, training/courses outside TGS, conference visits, costs related to the defence such as proofreading and editing, printing the dissertation, and costs for the PhD ceremony and/or related symposium, translation costs, Open Access publication(s), etc. 


(Part of) the tuition fee can be waived by the Dean upon request from the intended promotor. The request for a (partial) waiver is submitted as part of the request for registration of the External PhD candidate. Instead of a waiver, agreements can also be made about commitment to the research section or department, such as providing education, support for organising conferences, etc.

Themes for open PhD positions 

Studies can focus upon aspects of policy, governance, regulatory, innovations and transitions in society, as far as the targets and domain are relevant for sustainability and aligned with the CSTM Research vision. The boundaries set to sustainability are roughly based upon the SDGs and the social, environmental and ecological indicators. Supervision will be done by a responsible promoter holding full promoter right and a senior researcher dependent on theme and envisioned research strategy. Potential themes are described in an indicative list:

How to apply

Applications for open PhD positions at CSTM should be sent to Mrs. B. van Dalm-Grobben (, with reference to one or more of the topics/supervisors mentioned above.