PhD Scholarships for Developing Countries at the International Center for Development and Decent Work (ICDD)

PhD Degree

Deadline: 15 Nov 2009
Study in:  Germany
Course starts March 2010

Brief description:

International Center for Development and Decent Work (ICDD) is an interdisciplinary and international scientific network of excellence with the head office located at the University of Kassel, Germany and partner universities in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

ICDD’s objective is to create and transfer knowledge on how to create and improve work and income opportunities in rural and urban regions of developing countries in light of globalization, climate change and urbanization.

Under its Graduate School of Socio-Ecological Research for Development, ICDD invites applications for PhD scholarship positions for students from DAC countries. PhD students of the Graduate School will be based either at the University of Kassel or at one of ICDD’s international partner universities (see below), and will be enrolled in the respective university’s PhD training programmes.

Host Institution(s):

The PhD scholarships positions are offered at the following internationally renowned universities:

•  8    at the University of Kassel, Germany in the fields of political and agricultural science,
•  2    at the Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS), India in the field of sociology,
•  2    at the Universidade Estaduale de Campinas (Unicamp), Brazil in the field of economics,
•  2    at the University of Witwatersrand (Wits), South Africa in the field of sociology,
•  2    at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF), Pakistan in agricultural science,
•  2    at the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatan (UADY), Mexico in agricultural science, and
•  2    at Egerton University (EGU), Kenya in agricultural science.

Field of study:

One of ICDD’s core structures for the inter-disciplinary generation of knowledge is the Graduate School of Socio-Ecological Research for Development. PhD projects within this school may be rooted in either the natural or social sciences and should be focused on actor and problem oriented research on sustainable human-environmental relationships and decent livelihoods. ICDD promotes three research clusters as a common framework for the design of prospective PhD projects:

Sustainable Value Creation for Decent Work

This cluster focuses on strategies to increase value creation by developing technologies for more efficient and sustainable use of resources and by improving human skills, preferably along agricultural commodity chains. PhD applicants should be interested in analysing spatially and sectorally detailed urban-rural linkages to address the mobility of people, goods, services, money transfers, information, and associated flows of nutrients, energy and water.

Instruments for Promoting Decent Work

This cluster focuses on the effectiveness of existing instruments in enforcing minimum standards for labour as formulated by the International Labour Organization (ILO) such as public procurement, supply chain governance, and national minimum wages. PhD applicants should be interested in analysing such instruments and their effective implementation in different state contexts. A special focus should be directed towards their impact on or relevance for informal labour relations and particularly on the working conditions and lives of temporary labour migrants.

Strategies of Empowerment for Decent Work

This cluster focuses on the advocacy of good working conditions within economic and political decision-making processes against the background of eroding capacities of workers to engage in collective action due to the growing informal nature of work. Thereby special Attention is directed towards particularly vulnerable groups, such as domestic workers. PhD applicants should be interested in exploring possible sources and forms of organisations to foster empowerment strategies within informal labour relations.

Number of Awards:

20 PhD scholarship positions.

Target group:

Students from DAC Countries (developing and emerging countries)

Scholarship value/inclusions:

Scholarships will be awarded for four years under the precondition of a successful extension after one year. The scholarships will cover a country-specific monthly allowance according to DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) standards. All scholarships will include travel expenses for south-north and south-south mobility if necessary and funding for field research and the participation in Graduate School and ICDD activities.

Eligibility/Admission Requirements:

•  Cover Sheet (cf. attachment)
•  above average MA/MSc degree in a disciplines related to the above topics / fields
•  proof of English language proficiency
academic or vocational experience in one of the disciplines related to the thematic field of development and decent work
•  letter of recommendation from a professor of  the ICDD network
summary of master thesis (1500 words), if applicable
•  preliminary PhD project proposal including topic, research question, short overview of the relevant literature, theoretical approach, research design and methodology (2.000 words)

Application instructions:

Applications with all necessary documents must be submitted  no later than 15 November 2009. It is important to visit the official website (link found below) for detailed information on how to apply for this scholarship.

Contact information:

ICDD – Universität Kassel
Graduate School of Socio-Ecological Research for Development
Address: Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 2, D-34117 Kassel
Tel: ++49 (0)561-804 7395
Fax: ++49 (0)561-804 3464
Mail: gradschool(at)

Mrs. Simone Buckel, phone + 49(0)5618047395, buckel(at)


Official Scholarship Website:

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