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UM faculties expect an avalanche of applications

UM faculties expect an avalanche of applications

Photographer:Fotograaf: Flickr

Thirteen vacancies for UM PhD candidates

Migration, language education in border regions, internationalisation on the shop floor. These are a few of the themes that will be dealt in the thirteen UM PhD programmes within the inter-faculty project Limes. The project, set up with an EU subsidy, is also state-of-the-art when it comes to the selection and training of young researchers.


The EU, United Nations and individual member states try to discourage Africans from coming to Europe via campaigns. But how do local youngsters receive these campaigns? And how, on the other hand, do social media and the Internet affect their migration aspirations? This ethnographic investigation, which takes place in Senegal, is one of Limes (Latin for border) PhD projects.

Another one is about assets. Large asset owners, such as pension funds, have increasingly invested their assets in companies across the globe. To what extent are these owners limited, for example, by the legal rules in their own countries? A few years ago, there was quite a stir about investments by Dutch insurance companies and pension funds in companies engaged in arms production.

These are two examples of a of total thirteen PhD studies within the Limes project, all relating to crossing borders. In other words, the softening and hardening of borders. “Today, we see in Europe that the internal borders are softening, but the external borders have become harder, says coordinator Thomas Conzelmann, professor of International Relations. “On the one hand, the EU has increased the mobility of goods and persons, but at the same time it has set up stricter external border security.”

The Limes project has been granted a European subsidy of 1.4 million euro from the Marie Curie Cofund. The participants include the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, the School of Business and Economics, the Faculty of Law and University College Maastricht.

Mobility is the focus in this project, with regard to its content bus also in practical terms. All young researchers must be hired from abroad. They must not have lived in the Netherlands for more than twelve months over the past three years. It is one of the European Commission's requirements for the selection procedure.

Today, the thirteen vacancies go online and will be published in newspapers in European countries. Conzelmann: “We expect that we’ll receive a massive amount of applications. Not so long ago, at FASoS we got 250 applications for three PhD positions. The hiring process is completely transparent. All six steps, from the application to the signing of the contract, are on the website. All candidates, also the ones who will be rejected, will receive an evaluation, including the strong and weak elements in their applications and interviews.”

Also, there is special attention for the training. Partly for research skills, but also for disseminating results to non-academic audiences and improving one’s employability. In six summer and winter schools, researchers learn more about personal branding, networking, project management, presentation skills, et cetera.

Every PhD candidate will go on secondment to a partner organisation for periods ranging from half a year to a year, such as the International Centre for Pension Management, Scientific Research Centre of the Ministry of Security and Justice (WODC), Child Welfare Council of the city of Maastricht and some universities.

Conzelmann: “The PhD students will be exposed to another work environment which will broaden their horizon and enhance their career chances.”



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