Call for PhD Researcher Participants: New Directions in Development Studies and Sustainability

Application deadline: 24th of October 2022.

About the project:

The University of Helsinki, and the University of Jyväskylä, (Finland); the University of Dar es Salaam, and the University of Dodoma, (Tanzania); and the University of Zambia (in Lusaka, Zambia) are implementing a common collaborative project titled: New Directions in Development Studies and Sustainability: Reconsidering global challenges and local realities (NDDS)

This collaborative project amongst five universities seeks to establish new ideas and contents for the redesign of the curricula of Development Studies in the participating institutions and provide a platform for PhD students to gain research skills and discuss their research projects. We are looking for participants who are interested in identifying new directions and motivated to improve teaching of development studies in their respective institutions. This collaborative project is funded by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture under funding frameworks of Team Finland Knowledge (TFK) and the Global Innovation Network for Teaching and Learning (GINTL).

The aims of the project were identified in a series of online meetings with all five participating HEIs.
These included:

1) identifying and defining the new emerging core competencies for future DS graduates;

2) enhancing the theoretical knowledge and practical competence of the teaching staff on these new topics;

3) revising the core curricula of DS; and

4) offering staff and students opportunities for international learning, collaboration, and co-creation.

All needs revolve around the need to redesign DS curricula to capture both global challenges and local realities. The project (2022-2024) includes both on-site (Helsinki 2023 and Lusaka 2024) and online workshops (Dodoma 2023, Dar es Salaam 2024, Jyväskylä 2022, 2024) to discuss the new directions of development studies, combined with a short-term mobility stay (1 month) for selected participants attending to the on-site workshops. The project will accommodate 3 participants from each institution for full participation (including flights, housing, and visa), and an additional 5 participants for online participation. The project offers a unique opportunity to learn from and engage in shaping the latest debates in global development studies, as well as share and improve participants’ own PhD projects.

The eligible applicants:

Registered and active PhD students in Development Studies and/or related disciplines from the
participating institutions

Selected participants will get:

  • The opportunity to engage, build connections, and collaborate with other PhD students and staff from partner institutions
  • The opportunity to impact the future of Development Studies education in their institution and the partner institutions
  • Flights, housing, and visa support for the one-month on-site engagements in Lusaka, Zambia (2024)
  • During mobility, the workshops will be over the course of one week, and students will have the other three weeks open to collaborate, build networks, and experience the host country

Participants will be expected to:

  • Fully participate in all online and in-person workshops
  • Research, debate and reflect about new directions in Development Studies
  • Actively engage with other students and staff on finding new approaches to Development Studies
  • Contribute to project reporting and feedback
  • Contribute to some of the science popularization/communications aspects of the project (including possibly speaking on the limited run podcast series of the project, sharing experiences with funders, or contributing to occasional social media posts for the project)

We appreciate:

  • Previous experience in teaching Development Studies or desire to teach DS in future
  • Commitment and ability to conduct high quality PhD research
  • Readiness to commit to participate and contribute for the entire duration of the project
  • Strong motivation to improve development studies curricula and to engage with research ideas of peer PhD students from different institutions and continents

Application procedure:

The applications should include:

  • A motivation letter (1 page)
  • Proof of admission into a PhD program
  • Brief CV (max 4 pages)
  • Short concept note (2-3 pages) about the PhD research project of the applicant

Applications should be submitted to the PI Professor Barry Gills ( by the 24th of October. All applications will be locally vetted, ranked, and then submitted to the project coordination committee. The coordination committee of the project will decide on the final selection of the participants and the applicants will be informed about the decision in early November 2022.

Timeline of Project:

October 24, 2022 – PhD applications due
Early November, 2022 – PhD applicants informed of decision
November 25, 2022 – Kickoff seminar, Online (Hosted by JYU)
April 2023 (date TBD) – Week of seminars, Online (Hosted by UDOD)
August 2023 – Week of seminars, monthlong mobility (Hosted by UH)
April 2024 (date TBD) – Week of seminars, Online (Hosted by UDSM)
August 2024 – Week of seminars, monthlong mobility (Hosted by UNZA)
November 2024 (date TBD) – Wrap up and reporting seminar, Online (Hosted by JYU)