The application has passed.

Deadline 31-01-2024 23.59 CET.

Learn more about the GROW Programme and how to apply in the webinar that took place at 5 Dec 2023.

The programme in short

We will offer 51 four year PhD positions at five renowned Dutch universities, ranging from such diverse research fields as Social Sciences & Humanities to Natural Sciences and Engineering.

All selected candidates will receive a full-time, employment contract with the hosting institute, including all conditions and remuneration in accordance with the Dutch collective labour agreement for PhD students. They will be facilitated and supervised in running their research project of choice, in alignment with GROW’s ambition to address the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa.

All candidates will have a supervision team of Dutch and/or African academics and an advisory team of societal experts who understand the context of their research topic (e.g. NGOs, government, business etc.). In addition, all candidates will participate in a PhD training programme, peer to peer sessions with your fellow GROW PhD students and a secondment and/or fieldwork in the African context will be part of the programme. All of these elements will be further detailed by the supervisors and PhD student after selection.

The PhD candidate will apply with their own idea for an Africa - SDG oriented topic and motivate why they want to work on this topic. A detailed research plan is not necessary in the application phase, it will be further worked out after selection.

The application deadline was January 31st 2024. Selection process will occur from February – April and the selected PhDs will start their PhD-employment from July 2024.

The GROW programme bases the selection of candidates on the following 3 equally weighted criteria:

  • Applicant Excellence, based on the academic / educational / professional career so far
  • Vision on emerging needs and challenges in Africa
  • Personal motivation, experience and affinity with Africa

Eligibility Criteria

No doctoral degree

Eligible candidates must not have a doctoral degree at the date of their recruitment. Researchers who have successfully defended their doctoral thesis but who have not yet formally been awarded the doctoral degree will not be considered eligible.


Candidates of all nationalities and countries of origin are eligible, unless national, international, or European legislation or embargos prohibit specific (combinations of (sub) disciplines and) countries of origin. The appointed PhD students must comply with the following mobility rule: they must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in The Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before the deadline of the co-funded programme's call. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention113 are not taken into account.

Entry Requirements

Applicants must have completed a university degree that entitles them to embark in a doctoral programme in the Netherlands (Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MSc), or Master of Laws (LLM)). The degree must be dated less than 10 years prior to the call deadline. The eligibility window can be extended by 6 months per child for the mother, (additional) maternity or paternity leave (actual time up to 6 months per child), training for medical specialists (3 years), compulsory and reserve military service (actual time), or for refugees/ researchers at risk (up to 3 years). Documentation providing evidence must be included with the application.


The Candidate must be available to enroll full-time in the PhD program at the Host institution in The Netherlands; eventual suspensions for family or personal reasons shall be discussed with the granting authority.

English Certificate

Doctoral Candidates are required to have high level in the English language (if not native speakers). English level of short-listed applicants can be assessed during the selection interview and a mandatory passed test could become part of the Go-No Go decision after year 1 of the project.

Affinity with Africa

Doctoral Candidates will need to demonstrate a strong connection with the African contintent and / or an understanding of the context of Low and Middle Income settings.


After selection, we expect the PhD students to actively participate in the events organized by the programme, such as training/network events, and outreach activities targeting different audiences. The candidates are aware of and adhere to the principles set out in the Commission Recommendation on the European Charter for Researchers.

Guide of Applicants

Get to work

We strongly recommend to carefully read the Guide for Applicants. The guide contains a complete description of all the application criteria to follow, the selection procedure and information about the recruitment. All the applications which do not comply with the rules listed in the Guide for Applicants will be rejected automatically.

For your convenience we also - automatically - translated the Guide of Applicants into French. Download the Guide to Canditate here.
The English version is leading.

How to apply

Using the application portal will be the only way to apply. Below you can find all participating supervisors so that you can decide which one(s) you would like to apply with.

By creating your profile in the application portal, you agree with the GROW Privacy Statement

GROW Supervisors

Here you can find all our great supervisors committed to GROW. To enlarge the table, click "view larger version" in the bottom right corner.

You can browse through the gallery. Also, you can search, filter or sort to find your ideal supervisor, based on various criteria.

It is also possible to download the static list as a table. The 10 January version can be found here.