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Five Dutch universities, among which the University of Amsterdam, will appoint fifty-one PhD students to carry out solution-oriented research for and with the African continent. They will focus on urgent challenges such as climate change, the energy transition, affordable global healthcare, access to clean water and sustainable urban development. The GROW research programme (Graduate Research on Worldwide Challenges) will start in summer 2024 and half of the funding (6.9 million) will be provided by the European Commission. The Centres for Sustainable Development Studies and Governance and Inclusive Development are coordinating the UVA input.

The aim of GROW is for young research talent to bridge the gap between Africa and the Netherlands. The five universities involved are Amsterdam University, Leiden University, the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Erasmus University Rotterdam and TU Delft (also the coordinator of this project). Five PhD students will be stationed at UvA, at different faculties.

Co-creation with African partners

For the GROW programme, the five Dutch universities have joined forces with 22 academic partners from Africa and 17 social partners with a wealth of Africa-related experience. Together, they will look for PhD students from all over the world to carry out scientifically challenging research in the Netherlands into the underlying associated challenges associated with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The research will also include developing and testing possible solutions.

The collaboration between all the partners shall further strengthen the link between the Netherlands and the African continent and bring knowledge and experience of the continent to Dutch science  ‘We hope to encourage more research on climate change and related issues for the African continent and by African scholars or scholars specializing on Africa to bridge the existing science and policy gap, ‘says Joyeeta Gupta, professor of Environment and Development in the Global South at the UvA, and member of the GROW Steering Committee.

Inspiration for the GROW programme is based on previous successful research and innovations by African PhD students working on SDG-related research.

Search for PhD students

The Dutch and African partners are currently preparing to start recruiting candidates together. Applications can be submitted online from 1 December and from summer 2024, the PhD students will get started on their pioneering and impactful research, as part of the network of scientists and social parties.

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