PhD position on Formal and Informal Social Protection across Borders

PhD Candidate, “Formal and informal social protection across borders”, Department of Technology and Society Studies, affiliated to the Graduate School Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Specifications – (explanation)

Location Maastricht University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Grote Gracht 90-92, 6211 SZ Maastricht
Function types PhD positions
Scientific fields Behaviour and Society
Hours 38.0 hours per week
Salary € 2125 – € 2717
Education University Graduate
Job number AT2015.127
About employer Maastricht University (UM)
Short link

Deadline for applications: 15 September 2015

Job description

Maastricht University has recently founded a new Institute for Transnational and Euregional Cross Border Cooperation and Mobility (ITEM). ITEM is an initiative developed by the interfaculty Maastricht Centre for Citizenship, Migration and Development (MACIMIDE), in cooperation with the province of Limburg and the municipality of Maastricht as part of the “Limburg Knowledge/Axis” cooperation. Within the scope of MACIMIDE researchers of various UM faculties collaborate closely in the research fields of migration and development issues, citizenship, nationality and integration, international family relationships, European and international immigration law and right of asylum, work mobility, social security, tax law and pensions. The goal of ITEM is to increase cross-border mobility and to analyse the functioning of a regional labour market in the Maas-Rhine Euregion. ITEM aims to achieve these goals by means of research, consultancy, education, training and expert meetings.

This PhD project investigates how different groups of migrants who come to Limburg organize their and their family’s social protection. It focuses on people who work in Limburg but have their families in another country bordering Limburg, and vice-versa. It asks how such families organize their family lives, and especially the care functions, across borders; from taking care of their elderly parents and children who do not live in Limburg, to ensuring their own health and pension, to accessing quality education for their children. Little is known about what hurdles these workers or inhabitants encounter in organizing their own and their family’s social protection or the channels, both formal and informal, that they use to find solutions. The project asks: a) what are challenges that mobile workers experience in ensuring their social protection across borders; b) what formal and informal solutions do they find to these challenges. The study includes both high and low-skilled workers as well as workers from within and outside of the European Union, including African migrants.


  • An anthropologist, sociologist, geographer or other social scientist with an MSc degree and proven knowledge of developing countries where migrants originate.
  • The successful candidate will have a strong background in qualitative methods but also some exposure to quantitative methods.

Conditions of employment

  • We offer a dynamic and challenging job in an internationally-oriented organisation where young people receive an advanced education and scholars conduct exciting research.
  • We offer a 4 year full-time appointment as PhD student.
  • The first year will be a probation period, after a positive assessment the position will be extended with another 3 years.
  • Your workload will be the normal workload for the position of PhD students. Currently this implies 80% research activities en 20% teaching activities.
  • You will be employed by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Compensation will be according to standard salary levels for PhD students starting with a salary of € 2.125,- with a yearly growth to € 2.717,- gross a month (based on a full-time appointment.)
  • Each year the standard salary is supplemented with a holiday allowance of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%.
  • You have to be willing to move to (the vicinity of) Maastricht. If you do not already live in Maastricht (or its direct surroundings) you will be eligible for an allowance for moving costs. If you do not already live in Maastricht (or its direct surroundings) you might be eligible for an allowance for alternative housing.
  • Other secondary conditions include e.g. a pension scheme and partially paid parental leave.
  • You will be provided with shared office space and a PC.  
  • Contract type: Temporary, 4 years


Maastricht University is renowned for its unique, innovative, problem-based learning system, which is characterized by a small-scale and student-oriented approach. Research at UM is characterized by a multidisciplinary and thematic approach, and is concentrated in research institutes and schools. Maastricht University has around 16,000 students and 4,000 employees. Reflecting the university’s strong international profile, a fair amount of both students and staff are from abroad. The university hosts 6 faculties: Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Faculty of Law, School of Business and Economics, Faculty of Humanities and Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience.

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASoS) has a staff of about 250, and over 1,800 students. All programmes are offered in English. Students come from all over the world. FASoS offers two 3-year Bachelor programmes: Arts and Culture, and European Studies, eight different 1-year Master programmes and two 2-year research Master programmes. Its Graduate School takes in around 10 PhD students each year. Research is organised around four programmes: Politics and Culture in Europe; Maastricht University Science, Technology and Society Studies; Arts, Media and Culture; and Globalisation, Transnationalism and Development. The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is housed in several recently renovated 18th-century buildings in the historic city centre of Maastricht.

Graduate School
Our Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences offers the opportunity to pursue a PhD in the interdisciplinary field of arts and social sciences. You receive a coherent program of introductory courses, intensive supervision and frequent discussion with the senior researchers inside and outside the Faculty. The Programme can be characterized by its international and interdisciplinary nature and the emphasis on cultural and societal issues of the modern world.

The School focuses on four themes:
1. Politics and Culture in Europe.
2. Science, Technology and Society Studies.
3. Globalisation, Transnationalism and Development.
4. Arts, Media and Culture.

Further information on the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and its Graduate School may be accessed on:

Additional information

Starting date: preferably 1 December 2015 (or as soon as possible thereafter).

For more information and application:

Any inquiries about the position or the project may be addressed to: Prof. Valentina Mazzucato:

For more information about the Institute for Transnational and Euregional Cross Border Cooperation and Mobility, see: more information about the Maastricht Center for Citizenship, Migration and Development, see: https://macimide.maastrichtuniversity.nlMaastricht University’s Terms of Employment are laid down in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Furthermore, local university provisions apply as well. For more information please see the website: / Employees / A-Z.