Dual Career Training Programme to obtain a PhD in Governance and Policy Analysis (GPAC²)


Combining a PhD degree with a full-time job? The Dual Career Training Programme to obtain a PhD in Governance and Policy Analysis (GPAC²) offers courses, seminars and workshops that support the ambitions and intensify the research and analytical skills of fellows. The training programme invites GPAC² fellows to join the stimulating and challenging research community of UNU-MERIT and its School of Governance.

GPAC² meets the needs and availability of researchers with full- or part-time jobs, allowing them to combine their careers with obtaining a PhD. The programme is designed to provide advanced training in the theory and skills crucial to policy analysis and design. The research fits into one of the School’s research themes. The key lecturers of the programme are leading scholars in the field of policy analysis and the related areas like governance, risk management, sustainable development and social protection.

The Dual Career Training Programme to obtain a PhD in Governance and Policy Analysis (GPAC²) is taught in English and consists of a common first year of training, followed by yearly workshops.

Specialisation in the Economics of Technology, Innovation and Development
With the physical integration of the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance (MGSoG) into the United Nations University research institute UNU-MERIT, the MGSoG has become the UN’s first public policy graduate school. To use the expanded expertise of the institute, we now offer the option to follow the GPAC² programme with a focus on the Economics of Technology, Innovation and Development. The programme is expanded with three basic courses on this specialisation in year one, and we offer the supervisory expertise of the MERIT institute. All other application and programme requirements remain identical to the GPAC² programme.

Employment as a prerequisite for applying for the GPAC² training programme
The GPAC² training programme differs from a regular PhD programme. Although GPAC² fellows participate in the training with the objective of obtaining a PhD, they are not considered regular PhD fellows. Employment is a prerequisite to be eligible for the training programme. GPAC² participants are either self employed or employed by business or the public sector and have, therefore, their own source of income. MGSoG will not employ a GPAC² participant, or pay a salary or scholarship for either participating in the programme or conducting research. GPAC² fellows will be enrolled as training participants, and not as employees of the university.

In order to graduate, GPAC² fellows have to submit a manuscript and fulfill conditions equal to standards that are required for the full time PhD programme participants. This means the fellows have to comply with the Regulation governing the attainment of doctoral degrees. At the beginning of the programme you will receive more information about coursework, research and programme procedures.

GPAC² training programme
After successfully finishing the training programme and submitting a PhD proposal, fellows will have and/or receive:

  • a certificate confirming participation in and completion of the training programme
  • a number of articles submitted, accepted and/or published in refereed scientific journals
  • a PhD thesis in printed book format
  • a PhD degree, upon successful submission and defence of the dissertation


Current GPAC² Fellow: Fernanda Soares

Fernanda Assuncao Soares I initially learned about GPAC² through a former professor from my Master’s. I was seeking a programme aligned with my academic interests that is flexible enough to let me remain involved in my professional endeavours. I decided to apply to the GPAC² programme because it combines flexibility with high standards and rigorous academic research. I enrolled in 2014, with the first workshop taking place in March. As the March workshop is largely focused on research methods, I expected to improve my research skills and develop the analytical way of thinking necessary to develop an academic research proposal. The intense and ongoing debates, discussions and analysis have allowed me to reflect and improve my own research proposal. The workshop exposed me to new ideas, approaches and methodologies and helped me to better structure my research.
Fernanda Soares