PhD Programme on Innovation, Economics and Governance for Development (IEGD)


Our PhD programme is a multidisciplinary course offered by UNU-MERIT and its School of Governance. The programme focuses on research skills and methods, training fellows to become both scholars and practitioners in the fields of governance and the economics of technology.

During their first year, fellows complete a basic, compulsory training programme conducted by leading scholars of the host and partner universities. These courses are taught in Maastricht and spread across two semesters. Taught entirely in English, this is an annual Maastricht-based programme which starts on 1 September. At the end of the programme, the doctoral degree is awarded by Maastricht University upon successful defence of the thesis. Dissertation topics fit into any of the institute’s seven research themes:

1. The Economics of Knowledge and Innovation
2. Poverty, Public Policy and Inclusive Innovation
3. Economic Development, Innovation, Governance and Institutions
4. Sustainable Development, Innovation and Societal Transitions
5. Innovation Systems Indicators and Policy
6. Migration and Development
7. ICT-enabled Innovation and Societal Transformations

The Host Institute
Together UNU-MERIT and its School of Governance form a research and training institute of United Nations University (UNU). The institute is also part of Maastricht University, based in the south of the Netherlands. The institute’s research mission is to provide new insights into the economic, social and political aspects of growth and development in local and international contexts. Its research and training programmes address a broad range of questions including the economics of technology and innovation, multi-level governance, intellectual property protection, social protection policy, knowledge creation and diffusion, and migration.

Researchers at UNU-MERIT are internationally recognised for their contributions to the understanding of the economic, political, social and philosophical foundations of the processes of technical change. The School of Governance has a history of project implementation for various international institutions including the World Bank, UNICEF, UNDP, ILO and national governments, focusing on social policy and migration developments. The institute also participates in research projects for international organisations, governments, businesses and foundations throughout the world. Beyond working with and for other UN bodies, the institute has a long history of conducting applied research for organisations such as the European Commission, the International Development Research Centre, and numerous national governments.