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.

The programme provides advanced training in the knowledge ans skills most relevant to the economics of technology and innovation, and to governance, social protection and migration. Built around a core of courses on the economics of innovation the programme also features specialisations in innovation and development, social protection and migration.

During their first year, fellows complete an intensive programme of required and elective courses,taught by leading scholars of the UNU-MERIT and our partner universities. These courses are taught in English, in Maastricht, and spread across two semesters, starting in September each year. The course work is followed by three years of dissertation research and writing, ending with a completed PhD thesis. At the end of the programme, the doctoral degree is awarded by Maastricht University upon successful defence of the thesis. Our students pursue a wide variety of dissertation topics, fitting into any of the institute’s eight research themes:

1. Economics of Knowledge and Innovation
2. Structural Change and Economic Development
3. Economic Complexity and Innovation
4. Governance and institutions
5. Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Sustainability Transitions
6. Migration and Development
7. Social Protection
8. Population, Development and Labour Economics

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.