Our ‘Dual Focus PhD’ series tracks the working lives of our part-time PhD fellows. Many work at the highest of levels, both nationally and internationally, including for other parts of the UN System. They come to Maastricht for our unique PhD Dual Career Training Programme in Governance and Policy Analysis (GPAC²).
Daisy Demirag works for the World Bank in Ethiopia, where she leads the monitoring and evaluation technical team for the country’s ‘Productive Safety Net Programme’. This programme aims to help rural poor, who are facing chronic food insecurity, to move out of poverty. She is part of the GPAC2 cohort that started in 2018.
Why did you sign up for the GPAC2 programme?
I have always been interested in pursuing a PhD. After working for a number of years and having a family, I felt that I needed a programme that would allow me to pursue my PhD and my career, while not having to interrupt either in any way. GPAC2 was the programme that appeared to fit the most.
Have the education and research methods benefitted your work, and if so, how?
Yes, absolutely. Since my focus is social protection, gaining a better theoretical foundation of the origins of social protection and its linkages to economic growth has been beneficial. I also benefited from the quantitative and econometric aspects of the programme, with an intensive course teaching skills that I am able to apply in my day-to-day work. The teaching in the programme is very good.
What is your research proposal about?
I am looking at the role of safety nets on migration and households, and how that affects the intra-household dynamics.
What do you enjoy most about the GPAC2 programme?
The social interaction with the other participants is really nice. It is exciting to meet people from different backgrounds who are on the same journey.
Do you have any tips for people who would also like to pursue a career next to their job?
Pursuing a PhD really is like a second career. Trying to find the time and space within your regular life is a challenge. I would advise to get everybody on board early in the process to have their support. It is also important to have the self-discipline to work on the PhD instead of letting other things interfere, which happens quite easily when you are away from the campus. I also tried to integrate my research topic into my work, which is probably the biggest advantage. It allows you to be pragmatic about what you do. If your research topic is related to your work, it is much more interesting to pursue it. And I think it also makes it interesting for my team.
The opinions expressed here are the subject’s own; they do not necessarily reflect the views of UNU.
Video produced by S.Ritterfield