Aalborg University Two PhD Scholarships on the Role of Universities in Innovation and Regional Development, Denmark


December 06, 2016


Opportunity Cover Image - Aalborg University Two PhD Scholarships on the Role of Universities in Innovation and Regional Development, Denmark


At the Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Business and Management, two positions as PhD students within economics of innovation and regional development are open for appointment on 1 January 2017 or as soon as possible thereafter.


The PhD positions are a part of RUNIN, a Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Training Network for Early-Stage Researchers in the field of science and innovation studies. The network is funded by the European Commission Horizon 2020 - Research and Innovation Framework Programme. The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions ensure excellent and innovative research training as well as attractive career and knowledge-exchange opportunities through cross-border and cross-sector mobility of researchers, to better prepare them for current and future societal challenges. The Innovative Training Networks scheme aims to train a new generation of creative, entrepreneurial and innovative early-stage researchers.

As the programme aims to promote cross-border mobility, it is a requirement that the candidates have not resided or carried out their main activity in Denmark for more than 12 months of the 3 years before the recruitment date.

The RUNIN network consists of partners from seven European countries and a total of 14 PhD students will be part of the network. The aim of RUNIN is to train researchers on how universities contribute to innovation and economic growth in their regions through research seeking to examine how universities fulfill their third mission in relation to regional industry and explore the range of university engagement with regional firms and institutions. The network program is organised around four main themes: People and Networks, Policies and Interventions, Places and Territories, and Practices and Governance.

The positions are related to the IKE research group at the Department of Business and Management, Aalborg University, Denmark. The focus of the research group is on innovation, knowledge and economic dynamics at different levels of aggregation: the firm level, the industry level, the macro level, and different geographic levels of aggregation. The PhD students are expected to contribute actively to the research and teaching activities of the IKE research group.

For both positions, priority will be given to candidates who have a strong background in innovation studies.

Scholarship 1: The first PhD position is on the topic The role of informal versus formal networks for prosperous university-industry interaction. The PhD project should mainly analyse networks from the point of view of firms and their employees. The project should distinguish between formal and informal networks in an analysis of interactions between universities and firms. Relevant issues include: i) the importance of cognitive and social proximity for informal and socially embedded networks between individuals; ii) whether there are differences in likely innovation outcomes from formal and informal networks; iii) the extent to which formal or informal network relations with universities are more prosperous for firms in the long run. The analysis should draw on a combination of register data, survey data and comparative case studies from Aalborg, Lincoln (UK) and Linköping (Sweden). The work place is Aalborg, but the PhD student is required to spend two periods of secondment at the University of Lincoln. Furthermore, the PhD student must collaborate with the Think Tank DEA in Copenhagen throughout the project (10% of the working time).

Scholarship 2: The second PhD position is on the topic Industry-University collaboration in different types of regions. The PhD project should mainly analyse the extent to which different types of proximity between firms and universities play different roles for collaboration in different types of regions. Relevant issues include: i) whether geographical and social proximity play more prominent roles for collaboration in peripheral regions with a limited presence of large and technology-intensive firms compared to metropolitan regions; ii) the extent to which differences in regional characteristics are reflected in the types of firms that collaborate with universities as well as in the technological complexity and novelty of the objects of collaboration. Differences shall be studied across countries, with a particular emphasis on understanding what drives industry-university collaboration in different types of regions as a basis for generating policy recommendations for broadening universities’ collaboration with industry. The empirical focus shall be on the regions around Aalborg, Aveiro (Portugal) and Stavanger (Norway) compared to metropolitan regions. The analysis should draw on survey data combined with register data and comparative case studies. The work place is Aalborg, but the PhD student is required to spend two periods of secondment at University of Aveiro. Furthermore, the PhD student is expected to collaborate with the North Denmark Region on case work.

Qualification requirements

The PhD scholarships have a duration of three years. Applicants to the PhD scholarships must hold a degree equivalent to a Danish Master’s degree. Applicants enrolled at a Danish Master programme who expect to graduate before the date of appointment must forward a copy of their thesis contract and documentation for the date of their final exam.

A condition for eligibility to the PhD scholarship is that the candidates have not resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Denmark for more than 12 months of the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. Furthermore, candidates must be in the first four years of their research careers and cannot hold a doctoral degree.

The completion of the scholarships will be in accordance with the Ministerial Order on the PhD Programme at the Universities No 1039 of 27 August 2013 (only available in Danish), and it is a prerequisite for allocation of a scholarship that enrolment as a PhD student at the Doctoral School of Social Sciences takes place. According to the Ministerial Order, the progress of the PhD student shall be assessed regularly. It is a prerequisite for continuation of salary payment that the previous progress is approved at the time of evaluation.

The PhD scholarships will be allocated to individuals who hold a relevant Master degree in Social Sciences.

Applicants are expected to have strong analytical abilities and exhibit high degrees of independence and maturity in their research work. Furthermore, a good proficiency in English is required in order to participate in the RUNIN project and to publish and present research results at international academic journals and conferences and to prepare the PhD thesis in English.

Application requirements

Applications for enrolment and allocation of scholarship must include the following:

  • Letter of motivation.
  • Project proposal (approx. 5 pages) containing the research project title, an outline of the course of study and a description of the overall problem areas.
  • Curriculum vitae.
  • Diplomas confirming academic degrees (Master degree), including academic transcripts.
  • A copy of the applicant's Master's degree thesis and published articles (if any).
  • Foreign applicants must forward verified IELTS test (International English Language Testing System). Exempted are applicants with at Master Degree from Denmark, United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and Canada
  • Co-author statement. If publications that have been written in cooperation with others are submitted, a declaration from each of the authors must be enclosed. The declaration must state the extent of the applicant’s contribution to the total work and be signed by the authors.
  • Application for credit transfer if relevant.

The complete application including attachments shall be sent electronically by selecting the "apply online" function.


The assessment of the applicants will be undertaken by an expert assessment committee.


You may obtain further information on the content, please contact Associate Professor Christian Richter Østergaard (PhD scholarship 1), cro@business.aau.dk, or Associate Professor Ina Drejer (PhD scholarship 2), id@business.aau.dk.   If you have questions regarding the practical issues concerning the application procedure, please contact Lone Corfixen, lc@adm.aau.dk. 

To APPLY click "Further official information" below.

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Publish Date
November 07, 2016