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PhD scholarship in Economics at the Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen (UCPH) and VIVE-The Danish Center for Social Science Research

Applications are invited for a PhD scholarship in conjunction with the research project “Family Background, Early Investment Policies and Parental Investments”, which is a cooperation between the Department of Economics, UCPH and VIVE-The Danish Center for Social Science Research ( Enrolment will be at the Faculty of Social Sciences under Copenhagen Graduate School of Social Sciences. The PhD student will be formally employed at both UCPH and VIVE.

The preferred position starting date is on 1 September 2021.

The PhD program provides PhD students with strong research training, which opens up a window of opportunity to a variety of careers within the private and public sectors. The program includes the drafting of a PhD thesis, active participation in research networks, PhD courses, teaching, and other forms of knowledge dissemination. The PhD program can be undertaken as a three year full-time study within the framework of the 5+3 study program, or as a four year full-time study program within the framework of the 4+4 study program. The PhD student in the current project will have a solid connection to two research environments and benefit from a connection to both UCPH and the governmental research center VIVE.

The Research Project
Family Background, Early Investment Policies and Parental Investments” is a research project funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark and headed by senior researcher Hans Henrik Sievertsen (VIVE/University of Bristol). Associate Professor Miriam Wüst (UCPH/VIVE) collaborates on the project. The goal of the project is to better understand the role of family background, public policies and parental investments - as well as the interplay of those factors - in the production of child human capital and health.

Existing research points to the (separate) importance of early-life investment policies, family background, and parental beliefs and behaviours as key in the development of child health and human capital. However, we still have limited evidence on the interaction of those factors due to a lack of large-scale individual level data combining information on program participation, family background, parental behaviours, and children's development during childhood. This project attempts to fill that gap by combining Danish administrative register data with (i) unique municipal records on nurse home visiting and (ii) a cohort study surveying both parents of three recent cohorts of Danish children (SPOR). For identification, we exploit different sources of natural (policy) variation (e.g. in screening for postpartum mental health issues and in the peer-group assignment of new mothers) and we develop an encompassing model of human capital formation based on our rich data.

To get an impression of the starting point for the project see the following initial paper on the timing of early interventions and child and maternal well-being: Hirani, Jonas Lau-Jensen & Sievertsen, Hans Henrik & Wüst, Miriam, 2020. "Missing a Nurse Visit," IZA Discussion Papers 13485, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA). (

Duties and Responsibilities
The PhD student will be involved in conducting research in economics in conjunction with the overall project and the affiliated research team. Both UCPH and VIVE will provide supervision and support for the student.

Further information about the PhD study program is available on the website of Copenhagen Graduate School of Social Sciences:

Under "Legal basis" on the website you will find information about the rules and guidelines for the PhD program and the Danish Ministerial Order on the PhD program at the Universities.

Information about the PhD study program is also available on the PhD website of the Department of Economics.

Candidates possessing the following qualifications are strongly preferred:

  • Experience working with (large) data sets, for example, from past work as a research assistant or from independent research.
  • A track record of strong academic performance.
  • Experience from past coursework in economics and econometric methods.

  • VIVE and The University of Copenhagen wish to reflect the surrounding society, and invites all qualified applicants, regardless of personal background, to apply for the positions.
  • In order to be awarded a PhD scholarship the applicant has to enroll as a PhD student at the Faculty of Social Sciences, cf. the rules of the Danish Ministerial order No 1039 of 27 August 2013.
Scholarship in the 5+3 or in the 4+4 PhD study program

The 5+3 PhD study program

In order to be eligible for a scholarship in the 5+3 PhD study program the applicant must have completed a two year MSc degree program, or have earned 120 ECTS credits at an equivalent academic level before starting his or her employment. Applicants should check the study programs for more detailed descriptions of the entry requirements. PhD students are paid a salary in accordance with the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC). The PhD student has a work obligation of up to 840 hours over the 3 year period of time without additional pay. The work obligation will be shared between tasks at VIVE and UCPH and tasks can include for instance teaching.

The 4+4 PhD study program

Students who have completed a BSc plus 60 ECTS of an MSc degree program would enrol as PhD students simultaneously with their enrolment in the MSc degree program. Applicants should check the study programs for more detailed descriptions of the entry requirements. Until an MSc degree is obtained, the grant is paid partly in the form of up to 48 state education grant portions (in Danish: SU-klip). More specifically the PhD student will be paid two grant portions per month plus salary for work (teaching, presentations etc.) which totals a workload of at least 280 hours. Payment and conditions of employment are carried out in accordance with the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC). Upon completion of the MSc degree the student is transferred to the salary-earning part of the PhD studies.

How to apply
Submit a complete application at our online portal. Click on the “Apply now” icon at the bottom of the page to apply. The documents must be in Adobe PDF or Word.

  • Cover Letter. The letter must detail your motivation and background for applying for the project. The letter may include an outline of ideas for independent projects under the frame of the overall project. The letter should not be longer than 3 pages
  • CV
  • Diploma and/or transcripts of records (BSc and MSc)
Please note that it is only possible to upload one document per attachment category. If more than one document has to be uploaded in the same category, please make sure that they are scanned and collected into one file.

Application process
On the website of Copenhagen Graduate School of Social Sciences you will find information about the application process, and enclosures to include with your electronic application:

The recruitment process
Selected applicants are notified of the composition of the assessment committee, and each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that relates to the applicant him/herself. You can read about the recruitment process here.

Information about the recruitment process is available from Pernille Lykke Paulsen, HR, e-mail:, please refer to ID number: 211-0686/21-2H #1

An Equal Opportunity Workplace
The University of Copenhagen is committed in its pursuit of academic excellence to equality of opportunity and to creating an inclusive working environment and therefore encourages all qualified candidates to apply, regardless of personal background, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, ethnicity etc. For more on the diverse working place environment at the University and the University’s participation in the HRS4R HR Excellence in Research, see

International applicant?
The University of Copenhagen offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including support before and during your relocation and career counselling to expat partners. Please find more information about these services as well as information on entering and working in Denmark here:

The closing date for applications is 3 May 2021 at 23:59 CET

Applications received after the deadline will not be taken into account.

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