Conducting research at UNESCO-IHE is a unique experience. You work together with other researchers – including over 150 PhD fellows and 200 MSc students from different countries – all dealing with topics related to water and the environment. This results in a vibrant, multicultural and multidisciplinary research atmosphere.
You participate in problem oriented research with relevance for development, by joining an existing research programme or by defining your own research topic within UNESCO-IHE’s strategic themes. As a PhD fellow at the Institute, you benefit from the possibility of linking MSc research to your own.
Through your research, you address the global water agenda, and solve problems relevant to the water and environment sectors world-wide, as a contribution to the Millennium Development Goals and other mandates from the international community. You will often do so in collaboration with the Institute’s vast network of research institutions throughout the world.
PhD research at UNESCO-IHE
UNESCO-IHE's PhD programme leads to a deepening of a field of specialisation. PhD fellows do scientific research, often with conclusions that directly influence their region. At UNESCO-IHE, more than 150 PhD researchers from around the world are brought together to participate in problem-focused and solution-oriented research on development issues, resulting in an inspiring research environment. PhD fellows work together with other researchers from many countries - including 200 new MSc students annually – dealing with topics related to water and the environment.
PhD research is often carried out in the ‘sandwich’ model. Preparation and final reporting – the first and last portion of the programme – are carried out in Delft, while actual research is done in the fellow’s home country, under co-supervision of a local institute. Regular contacts with the promotor are maintained through visits and long-distance communication. This enables researchers to employ solutions directly to problems in their geographical region.
UNESCO-IHE’s PhD degrees are awarded jointly with a university. The degrees are highly valued and fully recognised in all parts of the world. The nominal time span of a PhD programme is four years.
A list of PhD fellows is available here.
UNESCO-IHE is a member of the Research School for Socio-Economic and Natural Sciences of the Environment (SENSE). This Dutch research school focuses on both the natural sciences and socio-economic fields of environmental research. SENSE is accredited by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences (KNAW), and brings together excellent academic research groups from nine universities and research centres.
Admission requirements of the UNESCO-IHE PhD programme
Candidates for the PhD programme at UNESCO-IHE should have UNESCO-IHE's MSc degree with high qualification. An MSc degree from another university or institute - equal to UNESCO-IHE's standards - may also be acceptable.
If a candidate is not yet in the possession of an MSc degree, but has an interesting research proposal and proven track record, he or she may be admitted to UNESCO-IHE's MSc programme first, as part of and in preparation for the PhD research.
PhD candidates will only be accepted after their research proposal has been approved by UNESCO-IHE’s Academic Board. UNESCO-IHE's PhD degrees are awarded jointly with a relevant University, ensuring that it is embedded in the prevailing higher education legislation.
Click here for the English language requirements for all UNESCO-IHE programmes.
UNESCO-IHE PhD Dissertations
Full text versions of most of the UNESCO-IHE PhD Dissertations are available through NARCIS. NARCIS provides access to over 160,000 full-text publications and research output from all Dutch universities, KNAW, NWO and a number of scientific institutes.