Utrecht University starts dual PhD programme for IT people

Municipality of Utrecht gets 'ICT-PhD Candidate'

Jonge IT-onderzoekers overleggen achter hun computer.

The government is struggling with complex ICT issues. Utrecht University is going to offer organisations such as municipal governments the possibility to let young employees get PhDs. This makes the government a more attractive employer and Utrecht University gets to contribute to societal relevant research.

Today, the university and the municipality of Utrecht signed a contract for the first two projects. The participants become full-time employees of the municipality and get to carry out their PhD research under the guidance of the Department of Information and Computing Sciences of the university two days per week. It is about research into ‘Is an early prediction of debt problems possible?’ and ‘Citizenship and Data Retrieval’.

Paul Kouijzer, Kees Geldof, Floris Fonville, Bert van der Zwaan en Johan Jeuring bij de ondertekening van het PhD-contract.
Paul Kouijzer (director governance and concern staff municipality of Utrecht), Alderman Kees Geldof, PhD-candidate Floris Fonville, Rector Magnificus Bert van der Zwaan and Johan Jeuring (Department Head of Information and Computing Sciences).


Alderman Kees Geldof (Public Services and Governance Information) points out the fast growth of Utrecht and what this means for the municipal organisation. “Our city is expected to have no less than 400,000 inhabitants in 2030,” Geldof says. “We have to prepare for that as a municipality, like in the services we provide to inhabitants and entrepreneurs."

He continues: "We already have a lot of ICT knowledge, but we also want to invest in new talents to make our organisation and services future proof. Within our organisation, the collaboration with Utrecht University is meant to result in highly qualified PhD research into an early prediction of debt problems and into how to find information quickly, which enables us to bring in and retain more knowledge and experience.”


Rector Magnificus Bert van der Zwaan is happy with the new PhD programme. "It's a good way to do research that is needed badly in society. Participants can use our research facilities. On top of that, we can promote the projects with science students in the final phases of their studies and provide a network in which the PhD Candidates can exchange experiences."


Aside from the municipality, Utrecht University will sign contracts for dual PhD tracks with more government organisations in the short term. The PhD tracks last six years.