PhD Position in Modelling the Dynamics of Multidimensional Poverty Traps
University of Amsterdam Informatics Institute

PhD candidate on Modelling the dynamics of multidimensional poverty traps

Publication date 12 April 2021

Closing date 14 May 2021

Level of education Master's degree

Hours 38 hours per week

Salary indication €2,395 to €3,061 gross per month

Vacancy number 21-229

The Informatics Institute of the Faculty of Science is looking for a PhD candidate on modelling multidimensional poverty trap dynamics to generate insights for development policies.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals aims to 'end poverty in all its forms everywhere' by 2030 with minimal impact on the environment. However, climate disasters, geopolitical instability, pandemics and economic shocks have increased the risks faced by the poor. Estimates indicate that by 2030 more than 100 million people could fall back into persistent poverty. In search of a strategic response to such risks, development organisations have shown a renewed interest in the concept of "poverty traps". We intend to build computational models of multidimensional poverty trap dynamics based on empirical data to determine the causal mechanisms that characterise persistent poverty and identify appropriate strategies for poverty alleviation.

What are you going to do?

The focus of this PhD position is to uncover the dynamics of individual well-being, specifically the capacity to avoid and escape poverty—over time and against myriad shocks and stressors. The research consists of two parts: First, the focus on poverty traps provokes a forward-looking question – 'who will remain poor in future?'. Further, the policy importance of identifying persistent poverty motivates the development of novel empirical approaches to find indicators of poverty traps – a key focus of the research.

The second part of the research will develop computational models of multidimensional poverty traps focusing on the dynamics of capitals. The model will incorporate interactions between multiple dimensions of poverty to generate insights into the structural causes that create persistent poverty. With a validated model, we will test various developmental strategies and open new pathways for poverty alleviation.

You will be joining the Computational Science Lab and will have the opportunity to interact with the researchers and scholars at the Institute of Advanced Studies.

What do we require?

  • Master’s degree in the field of Economics (preferably Econophysics), Physics, Mathematics, or a related field;
  • strong background in modelling and simulation (e.g. non-linear dynamical systems modelling, agent-based modelling);
  • strong understanding of techniques for time series analysis;
  • English fluency, both written and spoken;
  • experience in programming and software development, in particular Python, R or C+, and possibly scientific computing or data science tools;
  • a passion for fundamental research and theoretical foundations of poverty.

Our offer

We offer a temporary contract for 38 hours per week for the duration of 4 years (the initial contract will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended for a total duration of 4 years). This should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. We also expect you to assist in teaching undergraduates and Master students.

The salary will be €2,395 to €3,061 (scale P) gross per month, based on a fulltime contract (38 hours a week). This is exclusive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Take a look here.


Do you have questions about this vacancy? Or do you want to know more about our organisation? Please contact:

  • Dr Debraj Roy, Assistant Professor
    T: +31 (0)20 525 1539

About the Faculty of Science and the Informatics Institute

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 7,000, as well as 1,600 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

The mission of the Informatics Institute is to perform curiosity-driven and use-inspired fundamental research in Computer Science. The main research themes are Artificial Intelligence, Computational Science and Systems and Network Engineering. Our research involves complex information systems at large, with a focus on collaborative, data driven, computational and intelligent systems, all with a strong interactive component.

Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

The Informatics Institute strives for a better gender balance in its staff. We therefore strongly encourage women to apply for this position.

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application by 14 May 2021. You can apply online by using the link below.

Applications in .pdf should include:

  • a motivation letter and CV, including a list of publications,
  • a letter of motivation (at most 1 page) explaining why you are interested in this position;
  • a list of all university courses taken, including a transcript of grades;
  • the name and contact details (including email address) of three referees who can provide details about your profile (one of whom should be the primary supervisor of your Master thesis).

Please mention the months (not just years) in your CV when referring to your education and work experience. Please do not send letters of reference or proofs of your academic writing at this stage of the procedure.

We will invite potential candidates for interviews starting from 17 May 2021.

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Socioloxy


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