Call For PhD research scholarship on: Self-Organization and Mobilization of Slum Dwellers in India


Date: March 30, 2016 - April 16, 2016


The Right Livelihood College (RLC) is a global transdisciplinary education and research initiative of universities and the "Alternative Nobel Prize", the Right Livelihood Award (RLA). There are currently seven RLC Campuses worldwide, among others at the University of Bonn, Germany, and the Tata Institute of Social
Sciences in Mumbai, India. As part of this network, the RLC Campus Bonn and the German Academic Exchange

Service (DAAD) offer a 3-year PhD scholarship for candidates from India to carry out an empirical PhD research project related to the topic “Self-Organization and Mobilization of Slum Dwellers in India””.

Research context:
Indian megacities are increasingly sites of contestation over land, housing and jobs. Stakeholders include groups of city dwellers of various social, cultural and economic strata, state authorities on different levels as well as private entrepreneurs and investors, each with different interests and unequal access to decision-making power and resources. In many cities, slum dwellers account for more than the half of the population. In public discourses they are typically labelled as poor, illegal and rather passive and temporary occupants. Reality, however, shows that slums and their inhabitants play important and active roles for megacities as economic contributors, societal stabilizers and active change agents, in many contexts. Informal and formal
self-organization and mobilization is crucial in this regard. The PhD research project is expected to analyze self-organization and mobilization of slum dwellers from a social science perspective, based on in-depth empirical field work conducted in one or several case studies in a megacity context in India. Applicants are requested to develop their own PhD research proposal to contextualize and concretize the envisaged research project.

The PhD scholarships:
Qualified applicants should be citizens of India and currently reside there. They should hold an excellent master’s or equivalent degree in urban or development studies, sociology, political sciences or related disciplines, and have outstanding proficiency in empirical qualitative and quantitative field research methods.

Experience in interdisciplinary and international research teams is an asset. Fluency in English is mandatory. The age limit is 32 years.

The scholarship is funded by the DAAD for 3 years starting from August 1, 2016. It covers a Junior Researcher position at ZEF and all respective costs for travel and research. In the first year, the candidate will participate in the international ZEF Doctoral Program in Bonn, followed by one year doing field research in India. In the last year, the candidate will write his/her thesis at ZEF.

Your application should consist of:

  • Motivation letter (1 page)
  • A CV in EUROPASS format – see template under:
  • Two recommendation letters from professors and/or supervisors
  • Certified academic degree documents (PDF)
  • Short PhD research proposal narrowing the research scope with background,
  • conceptual framework, research questions, methodology, and case study
  • approach (max. 5 pages)

All documents are to be submitted in English. Closing date for applications is April 16, 2016. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Please send your applications via e-mail to:

Dr. Till Stellmacher
RLC Campus Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEFa), University of Bonn