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New research programme for urgent challenges in African countries

6 November 2023
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is part of the new research program GROW (Graduate Research on Worldwide Challenges), led by TU Delft. In this program, five Dutch universities appoint 51 PhD students to carry out solution-oriented research for and with the African continent.

They will focus on urgent challenges such as climate change, the energy transition, affordable global healthcare, access to clean water and sustainable urban development. The GROW research programme (Graduate Research on Worldwide Challenges) will start in summer 2024 and half of the funding (6.9 million) will be provided by the European Union. The aim is for young research talent to bridge the gap between African countries and the Netherlands. The five universities involved are Leiden University, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam University, Erasmus University Rotterdam and TU Delft.
Co-creation with African partners
For the GROW programme, the five Dutch universities have joined forces with 22 academic partners from various African countries and 17 social partners with a wealth of experience in African countries. Together, they will look for PhD students from all over the world to carry out scientifically challenging research in the Netherlands into the underlying associated challenges associated with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The research will also include developing and testing possible solutions. The collaboration between all the partners shall further strengthen the link between the Netherlands and the African continent. “The GROW programme is an important step for the university in order to make a global impact with pioneering science,” says Tim van der Hagen, Rector Magnificus of TU Delft

Searching for PhD students
The Dutch and African partners are currently preparing to start recruiting candidates together. Applications can be submitted online from 1 December and from summer 2024, the PhD students will get started on their pioneering and impactful research, as part of the network of scientists and social parties.