PhD Scholarship at the Department of Business and Economics

Syddansk Universitet (SDU)

Ph.d. & forskning

Topic: Inside the black box of welfare state expansion: Early-life health policies, parental investments and socio-economic and health trajectories

Applications are invited for a PhD scholarship at the Department of Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, to be filled by August 15th, 2019. The PhD candidate will be part of the Econometrics and Historical Economics research group at SDU. The group focuses on teaching and research in applied and theoretical microeconometrics, economic history, macroeconomics, international and regional economics. The group is engaged in cooperation with several academic and external partners. The research group has attracted a high number of visiting professors and a number of grants from the Danish Research Council and other external funding sources in recent years. More information about the research group can be found here.

The PhD position is funded by the Danish Research Foundation and the successful candidate will be part of the project “Inside the black box of welfare state expansion: Early-life health policies, parental investments and socio-economic and health trajectories”. The PhD candidate can expect to be part of an ambitious, interdisciplinary research group. Due to the inclusion in the research project, the PhD position will also have close ties to the Department of Economics, Copenhagen University and Centre for Clinical Research and Prevention, Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital. Job description

The PhD candidate will be part of a research team studying the long-run socio-economic and health effects of universal early-life investment policies, in particular, infant nurse home visiting. This topic has high policy relevance: We know from Scandinavian studies that the introduction of core universal welfare services in the 1930s (specifically, nurse home visits and preschools), had important long-run benefits on adult outcomes. However, while these programs still today are an integral part of Danish public policies to support the health and development of small children, we lack well-identified evidence on

  • longer-run program effects at the intensive margin (e.g. what is the impact of different intensities of early-life investment programs?),
  • the importance of parental responses to policy exposure for the longer-run outcomes of children,
  • and the role of provider characteristics (nurse characteristics) for the longer-run outcomes of children.
  • An excellent Master degree in economics, or other relevant disciplines.
  • Profound knowledge of econometrics, causal analysis and machine learning.
  • Good knowledge of Python and R.
  • Excellent communication skills in English (enclosing results of TOEFL and GRE tests is encouraged but not mandatory)

Our project aims at shedding light on these questions and thereby going beyond the state-of-the-art in research in both economics and epidemiology. The project consists of different phases, all of which will include the PhD student. First, the project will generate unique data on nurse home visiting in Denmark and link those to administrative register data. The PhD student will play a central role in this part of the project: In particular, by using machine leaning and computer vision techniques for AI assisted transcription of the nurse home visit records, the PhD candidate will work on creating new linked individual-level historical and administrative register data for all individuals of the 1959-1967 cohorts in Copenhagen.

Second, we will study the above questions in a team at the intersection of economics and epidemiology. The PhD will participate actively in analyzing data and in the evaluation of the causal effects of infant nurse home visiting. The successful applicant has

Professor Christian M. Dahl ( will be the PhD main supervisor and Associate Professor Miriam Wüst ( will act as co-supervisor. For more information about the position please contact both via email. Information about the PhD program is available from Further information can be obtained from the department’s PhD coordinator Professor Paul Sharp (

Application, salary, etc. Your employment as a Salaried PhD Research Fellow is governed by the agreement of 10 November 2015 on Graduate Employees in government appendix 5 – protocol on PhD Research Fellows. The scholarship runs for three years.

An application must include:

  • Detailed CV
  • A certified copy of your master’s degree certificate including all examination results
  • Application form (please see below)
  • A motivational letter describing why the applicant is a good match for analyzing the topic (and how the applicant’s skills provide a solid foundation to do so (max. 5 pages incl. reference list)).
  • A project description (max 5 pages of 2400 characters each, including spaces, notes, appendices, bibliography etc.)
  • An abstract for the above project description of no more than 250 words

The scholarship runs for 3 year (5+3) or 4 years (4+4) and starts on August 15, 2019. The candidate will be expected to complete a six-month stay at a research institution abroad.

When applying for a PhD scholarship, please fill in the application form available on our web page. On the webpage of the PhD-school, you can find the guidelines for preparing your project proposal within the PhD programme in Economics.All non-Danish documents must be translated into English. Applications will be assessed by a committee. When the evaluation committee has submitted its report, the applicant will receive the part of the evaluation that concerns him/her. Applications that are incomplete with regard to the above requirements will not be assessed by the committee.

Shortlisting and tests may be used in the assessment process.

The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background. As part of the overall assessment of the applicant’s qualifications, an interview may be applied.

Applications must be submitted electronically using the link "Apply online" no later than 15/04/2019. Uploaded files must be in Adobe PDF (unlocked) or Word format. Read the guideline for applicants

Each field can only contain a single file of max. 10 Mb.

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Ansøgningsfrist 2019-apr-15
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Syddansk Universitet (SDU)
Syddansk Universitet (SDU)
SDU åbnede dørene for de første studerende i Odense i september 1966, og siden da er det gået stærkt. Vi har nu fem fakulteter med omkring 30.000 studerende, heraf mere end 15 % fra udlandet, og knap 4.000 ansatte fordelt på hovedcampus i Odense samt regionale campusser i Slagelse, Kolding, Esbjerg og Sønderborg og København.

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