Date and time: 
Tue, 2017-03-07 15:44
Location / Venue: 

Institute for Development Studies




Institute for Development Studies (IDS)




PHD Programme in Social Protection and the Informal Economy





University of Nairobi, Institute for Development Studies (IDS),

Function types

PhD programme in  IDS

Scientific fields

Social Science (Social Protection and the informal economy)


40 hours per week


Monthly University of Nairobi PhD Stipend


Master of Arts Degree in Social Science Disciplines (Development Studies, Sociology, Political Science, Social Work, Economics and other relevant discipline )

Deadline for application

24th  March, 2017



Programme description


The University of Nairobi, Institute for Development Studies (IDS) jointly with Roskilde University, Denmark, Department of Social Sciences and Business (RUC/SB) and Mzumbe University in Tanzania with support from the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Danida)are implementing a four-year (2017-2020) research project on ‘Informal Worker Organisations and Social Protection’.The aim of this research project is to investigate the emerging collective forms of informal workers organizations and their potential for enabling informal workers access to Social Protection measures, labour agency and welfare outcomes in Kenya and Tanzania, focusing on the construction, petty trade and transport sectors. It is envisaged that the PhD candidate in Kenya will focus on one of the three sectors (TBD).


The research will use the political economy approach among other theoretical foundations and will address two broad questions:

  1. How are informal workers organising and to what extent do such organisations contribute to labour agency, social protection, and welfare outcomes?
  2. What role (if any) do formal institutions and institutional structures play in strengthening or undermining worker organising? And what role (if any) do sector specific aspects play?

About IDS

The Institute for Development Studies (IDS), University of Nairobi (UoN) was established in 1965 as part of the then University of East Africa. It is the oldest institute out of 20 such institutes worldwide. It is one of the best-established research institutes in Africa. Since its inception, IDS has carried out research on issues of development concern to Kenya and Africa, collaborating with partners globally to produce knowledge and to influence policy and practice. IDS encourages intellectual exchange through collaborative research, consultancy and hosting of research associates. Several objectives have guided the conduct of research at IDS: policy relevance, need to generate interdisciplinary knowledge, desire to establish collaborative networks, demand for academic publications and the need to produce teaching materials.


In addition to initiating its own academic and policy-oriented research, IDS provides research services to government, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector. Its research, teaching and training priorities are framed into four broad themes: (i) Globalisation, localization and development; (ii) Population, health, environment and sustainable livelihoods (iii) Institutions, governance and development; and (iv) Social inclusion and identity. In terms of structure, IDS is a multipurpose and multi-disciplinary institute within the University of Nairobi’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS). For more information on IDS visit:


The PhD Programme

The research project on ‘Informal Worker Organisations and Social Protection’s seeks to enhance research capacity through PhD training. The successful candidate will attend international training programmes aimed at building/enhancing his/her research capacity. The student will participate in exchange programmes between Kenya and Denmark. This will include two three-month visits to Roskilde University aimed at gaining exposure and opportunity to get an international perspective on the programme, including access to research resources in Denmark.



  • A Social Scientist with a graduate degree in Development Studies, Sociology, Social Work, Economics, Political Science or other relevant Social Science disciplines and proven knowledge of and interest in Social Protection and or Informal Economy issues.
  • The successful candidate will have a strong background in qualitative and quantitative methods.


Conditions of Recruitment

  1. This is a 3 year full-time PhD programme (contract renewed annually based on progress).
  2. The candidate should be a Kenyan citizen.
  3. The incumbent will be a registered PhD student at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) of the University of Nairobi (UoN).
  4. The student will receive a monthly UoN standard PhD stipend and financial support for fieldwork.
  5. The student workload will be 100% research/training activities.
  6. The student will prepare a PhD study plan which will be approved by the main supervisor in IDS and the project coordinator at RUC/SB. He/she will also be required to provide quarterly progress reports, field-reports and also prepare manuscripts, papers, chapters and articles for publication.
  7. The successful candidate will be provided a shared working space and a PC.  


Additional information

Applicants are required to submit a motivation statement stating why they are interested in the PhD programme. They should attach copies of their current curriculum vitae (signed) and certified copies of degree certificates, transcripts and testimonials. In addition, they should submit a research concept note (2000-3000 words) clearly stating their proposed topic and objectives. The concept paper should include the following: (i) Introduction (Background), Problem statement and rationale (ii)   Aims and objectives (iii) Method - proposed source(s) of data, method of data collection/instruments, method of data analysis (iv) Contribution to knowledge/originality.


Application for the PhD programme is done online. Information about the application procedure is available from the University of Nairobi website: The student’s online application manual is available at: Online applications are done at:


Starting date: 1st June 2017 (or as soon as possible thereafter).


More Information:


Applications should be sent to

The Director

Institute for Development Studies (IDS)

Main Campus, Gandhi wing, 5th Floor, Room 511

University of Nairobi

P.O. Box 30197 – 00100, Nairobi, Kenya


On the subject line indicate: PhD programme (Social Protection and Informal Economy)


Any inquiries about the programme or the project should be addressed to: Prof. Winnie V. Mitullah. Email:


Expiry Date: 
Thu, 2017-06-01 15:44
Contact Person: 

Director, IDS

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