The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in collaboration with the University of Stavanger (Norway), Makerere University- MAK (Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Climatic Sciences and the School of Social Sciences), Makerere University Business School (MUBS) and University of Juba (UoJ) invites academic staff from MAK, MUBS and UoJ to apply for 2 PhD scholarships within the framework of the Norhed II funded project on Capacity building for socially just and sustainable energy transitions in East Africa. The project is led by NTNU and will be implemented over a period of 6 years (January 2021 – December 2026) with grant funding from the Norhed II Programme of the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD).

About the project

The East African region has embraced the global drive to transition to low carbon economies. However, a key challenge is the persistent lack of knowledge, capacity and skilled personnel to support the transition. Thus, the project focuses on building capacity and competence through education, research and outreach to ensure that the region has a workforce with the relevant skills-set and knowledge required to implement and demand for a just and sustainable low-carbon energy transition agenda.

In order to ensure state-of-the-art research, research-based education, institutional capacity building and dissemination, the project interventions will be informed by four cross-cutting research themes (RTs):

RT 1: Geographies of energy transition in East Africa.

RT 2: Stranded assets and green growth in East Africa: Role for state and non-state actors.

RT 3: Inclusive engagement in energy transitions: Gender, participation and justice.

RT 4: Energy infrastructure, environmental impacts and changing social practices.

About the PhD scholarships

The 2 PhD scholarships advertised in this call will focus on RT 3 and RT4. The PhD projects will have the following thematic orientation:

Scholarship I: PhD in Science and Technology Studies (STS) on transport and mobility transitions

This PhD project focuses on transport and mobility transitions in East Africa. The candidate is expected to study topics such as policies and strategies for the development and uptake of new mobility solutions in East Africa. The topic could also include a focus on the interplay between mobility needs and everyday practices, as well as social consequences of transforming the transport systems in more sustainable directions. Examples of possible mobility and transport solutions that could be in focus are bus-rapid-transit systems (BRT), light rail, micro-mobility solutions and new concepts related to mobility, such as Mobility as a Service (for instance platforms for sharing of cars, bikes or scooters, or more collective forms of transport). The candidate will use prominent STS perspectives in combination with theories about of mobility and sustainability transitions. It is also expected that the candidate includes gender perspectives and considers diversity issues in the study. The PhD will have a case-study design and the project will be conducted using qualitative social science methods such as interviews, focus groups, document analysis and participatory observation.

Scholarship II: PhD in Science and Technology Studies (STS) on just and sustainable hydropower development

This PhD project focuses on hydropower development in East Africa. Based on perspectives from Social Sciences and Humanities energy research, such as energy justice and energy citizenship, the candidate is expected to study topics such as new developments of hydropower, the multiple uses of and services provided by hydropower reservoirs, hydropower regulation, or the water-energy-food nexus. The candidate is expected to investigate the social sustainability of hydropower and include gender and diversity aspects and well as justice dimensions. As part of this work, the candidate will focus on processes of public participation. The PhD will have a case-study design and the candidate is expected to employ qualitative social science methods such as interviews, focus groups, document analysis and participatory observation.


For both PhD scholarships, interdisciplinary collaboration within the NORHED project, the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture at NTNU and Makerere Business School/Makerere University/University of Juba are envisaged.

Duties of the PhD candidates

The successful candidates must

  • Conduct empirical data collection through qualitative methods such as interviews, focus groups, document analysis, or participatory observation.
  • Analyse the collected data using theories and concepts from STS (science and technology studies) or related frameworks
  • Complete the obligatory coursework in the PhD program for Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture
  • Produce a PhD thesis, preferably based on 3-4 peer-reviewed articles published in key international journals
  • Disseminate results in scholarly journals and at national and international venues
  • Be an active participant in the day-to-day and project activities at Makerere University Business School/Makerere University/University of Juba and at the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture, NTNU.

Required selection criteria

  • The applicants should be employed at Makerere University Business School or Makerere University, Uganda, or at the University of Juba, South Sudan.
  • Applicants must hold an MA or equivalent in Science and Technology Studies (STS), or another relevant social scientific or humanities background. Examples of other relevant disciplines are Sociology, Geography, Anthropology, Political Science, or Economics. The average grade of the master’s degree must be B or better in comparison with NTNU’s grading scale. If the applicants do not have letter grades from previous studies, they must have an equally good academic basis. If applicants have a weaker grade background, they may be assessed if they can document that they are particularly suitable for a PhD education.
  • The applicants’ education must correspond to a five-year Norwegian degree programme, where 120 credits are obtained at master’s level
  • The applicants must meet the requirements for admission to the (PhD programme in Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture (PHKULT) – Faculty of Humanities – NTNU)
  • Knowledge of qualitative research methods
  • Excellent English skills (written and oral) are needed

Preferred selection criteria

  • Knowledge of social scientific studies of energy or transport
  • Experience with the use of qualitative social science research methods such as interviews, focus groups, document analysis and observation
  • Strong analytical and writing skills
  • Minimum of 2 years teaching experience

Personal characteristics

  • The successful candidates should be enthusiastic and highly motivated to conduct, share, and discuss SSH energy research
  • The candidates should be capable to work both independently and with other researchers and partners in the project
  • The candidates should be open to interdisciplinary scientific cooperation

PhD Scholarship and study conditions

The PhD scholarship will cover costs for a period of three years. The monthly stipend will be NOK 19000 while in Norway. For the period spent in the applicants’ home country, the monthly stipend will be based on the respective institutional rates at the different partner institutions. Research and travel expenses to/from Norway and at least 1 international conference will be covered by the project.

Successful candidates are expected to spend a minimum of 12 months at the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture, NTNU and the rest of the PhD period will be spent at the applicant’s partner institution in the respective countries.

Expected start date

Successful candidates will receive notification by 30 May 2022. After that, they are expected to further develop their research proposals with guidance from the supervisors at NTNU, and to follow NTNU’s admission procedure to apply for admission to the PhD Programme in Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture at the Faculty of Humanities. The PhD scholarship period starts when candidates are formally admitted to the PhD Programme at NTNU.

How to apply:

Interested applicants should submit applications by e-mail to the respective institutional Coordinators and copy to the Project Coordinator at NTNU: Dr. Charlotte N. Jjunju

For Makerere University: Assoc. Prof. Frank Muggaga,; University of Juba: Dr. Angelina; and Makerere University Business School: Dr. Livingstone Senyonga,

The application should include:

1) A brief statement of interest or cover letter describing your motivation to apply,

2) A PhD research proposal of no more than ten pages (page format A4 with 2.5 cm margins, single spacing and Times New Roman 12-point font) outlining the thematic focus and specifying how it relates to the overall project, research questions, methodological and theoretical focus, a timeframe of activities and a list of expected outputs. The research proposal should also include suggestions for case studies.

3) Curriculum vitae (CV), relevant academic transcripts and diplomas (Degree certificates and certified transcripts of academic records for bachelors and master’s degrees). If you have not completed the master’s degree, you have to submit a confirmation the master’s thesis has been submitted.

4) A copy of the master’s thesis. If the applicant recently has submitted the master’s thesis, a draft of the thesis can be attached.

5) Publications or any other relevant research work can be included. It is often difficult to judge the applicant’s contribution to publications with multiple authors, hence a short description of the applicant’s contribution must be included.

6) Contact information (with phone numbers and e-mail addresses) for two persons who may act as references.

This call is subject to equal opportunities for all and qualifying women and candidates with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

The selection process

Applications will first be evaluated by the Project Team at their respective South partner institutions. Based on recommendations from the project team, the final decision will be made by the supervisors at NTNU and the South Partner home institutions for the respective applicants.

When assessing the applications, emphasis will be put on:

  • Educational background and Master’s study grades
  • Relevant experience
  • Quality of the project proposal and the proposal’s alignment with project goals
  • Motivation and ambition
  • Personal and interpersonal qualities

Application deadline: All application materials (including scanned copies of academic documents) must be received by 15. April 2022.

Further information is available by contacting Sara Heidenreich, e-mail: / phone: +47 73591779, at the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture, Faculty of Humanities.

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