DAAD-funded PhD research scholarship on: Oil dependency and bioeconomic transformation in Nigeria


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 RLC Campuses at eight universities worldwide, among others at ZEF, University of Bonn, Germany, and at the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

As part of this network, the RLC Campus Bonn and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), in cooperation with the “Alternative Nobel Prize” Laureate Nnimmo Bassey and the STRIVE1 project, offer a 3-year PhD scholarship for candidates from sub-Saharan Africa to carry out a PhD research project related to the potential role of the bioeconomy in reducing the Nigerian economy’s reliance on fossil fuel resources.

Research context

Nigeria’s economy is highly dependent on fossil fuel exports and thus exposed to a volatile global market environment. Bio-based economic transformation is often proposed as a promising strategy to reduce fossil resource dependency and achieve sustainable development goals. However, the nature and outcomes of potential bioeconomic transformation pathways will depend on a complex interplay of factors, such as prices for oil and other Nigerian export products including from agriculture, access to bio-based knowledge and technology, and economic as well as environmental policies.

The PhD research project is expected to adopt a regional or macro-perspective to analyze the role of these factors and the economic mechanisms through which they affect sustainability outcomes of alternative development pathways for the Nigerian economy. The research will be based on field and secondary data collection in Nigeria.

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 and residents of a sub-Saharan African state. They should hold an excellent master’s or equivalent degree in agricultural or natural resource economics, economics or related disciplines, and have experience in the use of computable general equilibrium models, partial equilibrium models, or inputoutput models. 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, 2017. 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 time for empirical field research in Nigeria.

Your application should consist of:

  • Motivation letter (1 page)
  • A CV in EUROPASS format – see template under:
  • RLC application form – 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, and methodology (max. 5 pages)

All documents are to be submitted in English. Closing date for applications is March 31, 2017. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Please send your applications via e-mail to:

Dr. Till Stellmacher

Programme Coordinator, RLC Campus Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn