Call for PhD Student Projects

PhD programme on Educational Sciences at Tallinn University


Success in doctoral studies depends on the availability of a strong support system that is usually provided by the integration of PhD students in a research group. At TLU, the integration of doctoral students in research projects and research groups is still not realized to a sufficient extent.  In most  academic institutions worldwide PhD students are the ones who carry out the majority of research which is planned and designed either by or in collaboration with more senior researchers in research groups.  Hence, not only do PhD students need support through being involved in research groups, but research groups need PhD students to grow, develop and prosper.
The purpose of the current call is to better streamline the admission process for PhD students with the research topics and projects at the Institute of Educational Sciences. In parallel to an open call for PhD topics aligned to the general research priorities, we will issue a call for PhD students who will perform their PhD studies in the context of concrete PhD student projects. 

With this call, we are asking potential PhD student supervisors to submit proposals for PhD student projects with an opening in September 2021. The PhD projects need to be embedded into a broader research project or research line, they need to have either secured funding or plans to apply for future funding, and they need to be embedded into the work of a research group that encompasses a number of researchers and other PhD students.

Submission Process

Deadline for Submission: 1 February 2021

Send application to: Elina van der Toorn (elinba@tlu.ee).

Eligible to apply: All potential PhD student supervisors from the School of Educational Sciences who can supervise students in the PhD program on Educational Sciences. Each PhD project needs to be embedded into a larger research project that is running or planned.

Materials to be submitted:

  • PhD project title and abstract describing the general topic (max 200 words): This will be published on the web to attract potential students should the project be selected.
  • PhD project Plan: Detailed description (max 2 pages), including research questions, method to be applied, instrumentation used, time frame and potential outcomes. If an Annex is submitted (see below), then the motivation and theoretical embedding can be kept very short, mainly referring to the Annex.
  • Connection to a research project: Description (max 1 page) of how the project is connected to a larger research project, and what the status of that project is (funded, applied, planned). This description should reference the project in the Annex (e.g. concrete Workpackages in which the student would be involved). The description should also state how the PhD project corresponds to the research priorities at TLU, the institute or the Center of Excellence on Educational Innovation.
  • Financing of the Project: A statement (max 1 page) of which funds have been secured, applied for or are planned to be applied for, including a statement of eligibility of these funds for paying either PhD student allowance or a junior researcher salary. The statement should also contain details about which additional funds will be needed (salary, allowance, travel or materials) and from which sources these funds should be taken (state funded PhD allowance, institute research fund, Centre of Excellence research fund, other).
  • Persons involved (max 1 page): Name, short CV and list of 5 main publications of the main supervisor, and potential co-supervisor. List and short description of other researcher and PhD students, and description of their role in the larger research project.
  • Annex: It is strongly recommended to submit a description of a larger research project in which the PhD project is embedded. This can be the description of work of a running project, or the accepted or submitted proposal, or the planned proposal in its current state. 
Selection process and criteria

The final selection of the PhD Student Projects that will be financed by the institute will be made in February 2021 by the institute board (instituudi nõukogu)

  • How well the PhD project is defined in terms of realistic outcomes and support that is available
  • How well the PhD project is embedded into a larger research project, an existing research line and how it is supported by staff at the institute and TU more widely
  • How well the larger research project and the PhD project align with current research priorities at TU, the institute and the Centre of Excellence
  • How likely it is that the larger research project will receive funding from sources outside TU.
Further information

All inquiries can be sent to Tobias Ley