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PhD positions in Human Geography-Demography-Sociology CASINO Project (f/m) - Ref: 2019-01

Campus Belval , 11, Porte des Sciences, L - 4366 Esch-Sur-Alzette , Luxembourg

The Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER) is recruiting a 

Fully funded PhD researcher (f/m)

  • Ref PhD 19-01

  • Full time, 40 hours/week

  • Fixed-term contract for up to 4 years

  • Work contract at LISER, department of Urban Development and Mobility

  • Enrolment in the Doctoral Programmes of the University of Luxembourg and Ghent University

  • Co-supervision by Dr. Veronique Van Acker (LISER), Professor Dr. Frank Witlox and Dr. Jonas De Vos (Ghent University)

  • Earliest start date: May 2019

LISER invites highly qualified and motivated applicants for a PhD position within the framework of the CASINO project, co-funded by the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) and the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO). The grant proposal is available upon request from veronique.vanacker@liser.lu.

Closing date for applications: 28 February 2019. Students graduating over the summer 2019 are also encouraged to apply.

Project Description: CASINO – The happy commuter. A life-oriented approach of commuting satisfaction

Commuting is one of the least enjoyable activities. It is often called ‘the stress that doesn’t pay’. In order to understand commuting satisfaction and how it changes over time, this project will use a life-oriented approach. This approach is based on a life course based research design of mobility behaviour while also paying attention to the interaction with other life domains such as residential environment, employment and time use. Such a longitudinal research design adds a dynamic layer to the presently-dominant static interpretation of commuting satisfaction. The project will evaluate the interaction between commuting satisfaction and the decision to move to another residential location or to change workplaces. In addition to quantitative longitudinal analyses of secondary datasets (EU-SILC 2013, PSELL III), the project will also collect new, innovative data by an online retrospective survey and a 7 days smartphone tracking experiment in the cities of Ghent and Luxembourg. We will collect data from a large sample of people residing in Ghent (Belgium) or Luxembourg city (Luxembourg), and who recently moved residences or changed workplaces. First, using data from the online survey we will analyze the interaction between commuting satisfaction, overall life satisfaction, satisfaction with other life domains and life events. Then, tracking data will be used to explore the different ways in which individual commuting trips contribute to an overall (dis)liking of commuting.

The project team will consists of the three project supervisors and two staff members, one located in the Department of Geography at Ghent University (PhD student) and one located at the Urban Development and Mobility department at LISER (the present position). There is a rough division of labour between Ghent University (smartphone tracking experiment) and LISER (online retrospective survey), albeit with strong conceptual, empirical and operational integration between the two research teams.

Your Profile

We are looking for candidates holding an MA/MSc in human geography, social and economic geography, demography, sociology, or equivalent. Applicants are expected to have the required methodological skills and/or previous quantitative research experience in a transportation context. Knowledge of statistical analyses and software (e.g., SPSS, AMOS) is required. Candidates need to have a strong interest in travel behaviour of individuals and households. Familiarity with the literature on mobility biographies and a life-oriented approach in travel behaviour research is considered an asset. Candidates need to be fluent in English; fluency in French, German or Dutch is an additional asset.

We offer

- a full-time position (40 hours/week) for a period of maximum of four consecutive years (1+2+1 years)

- a highly competitive salary for this full-time PhD position

- an exciting multi-disciplinary and international research environment with ample opportunities to exchange with scholars from related disciplines at both LISER and the University of Luxembourg, situated in the same building ‘Maison des Sciences Humaines’ in Esch-sur-Alzette/Belval

- a package of mentoring, training and career development as well as access to a wide range of courses and seminars offered by LISER and the Universities of Luxembourg and Ghent

- the chance to travel to some of the most exciting places that are the centre-stage/s of travel behavior research


The Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER) offers a vibrant and highly stimulating international research environment. It is a publicly funded research institute located in Luxembourg and devoted to applied empirical research in economic, social and spatial sciences. Interdisciplinarity is a key element for stimulating scientific innovation. The institute attracts top researchers from all over the world and high-level student training is a vivid part of the institute’s activities. LISER is well connected to the University of Luxembourg and also to the top universities both worldwide and in the cross-border neighbourhood. The institute employs 150 people including a survey and data center as well as 70 researchers from all over the world active in the fields of economics, sociology, political sciences and geography (see https://www.liser.lu).

Application process

Please provide the following information:

  • a letter of application outlining your thematic interest in relation to the CASINO project, motivation and profile;

  • a CV;

  • copies of relevant degree diplomas, especially Master degree;

  • two letters of recommendation (to be uploaded with the application documents or sent to recruitment@liser.lu)

Please apply here: https://jobs.liser.lu/jobs

Closing date for applications: 28 February 2019.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for Skype interviews mid-March. On-site interviews shall take place at the beginning of April 2019 in Luxembourg.

For project related information, please contact Dr. Veronique Van Acker (veronique.vanacker@liser.lu) (no applications).

LISER is an Equal Opportunity Employer