University of Copenhagen PhD Scholarships at the Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen

University of Copenhagen PhD Scholarships at the Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen

UCPH invites applications for a PhD scholarship. Employment is expected to begin September 1st, 2022.

Applications are invited for a PhD scholarship at the Department of Economics, UCPH, in connection with the research project “The role of networks in shaping health inequality.” The PhD project is part of this larger project hosted by Center for Economic Behavior and Inequality (CEBI), Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen, and financed by a grant from the Rockwool Foundation. The research project aims to disentangle behavioral network spillovers and their interaction with changing social insurance programs as well as advances in the health care sector in shaping inequality in health and well-being over the past 40 years. We ask two overarching questions: 1) How does behaviors in networks translate into health outcomes and (in)equality? 2) Which circumstances and policies can mitigate effects of health shocks in different types of networks?

The PhD student will join a team of five other researchers based at CEBI, Rigshospitalet and UC San Diego. We value creative and explorative research that can inform scholars and policy makers about how behaviors in networks affect and shape health inequalities.


Health inequality is a fundamental measure of equity within societies, and the role of behaviors in shaping inequality remains a big discussion. Understanding the roots of inequality is crucial for our design of health and social insurance institutions in modern welfare states. Recent work of the current team provides a proof of concept that otherwise hard-to-change behaviors are amendable, and that networks play a key role (Fadlon and Nielsen, AER 2019). Health behaviors are not biologically commutable like viruses and bacterial infection, but they are highly contagious via spillovers in networks. However, we lack knowledge about whether behavioral spillovers vary across networks, and, consequently to what extent network behaviors and circumstances shape health inequalities. During the past forty years, network circumstances, such as social security and available medical technologies in the health care sector, have changed. At the same time life expectancy has increased, but more for the rich than for the poor.

With this research project we will identify networks, and explore how behaviors within them have contributed to health inequality over a forty-year period. We will use novel econometric strategies to explore and disentangle the roles played by changing circumstances and genuine network spillovers in shaping health and well-being – and assess their roles in shaping inequality in society. Methodologically, we combine administrative and survey data. While the administrative data allow for identifying networks through families and workplaces, the longitudinal survey data add crucial information on well-being, self-perceived health, biomarkers, health behaviors and the allocation of time.

We strongly encourage interested applicants to contact Associate Professor and principal investigator (PI) Torben Heien Nielsen ( – for further information on the project, our databases and the team.

Torben Heien Nielsen will also participate and be available in the Economics department’s information meeting for prospective PhD students March 30 at 10.00, 2022 in Room CSS 26.2.21 (building 26, 2nd floor) at Department of Economics at University of Copenhagen, Øster Farimagsgade 5, 1353 Copenhagen.

Our research team is part of Center for Economic Behavior and Inequality (CEBI). CEBI is a Center of Excellence funded by the Danish National Research Foundation. The main goal of CEBI is to provide cutting-edge research on the role of behavior in generating inequality and its underlying sources. The focus is on empirical research and on exploiting the globally unique Danish data research infrastructure that enables CEBI members to combine various population administrative registers with information about individuals’ background, choices and outcomes, and to combine these data with information about behavioral characteristics obtained from large-scale controlled experiments and surveys. CEBI combines several fields and methods: Public Economics, Labor Economics, Health Economics, Behavioral Economics, Household Finance, Political Economics, Microeconometrics, Experimental and Survey Methods and Structural Modelling. The current CEBI group includes 13 senior researchers, 13 junior researchers, 14 PhD students, 7 research assistants and 7 international members from New York University, Pompeu Fabra University, Princeton University and University of Zürich. For further information about CEBI see:


The positions is available for a 3-year period (for applicants holding a master degree in Economics) or a 4-year period (under the so-called 4+4 model for applicants holding a BSc degree, and who have also completed one year of master level studies at the time of employment).

The tasks of PhD student are to:
– Participate in our research team and contribute to subprojects within our research agenda
– Write scientific articles that are included in the PhD thesis of the applicant
– Attend PhD courses
– Participate in congresses/workshops/seminars
– Teach and disseminate your research
– Visit another international research institution for at least a few months


We seek candidates with a strong academic background in Economics, qualifying for enrolment in the 4+4 programme (4 year PhD programme); or 5+3 programme (3 year PhD programme) in Economics. In the assessment of the candidate’s qualifications, emphasis will be on creativity, grade performance in core economics courses, the project proposal and potential relevant professional experience or publications, and abilities to work in teams. Good English language skills are also important.


In order to be eligible for a scholarship in the 5+3 PhD study programme the applicant must have completed a two year MSc degree programme, or have earned 120 ECTS credits at an equivalent academic level before starting his or her employment. Applicants should check the PhD curriculum for more detailed descriptions of the entry requirements (see “duties and responsibilities” below). PhD students are paid a salary in accordance with the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC). The PhD student has a work obligation of up to 840 hours over the 3 year period of time without additional pay. The work obligation can include for instance teaching or tasks related to the project “The role of networks in shaping health inequality.”


Students who have completed a BSc plus 60 ECTS of an MSc degree programme enrol as PhD students simultaneously with their enrolment in the MSc degree programme. Applicants should check the PhD curriculum for more detailed descriptions of the entry requirements (see “duties and responsibilities” below). Until an MSc degree is obtained, the grant is paid partly in the form of up to 48 state education grant portions (in Danish: SU-klip). More specifically the PhD student will be paid two grant portions per month plus salary for work (teaching, presentations etc.) which totals a workload of at least 280 hours. Payment and conditions of employment are carried out in accordance with the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC). Upon completion of the MSc degree the student is transferred to the salary-earning part of the PhD studies.


Applications must be submitted electronically no later than 1st of May, 2022 through the electronic application system, which you access through the below link.

Applications should include the following enclosures:
– CV
– Degree certificates and transcripts of all relevant course work
– A short project proposal (3-4 pages) outlining one research idea (this is only used to evaluate the research maturity of applicants, and is not binding in any way afterwards). The project proposal could outline how the candidate would address one of the two overarching questions of the project: 1) How does behaviors in networks translate into health outcomes and (in)equality? 2) Which circumstances and policies can mitigate effects of health shocks in different types of networks?
– List of publications (if any)

The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding society, and invites all qualified applicants, regardless of personal background, to apply for the positions. In order to be awarded a PhD scholarship the applicant has to enrol as a PhD student at the Faculty of Social Sciences, cf. the rules of the Danish Ministerial order No 1039 of 27 August 2013.

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Appointments Committee. All applicants are then immediately notified whether their application has been passed for assessment by an expert assessment committee.

The following criteria are used when shortlisting candidates for assessment:
– Qualifications and knowledge in relevant Economics disciplines.
– Performance (grades obtained) in relevant courses.
– Research qualifications as reflected in the project proposal.

Selected applicants are notified of the composition of the assessment committee, and each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that relates to the applicant him/herself. You can read about the recruitment process at

A number of candidates will be invited for a job-interview. A few days prior to the interview, the candidates will be asked to outline how the person would address a specific research project that will be part of the candidate’s work portfolio in the beginning of the PhD process. The applicant should present the result at the interview.

The PhD will be part of the PhD-programme at the Economics Department. Further information about the PhD study programme is available on the website of Copenhagen Graduate School of Social Sciences:

Under “Legal basis” on the website you will find information about the rules and guidelines for the PhD programme and the Danish Ministerial Order on the PhD programme at the Universities.

Information about the PhD study programme is also available on the PhD website of the Department of Economics:

Applicants should familiarise themselves with admission requirements specified in the PhD curriculum:

Applicants should also familiarise themselves with the research strategy and the ongoing research at the Department before submitting their application. Further information can be found:

An Equal Opportunity Workplace: The University of Copenhagen is committed in its pursuit of academic excellence to equality of opportunity and to creating an inclusive working environment and therefore encourages all qualified candidates to apply, regardless of personal background, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, ethnicity etc. For more on the diverse working place environment at the University and the University’s participation in the HRS4R HR Excellence in Research, see

International applicant? The University of Copenhagen offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including support before and during your relocation and career counselling to expat partners. Please find more information about these services as well as information on entering and working in Denmark here:


Information about the recruitment process is available from HR, e-mail:, please refer to ID number: 211-1060/22-2H #1

Additional information about the position can be obtained from Torben Heien Nielsen, e-mail:

The closing date for applications is 23:59 CEST May 1, 2022.

Applications received after the deadline will not be taken into account.

Leave a Reply