Research and Training


The core of your PhD studies will be to perform research, in collaboration with and coached by your supervisor. NETWORKS offers an excellent environment for this. In addition to the main supervisor, you will be assigned a second supervisor who brings in additional expertise. Supervisors work very closely with their PhD students, to maximize the quality of the research. You will also have a generous travel budget, allowing you to visit international conferences, workshops and summer schools. Moreover, each PhD student has the opportunity to make one or two research visits to universities outside The Netherlands. The visits will last two weeks or more, and the host university is chosen depending on your specific research topic.


Possible research projects

Research in NETWORKS focuses on stochastics (including queueing theory, random graphs, stochastics processes, stochastic optimization) and algorithmics (including computational geometry, graph theory and algorithms, combinatorial optimization, quantum algorithms) for network problems. As a NETWORKS-COFUND PhD student you can define your own PhD project in this broad area, in collaboration with your supervisor. Hence, in your application you should already indicate the supervisor(s) with whom you would like to work. When you are selected to join the NETWORKS project, you will develop the topic of your research project together with your supervisor in the first few months of your appointment. 


Training program

NETWORKS offers an extensive and inspiring training program. The program includes the components listed below. In addition, there are several other NETWORKS events that you can participate in.


  • Training Weeks. NETWORKS organizes two Training Weeks per year. The morning sessions in each Training Week are devoted to two mini-courses, one on a topic from stochastics and the other on a topic from algorithmics. The afternoon sessions feature research presentations by NETWORKS researchers (PIs or other staff members, postdocs and PhD students) about their current work, and working sessions where participants can collaborate on research problems. The Training Weeks are held at off-campus locations, to maximize social interaction and community building among the NETWORKS researchers.
  • Industrial Internships. Each PhD student will do an internship of 2-3 months in a non-academic environment, typically in the second or third year of her/his PhD. 
  • Professional skills courses.  There is a variety of courses on professional skills and personal development available to NETWORKS PhD students. These include courses on technical writing and giving presentations, developing teaching skills, personal effectiveness, and more. Together with your supervisor, you decide on a personal course program.

The research and training program of NETWORKS offers you excellent opportunities for a future career, be it in academia, government, or industry. NETWORKS graduates found jobs at top academic institutions both in and outside Europe (including MIT, Georgia Tech, Warwick University, and Max-Planck-Institut für Informatik), at major multinationals in the high-tech and financial industry (including Microsoft, Google, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and ABN-AMRO) and at medium-size companies and start-ups. 


Being a PhD student in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, every PhD student gets paid a salary; no additional grants are needed. Moreover, even though NETWORKS offers an extensive training program that allows you to expand your knowledge and skills (see above), there are no exams or course requirements. Hence, PhD students are more like employees than like students. Your work as a PhD student may include being a teaching assistant (TA) in BSc or MSc courses offered at your institution. This amounts to up to 15% of the time; the remaining time is spent on research and research-related activities such as the training program. As an international PhD student you need not speak Dutch: it is easy to get by with English, not only at the university but also in everyday life.