Image credit: ShellVacationsHospitality 2013 on Flickr.

UniPID DocNet organizes an annual UniPID DocShop for doctoral students and supervisors to get together and discuss timely issues related to development research and the quality of PhD training.

UniPID DocShop 2017 

Life after the PhD: Responsible professional practices for development researchers in the contemporary world 

Time: February 16, 2017, at 9:15 - 13:00
Place: Metsätalo, Room 8, Unioninkatu 40, Helsinki

Given the shifting balance of global power and deepening aid fatigue, the aims and practices of conventional development aid are under immense pressure from both tax-paying constituencies and recipient governments. These pressures are reflected directly in the demands and expectations of the funders and end-users of development research. More than ever before, development researchers are expected to produce measurable and policy-relevant results, include non-academic actors (firms, ngos) in research consortia, and build stakeholder consultation into study design. Such demands have inevitable implications for training in, and the practice of, development studies.

How might development researchers respond to this changing environment? To reflect on this, the Finnish development research doctoral network (UniPID DocNet) will convene a half-day workshop on Thursday, February 16th, in connection with the annual Development Days conference in Helsinki. The workshop is open to all doctoral students, post-docs, teachers and research practitioners in development studies, and is free of charge.

The workshop is organized by professors Anja Nygren (Helsinki) and Jeremy Gould (Jyväskylä) and will be facilitated by Marja Spierenburg, professor of Anthropology and Development Studies at Radboud University Nijmegen (the Netherlands). Marja Spierenburg’s research focuses on the role of the private sector in nature conservation and land reforms in Southern Africa. Until July 2016 she was directing the National Research School for Resource Studies for Development in the Netherlands, where she coordinated the national PhD-trainings in development studies.

The workshop will comprise interactive reflection on the following themes:

  • What kinds of career paths are currently available for researchers with degrees in development studies?
  • How are researchers responding to demands for greater co-production of knowledge between researchers and other stakeholders?
  • How to balance with academic freedom and demands for policy-relevancy?
  • What opportunities exist for applying a degree in Development Studies in an intellectually and politically responsible way?
In addition to interventions by prof Spierenburg, the workshop will include reflections from a number of early/mid-career development scholars on these themes.


Registration to the workshop by February 8, 2017 at:

Please find a more detailed programme below. Inquiries: Professor Jeremy Gould, University of Jyväskylä, email:


Workshop programme:



Professors Anja Nygren (University of Helsinki) and Jeremy Gould (University of Jyväskylä)


Development Research: Dilemmas of co-producing knowledge

Professor Marja Spierenburg (Radboud University Nijmegen)


Breakout groups


Feedback from groups and discussion


Coffee break


Working with non-academics (NGOs, private sector)

Professor Marja Spierenburg (Radboud University Nijmegen)


Alumni interventions

12:15 – 13:00

Discussion & closing