Jose Nederhand

Research Master Alumnus

Why did you choose for studying the Research Master in Rotterdam? Was it a choice for a PhD career or did other factors count too? If yes, which ones?

My choice for studying the Research Master was definitely motivated by PhD-career related arguments. At the time I applied for this Master, I already held a regular Masters’ title in Public Administration. Choosing this particular program allowed me to deepen my sociological knowledge on societal processes such as individualization and social/cultural stratification while at the same time expanding my methodological knowledge. Furthermore, the excellent reputation of this Master played a role in my decision to apply for this program. The program is repeatedly awarded a Top Rated certificate for excellence by the ‘Keuzegids Masters’.  

When did you know you wished to pursue a PhD degree? Could you explain why a PhD trajectory was appealing to you?

My choice for pursuing a PhD trajectory is strongly substantively motivated. Working as a PhD candidate allows you to keep expanding and sharing your knowledge with students and practitioners on issues that fascinate you. Personally, my fascination lies in understanding how governments in coalition with non-public parties try to tackle complex social problems. Before I started my PhD trajectory, I already had more than three years working experience at the university as student assistant. During these years, my interest in science gradually developed. I particularly like the varied working practice. Currently, I simultaneously work on multiple research projects, interact with students during teaching, interview practitioners and visit international academic conferences all over the world to present my work such as Hong Kong and Ottawa.

You are currently a PhD candidate at the Department of Public Administration and Sociology at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. How long did it take you to find your present PhD position after graduation and through which means did you find it?

After graduation I first worked as a lecturer and junior researcher within the EU funded LIPSE project on social innovation at the department of Public Administration and Sociology for some months. Then, two Professors of my department were awarded a research grant that enabled them to hire new PhDs. When they started hiring I applied for a position that was partly funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and the Netherlands School of Public Administration (NSOB).   

What is the (working) title of your PhD project? Could you briefly explain what your PhD project is about? Is there any relation to the topic of your master’s thesis or research traineeship or to other elements of the research master’s program?

The working title of my PhD project is Governance for Smartening Public Private Society Partnerships. In this project I specifically focus upon how local governments try to tackle societal challenges in a smart way (in times of budget austerity) by involving private and societal partners in the creation of public value. The project focusses on examining the smart governance strategies that governments use in overcoming institutional and processual bottlenecks that occur during these collaborative processes. Especially the methodological courses and cultural sociological courses that were offered during the Research Master proved to be very useful.

Would you say you were well prepared for conducting this particular PhD project, and for PhD research in general? Why/Why not?

Yes, I think the Research Master prepares you very well for conducting PhD research. Step by step you become more familiar with what will be expected from you as a PhD candidate and with what pursuing an academic career entails exactly. You get the chance to specialize in several methodological techniques (in my case multi-level analysis and discourse analysis) which I have both applied in my current PhD project.

Do you have any tips and tricks for current research master students?

A tip for current Research Master students is to focus your Master’s thesis on a topic you also want to pursue your PhD in. Being able to demonstrate your affinity with a particular research topic will help you tremendously in the application procedure for pursuing a PhD position on that same topic. 

Portrait José Nederhand (Alumni Research Master Media Studies)