EUROPE: 14 PhD positions available in the MSCA-COFUND project: EMPOWER - Clean Water, Sustainable Energy and Resources

EMPOWER (Entrepreneurial Multidisciplinary Scientists Forging Pathways Onto Clean Water, Sustainable Energy and Resources) is a doctoral programme co-funded by the European Commission through a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action (MSCA).

The objective of EMPOWER is to create a highly demanded type of professional in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), with the skillset to operate between academic chairs, established knowledge-intensive companies, start-ups, public authorities and the general public, to develop and realise solutions for the challenges of the 21st century in the field of water.

Therefore, the EMPOWER programme is offering 14 PhD positions integrated with business oriented training, which is fundamental to prepare the selected Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) for their future entrepreneurship-research career.

Appllication Deadline: 29 October 2021.


Wetsus is the main beneficiary and project coordinator of the EMPOWER programme. The research projects will be conducted together with three university partners Wageningen University (WUR)University of Groningen (RUG), and University of Twente (UT).

Wetsus, European centre of excellence for sustainable water technology is a facilitating intermediary for trendsetting know-how development. Wetsus creates a unique environment and strategic cooperation for development of profitable and sustainable state of the art water treatment technology.

Overall, the doctoral training programme consists of four main, interconnected parts, which are dedicated to developing different skills: research, multidisciplinary expertise, entrepreneurship and personal development. In particular, Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) enrolling in EMPOWER are asked to integrate their PhD path with an integrated businessoriented training (MBA), which allows for a dual degree. This dual training is fundamental to prepare STEM PhD students for careers in entrepreneurship. The MBA comprises a business secondment, related to the research project of the ESR, at one industry/company.



The candidate must fulfil the following mandatory criteria according the early-stage and mobility MSCA criteria:

  • Hold an MSc degree in the discipline associated with the research topic.
  • The candidate’s full-time equivalent research experience must be less than four years, measured from the date when the candidate obtained the degree entitling them to start a PhD study.
  • The candidate may not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the deadline of the call.
  • The candidate must not hold a previous PhD degree.

Moreover, other criteria for the candidates are:

  • During their academic path, the candidates have shown research excellence either through high grades and/or an outstanding thesis.
  • Being able to work in a multidisciplinary team in an international environment, and also to work independently.
  • Have excellent English communication skills, both verbally and in scientific writing.
  • Suitability for scientific entrepreneurship and to potentially develop business-related skills.

PhD positions:

You may also want to check the webinar that presented the programme and the Guide for Applicants for the call.