Photo: Toms Grīnbergs, UL Department of Communication

Post-pandemic resilient communities: is the informal economy a reservoir for the next generation of digitalized and green businesses in Africa, Asia and Latin America? (HORIZON-MSCA-2021-DN-01, GA 101073394)

Starting date: 1 September 2023
Deadline: 28 February 2023

The University of Latvia is a main partner in a consortium that  has been awarded a €3.9m grant from the European Union to fund a Doctoral Network named Post-pandemic resilient communities: is the informal economy a reservoir for the next generation of digitalized and green businesses in Africa, Asia and Latin America?

The consortium involves 7 academic and 7 non-academic partners and will produce 15 PhD holders featuring both theoretical and empirical knowledge of the topic – this includes an experience of 18 months working in a non-academic partner as specified below.

PhD researcher 10; Focus: Kenya

Partners: University of Latvia and Economic and Centro Cooperazione Internazionale (

PhD researcher 11; Focus: Morocco

Partners: University of Latvia and Economic and Policy Research Center (

What is an Industrial Doctorate?

An MSCA – Industrial Doctorate is a programme funded by Horizon Europe thanks to which Junior Researchers can enroll in a PhD programme while being employed 18 months by a university and 18 months by a non-academic partner (think tank, company, NGO, see list below). Successful fellows will receive a salary for three years, at the EU early Stage Researcher rate – substantially above the level of PhD scholarships in most countries (total amount depending on the country where they will be based in) and an allowance for mobility, research, family in line with EU guidelines that can be viewed here:

The programme is is aimed at producing PhD holders with already a strong work experience and thus already competitive on the job market.

Main objectives of the programme

If successful, you will be enrolled in a PhD programme in one of the universities below and work in a team of academic and non-academic specialists to conduct a multi-level study on informality in one of the 15 target countries (Africa, Asia, Latin America, see list below) involving a) Horizon Scanning; b) Delphi Survey; c) Construction of Case Studies to identify the sectors of the economy that have been most affected by the pandemic, the sectors that could lead economic recovery and the policies needed to make this recovery durable and sustainable in the long term; the final goal is the training of a junior expert on informality in the Global South with exposure to both academic and non-academic sector opportunities; Database, PhD thesis, scientific publications, policy publications, communication activities.

Short description of the project and its focus

In addition to the almost 2bln workers already active in the informal sector, World Bank and ILO estimate that the pandemic might have put at risk of precarious employment 500mln-1.5bln more. These losses, and related consequences, are not evenly distributed given that Africa, Asia and Latin America is where 93% of the world’s informal employment is located and where post-pandemic crisis is likely to hit harder (especially women, migrants and young people). Yet, the concern is global. Indeed, besides vulnerability and precariousness at individual and community levels, informality also eventually reduces state capacity and the ability of institutions to design and implement policies that properly address social, economic and environmental issues (i.e. SDGs) in a long term perspective. Accordingly, informality-related challenges have been devoted a great deal of attention and political statements. But seldom have these statements been followed by concrete instructions, guidelines or evidence-based policies to tackle informality across the world. Starting from this gap, PRESILIENT is a large network comprising 14 partners (of which 7 nonacademic) and 15 associated partners located in Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America committed to delivering the a world class cross-regional training on informality in the Global South to: measure it, address it, find viable and sustainable alternatives. By doing this, we have committed to four main objectives: O.1 train the next generation of experts on informality in the global south. O.2 carry out a research spanning 15 different countries and to produce novel data and significant theoretical advancements in the field. O.3 produce strategic intelligence that can be used to provide practical policy recommendations O.4 enable multi-directional knowledge transfer through network events, pairing of academic and non-academic partners (who will jointly supervise each fellow), secondment and task-based teamwork.

Project partners and regional focus

You can apply for one or more positions, but we would be grateful if you could state this in your application to avoid the risk of recruiting the same candidate twice. The selection process is decentralised so you need to prepare a separate application for each of the universities you want to apply to. Note that entry requirements, deadline, and procedures may differ so check what is needed in the specific announcement issued by each partner.

Practical details

Financial conditions (including salary levels) and background documents are available at

Your salary will be calculated according to MSCA rules and your personal + family situation. More information can be found at the financial section of the above MSCA document. If selected, you will be expected to familiarise yourself with these rules also to be aware of your formal rights and obligations towards the donor.

Eligibility: there are no nationality limitations (anyone can apply); applicants must hold a degree enabling them to enroll into doctoral studies by September 2023 (usually a MA or MSc). They cannot have more than 4 years full time research experience (or hold a doctorate already, even if they worked less than 4 years to complete it) at the time of recruitment.

Mobility requirement: applicants can be of any nationality but cannot have been resident (or have had their main activity i.e. work or study) in the country where you will be enrolled in PhD studies for more than 12 of the 36 months prior to recruitment. This means that if you spent less than 12 months in the country where you are going to start your PhD you are eligible.

NB: this is a very intensive programme. Each selected candidate will be enrolled into a PhD programme, work as junior researcher and will be seconded to the target region for data collection and gain a hands-on work experience on how research skills can be used beyond academia for the benefit of the governmental, private or international development sector. There will also be workshops of 4 to 5 days duration approximately every 6 months at which attendance is essential. Therefore a willingness and ability to undertake these international mobilities is a core requirement.

Any informal enquiries about research topics or the process (that are not already addressed in this call or in the MSCA guide for applicants, see link above), should be addressed to the relevant contact person

Applications should be emailed to and cc-ed to Prof Ilona Baumane-Vītoliņa:

It must include:

1) a curriculum vitae (including explicit details of country / countries of residence for the past 3 years, this is needed for eligibility purposes);

2) an application letter no longer than 500 words;

3) a short (500-1000 words) summary of your doctoral project.

4) The grades achieved in your Master’s degree (certificates will be requested if you are shortlisted)

5) Name and contact of 2-3 references who can comment on your professional qualifications and abilities (they will be contacted only if you are shortlisted)

NB if you are shortlisted, you will be encouraged to submit your documents for PhD enrolment at LU as soon as possible. Please check the required documents here:

Please send all the documents together in one PDF file and use, as subject of your message, “PRESILIENT-DN-2023 Application” + country you intend to do research on (Kenya or Morocco). Failure to do this might result in your application ending up in the wrong folder.

Deadline 28 February 2023, 5pm (Brussels time)