PhD positions


contact info

Dr. Ir. Hugo Jonker
Open Universiteit
Valkenburgerweg 177
6419 AT Heerlen
phone: +31 (0)45 576 2143
twitter: @hugojonker

I am willing to act as a daily supervisor for prospective PhD students on subjects related to privacy and security. For a rough guide as to topics I'm interested in, see the page with open student projects. While these are written with MSc/BSc students in mind, these projects tend to fit in my overall research lines. If you're interested or would like some advice, please get in touch.

Internal / full-time PhD positions

Any internal, fully funded positions I have available will be announced through official channels (incl. Academic Transfer). Applications must similarly be sent via the official channel. Of course, you're more than welcome to contact me with any questions or to get a feel for any particular project.

External / part-time PhD positions

Interested in pursuing a PhD, but cannot commit to a full-time position at a University? You can pursue a PhD in part-time via an external PhD position. In this case, you do not have employee-status at the University (and receive no salary via the University). You can choose to be self-funded, or pursue a grant or sponsor. Examples of the latter include an NWO Teacher grant or structural allocation of time from your employer.

Pursuing a PhD in your spare time can be quite challenging. I have experience supervising external PhD students and have found this to be very rewarding, both for the candidate and for me as a supervisor. As such, I am willing to act as a daily supervisor for candidates interested in performing a PhD project as an external PhD student. Interested? Let's talk!
You can gain an idea of the subjects that align well with me from this website, especially the publications page and the "individual supervision" section (esp. open projects).

Do please check the below differences and practicalities beforehand; this will help you to have a realistic image of what an external PhD project entails.

Differences with funded PhD position

An external PhD project differs from an internal PhD project in several areas. Most obvious is funding: the external PhD project is not funded by the University. The candidate is responsible for ensuring any needed or desired funding themselves. You could try to win a grant for the full project (compensating time as well as travel costs) from NWO or a similar funding body, or your from your employer. In case you apply for a grant, I will gladly assist with writing the application. Note that funding concerns more than salary; scientific publications in the domain of security tend to mainly be at conferences. Success in the project thus tends to incurs travel and registration expenses. Another difference is employment status:You will also not be employed by the University. Lastly, external PhD projects are typically pursued part-time. This means they tend to take longer than full-time PhD projects (how much longer varies). This mostly affects the end date; the time spent on the project is similar to, or, on rare occasions, (slightly) less than for full-time PhD students.


To start a PhD project as an external PhD student, it may help to list several elements to gain some perspective on the potential for success:

  • Time: at least 16 hrs / week.
    The exact time requirements vary between projects, and also within a project. If you have less than two full working days per week, starting a PhD project is unwise. (An alternative could be to collaborate on research at a slower pace.)
    Time is covered by NWO grants (e.g., teacher grant).
    Alternatively, discuss if your employer can allow you time for your PhD project.
  • Funding: expect around €1,000 - €1,500 per conference/workshop.
    Higher-quality venues tend to be more expensive; journals are cheaper (non-open access journals tend to be free).
    Possible funding sources: NWO grants (e.g., teacher grant) could sponsor the whole PhD project. Alternatively, perhaps your employer will sponsor this. Occasionally, a conference will offer a limited number of travel grants.
  • Topic: is the topic rich and intrinsically motivating?
    You'll be investing a lot of your time into research into this topic. To successfully reach the finish, the topic must (obviously) be rich enough for a PhD thesis. Moreover, you should find the topic intrinsically motivating.
    Note that while this is needed for any PhD project, it is even more important for a part-time PhD project.
  • Supervisor: do you have a click with your daily supervisor?
    Your daily supervisor will be your main guide in the PhD project. He or she will have to provide most of the project's scientific environment. A good click is necessary: you need to be able to communicate frankly with each other, and be motivated by each other.