PhD Workshop 28 March cancelled!

Unfortunately, the PhD Workshop on 28 March is cancelled in order to prevent further spread of the Coronavirus. You can no longer register for this event or make appointments with our delegates.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is represented by Sylvia van Glabbeek of the VU International Office and Dr. Nana de Graaff of the Department Political Science and Public Administration.

About Nana de Graaff

Personal information

Dr. Nana de Graaff is Associate Professor in Political Science and International Relations at the Department of Political Science and Public Administration. She is also Director of Studies for the BSc and MSc Political Science at this department and Programme director of the Graduate School of Social Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. She is Chair of the EU COST Action 18215 China in Europe Research Network. She was a Honorary Fellow (2016-2017), at the Department of International Politics, City University of London and is board member of the Dutch Political Science Association (NKWP, Nederlandse Kring voor de Wetenschap der Politiek) since 2015.  See her full profile


Nana de Graaff's main research interests are within International Relations, International Political Economy and Elite Studies (political sociology): Chinese political and economic elites; the globalization of Chinese firms; US foreign policy in the post-Cold War period; American political and economic elites; Corporate elite networks; Social Network Analysis; the politics and political economy of energy.

She publishes in leading journals in International Relations (Review of International Political Economy, European Journal of International Relations, International Affairs, International Politics), journals within the field of International Political Economy and Sociology (e.g. Global Networks, Globalizations, International Journal of Comparative Sociology) and with highly ranked publishers (e.g. Cambridge University Press, Routledge, Palgrave McMillan).

She is an advisory board member of the journal International Affairs and of The International Spectator:

Grants and Research Projects

De Graaff obtained an EU COST Action grant: China in Europe Research Network (CHERN) (2019-2023), with which she will establish a Europe wide network aimed at pooling, exchanging, disseminating and generating research on Chinese socio-economic engagements with Europe.

She is co-Principal Investigator in an ESRC (UK) funded project (2019-2022) 'Fraying Ties? Networks, Territory and Transformation in the UK oil sector.’ An interdisciplinary research project led by Prof. Gavin Bridge (Durham University) in collaboration with London School of Economic (LSE) and Platform. 

She is also a co-investigator in the Corporate Mapping Project, a SSHRC funded research-project aimed at systematically mapping the structure and influence of the fossil fuel industry in Canada led by Prof. William Carroll (Victoria University).

Previously she was part of a Sino-Dutch research project (2013-2017) on the Transnationalization of China’s Oil Industry funded by Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Social Sciences (KNAW), directed by Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and International Institute for Asia Studies (Leiden University).

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

We would like to invite all interested PhD students from Colombia and Mexico to apply for one of our PhD programmes in one of our 9 faculties.

Scholarship funded PhDs

We have recently signed a renewed agreement with Colfuturo in Colombia and Educafin and FUned in Mexico for PhD scholarship provision and we advise all interested candidates to get informed about the possibilities of joint funding schemes between these agencies and the VU.

Research assistant PhDs

Every year we hire several hundred PhD candidates as junior research assistants. For a complete list of current vacancies please check You can also discuss these opportunities with our representatives at the respective PhD fair.

Below you will find more information about the PhD at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

PhD at VU

At Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU Amsterdam), we provide three or four year research intensive PhD programs, or part time PhD programs with a duration above four years, organized in graduate schools of nine VU Amsterdam faculties (Faculty of Religion and Theology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Faculty of Humanities, Faculty of Sciences, Faculty of Law, Faculty of Behavioral and Movement Sciences, Medical Faculty, Faculty of Dentistry-ACTA and School of Business and Economics). We expect our doctoral graduates to become internationally engaged scientists with transferable skills and opportunities to plan a career in or outside academia.

We offer customized training and supervision with a strong emphasis on the development of research as well as professional skills such as the ability to work in teams and collaborate. In short, we wish to develop engaged and responsible academics and future professionals who constantly explore and push back the boundaries of existing knowledge. Our doctorates are internationally-oriented, multi and interdisciplinary, curiosity and results driven, creating an impact in science, society and economy.

Image 1 and 2: Introduction 2018 and 2019

An inspiring, diverse and caring university

We currently host around 2700 doctoral candidates from all over the World. 50% our total PhD candidate population are international. We take great pride in fostering and nurturing cultural diversity and stimulating integration in joint learning processes. Our VU International Office helps you with the visa application process and in finding relevant accommodation for you or your family.

We offer welcome and introduction modules for all new PhD candidates (see Image 1 and Image 2) and a bridging program to improve research, methodological and academic English writing skills prior to the official commencement of the program.

We believe in intensive research, transferable and disciplinary skills training throughout your PhD trajectory and offer a variety of courses, including courses in our summer and winter graduate schools.

Image 3 and 4: VU PhD Gatherings: Soccer - World championship, PhDrinks, pizza and Pubquiz.

Each PhD candidate also has an opportunity to participate in extensive career training which is conducted online or via ‘’Career Thursdays’’ workshops.

Upon registration, PhD candidates become a part of the PhD Association of the VU-VU PHD Gatherings. The association is very active, organizing diverse events each month from open discussions on doctoral education affairs with stakeholders to fun social events and group activities (see Images 3 and 4).

Further information and contacts

For more information about our doctoral programs and all relevant information please download our PhD Brochure 2020 or check our website You can also always email Sandra Hasanefendic, PhD (Director International PhD Recruitment, marketing and promotion) at for expression of interest and personal support in the process of application.

Come and meet us

If you would like to discuss the opportunity of doing a PhD at the VU Amsterdam please feel free to make an appointment or send an e-mail.
We are also open for possibilities of double and joined PhD degrees.

Go back to overview of professors and recruiters attending the PhD Workshop in Mexico-City.