CERES offers a basic PhD training programme of 17.5 ECTS to an international group of PhD students who are doing their PhD studies (for the majority) in the Netherlands.  Participants come from both the Global South and Europe, making it an extremely diverse group. This contributes to the uniqueness of the program. Despite the diversity of its participants – both geographic and disciplinary, the group shares an essential characteristic:  the candidates are all social scientists working from a development perspective.

CERES preferably enrols candidates at the inception of their PhD trajectories. Its programme aims to increase the skills and knowledge required for writing a viable, implementable and academic research proposal. The programme consists of a coherent set of theoretical and methodological modules, interspersed with hands-on interactive exercises aimed at applying the newly acquired knowledge to one’s individual project. The modules, ranging from 1, 4, and 8 days are spaced at different intervals within a four month period. This provides the candidates time to continue to work on their proposal in between module sessions. Upon completion of the CERES programme, candidates will have developed confidence in their own abilities as a researcher as well as an understanding of PhD procedures and requirements. Moreover, they will have a workable research proposal in hand, and a network of fellow students with whom they have developed working relationships.

The CERES training course offers a unique learning experience. Candidates benefit from their exchanges within this heterogeneous group, becoming acquainted with diverse academic traditions, as well as gaining multidisciplinary insights into contemporary development issues, debates and methodologies.

CERES generally does not meet all of the candidates’ schooling needs. Depending on the candidate’s background or the specific nature of his/her research project, the candidate may need supplementary training. Such training may be sought at various university graduate schools in the Netherlands.

CERES does not assume the role of PhD supervisor, leaving this essential task to its member institutions. Instead, it provides training services that support the PhD candidate in his/her learning curve, and assist in making the PhD period a successful one.