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Call for PhD Dissertation Proposals

Department of Architecture, Delft University of Technology

Academic Year 2023-2024

Session #13

Friday 21 June 2024


Under the auspices of the Graduate School of the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Delft University of Technology, the architectural research group ‘Borders & Territories’ (B&T) invites PhD dissertation proposals to help expand its doctoral portfolio.

B&T is part of the Department of Architecture’s research program and is coordinated by program director dr. Marc Schoonderbeek. Current research members are, amongst others, Alper Alkan, Filip Geerts, Stefano Milani, dr. Negar Sanaan Bensi, dr. Heidi Sohn, and dr. Aleksandar Stanicic. We invite all interested academic and/or professional candidates who are qualified to pursue PhD-level research work aligned with the B&T group’s research agenda.

The B&T program offers a rich and challenging environment that provides rewarding research experience. The group consists of diverse, international academics and professional architects. The B&T research group facilitates in-depth, independent research work that relates to the major themes of the B&T’s program as well as educational activities.

For the new round of PhD candidacies, the B&T program will accept and consider proposals that will contribute to B&T’s existing research portfolio, based on two specific and pre-defined topics. The successful candidates will be expected to contribute innovative, leading-edge research work to the B&T group.


Concerning architecture as embodying complex physical and spatial phenomena, and socio-political conditions shaped by a complex milieu, the B&T’s overall research modalities comprise: (1) the analysis and critique of philosophical, cultural, social, political and aesthetic value systems that influence the production of architectural construct; and (2) the theorization of instrumental and indexical qualities inherent in architectural construct. In addition, the B&T emphasizes the trans-disciplinary approach that connects architecture to other related disciplines such as urbanism, engineering, aesthetics, critical theory, media studies, social science, and so forth.

The B&T research currently outlines two main areas of research: (1) the role of borders in spaces of conflict and conflicts of space; and (2) the context and situated-ness of architectural construct and form conceived as territorial entity.

B&T’s studies approach the architectural construct not as coherent singularity that continues a historical discursive tradition, but as a precursor of ‘now’ discourse. The basic premise behind the view is that the catalogue of possible architectural forms is neither complete nor exhausted. Therefore, ‘other’ possibilities of architecture should be addressed by speculating on the relevance of the appropriation, implementation and application of methods and instruments that have been external to the historical disciplinary core (cartography, literature, art, philosophy); and the constructs and objects that have not been considered as architectural ‘material’ as such in the historical sense of the discipline.


For the new round of this Open Call for PhD Proposals, the B&T group has outlined two research topics, each constituting a potential contribution to its research portfolio. Both research trajectories are formulated more generally and address the categories of the outlined B&T research areas.

  • PhD Trajectory #01:

Border Architectures

  • PhD Trajectory #02:

Territory Tactics

For complete information, consult the attached pdf:

Download PDF • 142KB


Every PhD candidate will conduct scholarly research and other related activities. The candidates will be fully integrated into the B&T research staff, working closely with its members. The research group will provide a collaborative platform for gaining extensive experience and skills for independent research work.

The successful candidates must be able to:

  1. situate the dissertation within the B&T’s research interests;

  2. illustrate clearly the hypothesis and the theoretical framework the dissertation seeks to explicate;

  3. demonstrate the proposed dissertation’s value and contribution to the existing discourse;

  4. elaborate on the ambition of the research work.

The PhD track will commence with a 1.5 year probationary period, during which the candidate will submit to a peer-review process, the so-called GoNoGo after approximately 1 year. The review panel of both external and internal jurors will evaluate the research work for its quality and rigor. When the research work is deemed satisfactory, the track will be extended for an additional period of 2.5 years. We expect completion of a PhD thesis in approximately four years in total. The B&T research group will appoint the promoter, co- promoter as well as daily supervisor. Please note that TU Delft does not provide financial support and that the candidate has to demonstrate the availability of funding to sustain her/himself during the PhD research.

All specific conditions will be determined according to the TU Delft’s Doctorate Regulations and the Graduate School rules, to be found on:

Additional Graduate School requirements are described online:


Cover letter (one A4 or US Letter page)

The applicant should elaborate on the personal motivations, interests, and aspirations behind pursuing a PhD degree and describe the qualifications. The applicant should explicitly argue how the proposal is closely aligned with the B&T’s research interests. Specify one or more general areas of focus and elaborate on how the applicant’s research proposal pertains to those areas.

Full CV

The CV should contain comprehensive chronological information on your academic and professional experience, as well as any pertinent record of publication. (Do not include any information prior to the first year of your university-level education.)

Research Précis

The précis should include the following:

I. Provisional Title: this should form a general introduction to the project, framing it conceptually and/or thematically.

II. Abstract: Short summary (300-500 words), including keywords.

III. Question(s)/Hypothesis, Aims and Goals: Clearly and succinctly spell out the question(s) or hypothesis that drive your research and carefully articulate the aims and ambitions of your proposed study.

IV. Preliminary outline: describe the overall intended structure of the PhD research and explain how it will address your question(s)/hypothesis.

V. Disciplinary Approach: Introduce your research methodology and position it in its larger disciplinary (or cross/or inter/or trans-disciplinary) framework.

VI. Research significance: Explain why this research is relevant and original, and explain its overall contribution to the discourse of architecture. In addition, carefully position the proposed research within the framework of the B&T research program.

VII. Preliminary Bibliography.

VIII. Addendum: (e.g. letter of Motivation, portfolio-type information) This can include anything you find relevant to advancing a clear picture of yourself as a potential PhD candidate – an example might be a published text.

Document Length: The first draft research should be limited to +/- 2500 words (exclusive bibliography & addendum).


All the above-mentioned items must be consolidated in one PDF file of no more than 30 pages and 20 MB. Please name the PDF file as: Lastname_keyword.pdf (e.g. Smith_Neomodern.pdf).


The deadline for submission is 15 June 2024, 12PM.


dr. Marc Schoonderbeek []


The senior members of the B&T research group and a representative of the departmental research council will first screen the proposals for qualification. After the initial screening, the reviewers will assemble a short list of candidates and invite them for a presentation. Based on the results, the B&T research group and a representative of the departmental research council will decide whether they will accept the selected candidate as a PhD or not. In certain cases, the Department of Architecture may ask the candidate to answer additional questions and revise the proposal for a follow-up meeting before a decision is made.


Invitation: 4 April 2024

Submission: 17 June 2024

Interview and Presentation: 24 June 2024

Notification of Acceptance: 1 July 2024

Start of Research Work: September 2024 (subject to meeting our GS requirements)

One-Year Peer-Review: September 2025

Completion: September 2028


For further information on the Borders & Territories program:

For further information about the Graduate School A+BE:

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Call for PhD Dissertation Proposals

Department of Architecture, Delft University of Technology Academic Year 2023-2024 Session #13 Friday 21 June 2024 INTRODUCTION Under the auspices of the Graduate School of the Faculty of Architecture


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