PhD student MSCA-Doctoral Network REWORLDING with a background or strong interest in Urban Design and Transitions

Your function

What is the aim of the REWORLDING network? 

Ecological issues are experienced differently by different actors, communities and organisations, possibly leading to societal polarisation and inhibiting urgently needed actions around these issues. As Participatory Design (PD) researchers, we observe a need for design approaches that can bring diverse actors together to tackle these challenges in participatory ways, with particular attention to those who remain silent, both as human and non-human actors (e.g. plants, rivers and insects). The REWORLDING network aims to investigate and outline such a careful and situated PD approach that can better understand and create synergies between the different worlds in which people live and work, and the more-than-human worlds they are entangled with. The REWORLDING network will host 11 DCs who will each focus on a specific research topic. Will you become one of them?

What is the focus of this particular PhD project? 

This project engages with the built environment, in places where the need or desire for a more fundamental, systemic transition is evident (flooding, drought, socio-economic fragility, energy transition, …) . The researcher will engage in participatory ways with one or more of such contexts through a Living Lab approach to investigate the methods for a structural and step-by-step transformation of these places in inclusive and sustainable ways. The candidate will research and design new roleplays between different societal stakeholders, and new participatory approaches and/or design-driven processes will be developed and tested during this PhD, contributing to the toolbox we need to successfully realize place-based system change and transition. If you start this PhD trajectory, you will have the opportunity - with this focus as a starting point - to develop your own research story together with your supervisors and within the context of the European REWORLDING network (including all the knowledge and international training opportunities offered to you within the network).


(1) Perform Participatory Action Research (PAR) within a pilot setting of transdisciplinary transformation of built environments for socio-ecological sustainability. (2) Identify, structure and advance tools, settings and methods that connect local communities’ aspirations with governmental transition ambitions, to envision diverse co-ownership and collaboration models. (3) Formulate the structural criteria and components of socio-environmental infrastructures and working methods to activate integrated local action and transformation.

Expected Results

(1)Participatory Design report on structural criteria and components in place-based system change of the built environment in Belgium; (2) Collection and description of design practices and strategies for connecting between stakeholders in community-driven and transdisciplinary spatial transformation;

(3) Co-design of reworlding tools and typologies for co-ownership and collaboration in place-based system change.

Planned secondment(s)

(1) Architecture Workroom Brussels(AWB): PhD with strong foundation in practice through secondment and close collaboration with Architecture Workroom Brussels. AWB is an independent not-for-profit innovation house for the transformation of the social and physical living environment. AWB’s mission is to incubate new types of transformation projects, coalitions and processes that can help address societal challenges and realize transitions. Two examples of  Living Labs on systemic transformations that have kicked off since 2023: Living Lab Energy – Muide Meulestede Ghent and Living Lab Water – Herk and Mombeek. This article on AWB’s website gives a glimpse of its societal position and overall methodological action-based research approach:The next big thing will be a lot of small things.

(2) The doctoral candidate will have the option to select an additional non-academic or academic secondment to learn and gain hands-on experience about design-in-dialogue for community-driven socio-ecological transition.

MSCA Eligibility criteria
To be eligible for this position, you must not have resided or carried out your main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Belgium for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before the recruitment date (estimated around October 2024). Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention are not taken into account. You can not already be in possession of a doctoral degree at the date of the recruitment.


Upload a brief research plan (max 3000 words) with your application (upload the file in the online application module before submitting your application). The research plan must contain an overall purpose, questions that the project intends to answer, an account of the methodological approach, a description of material collection and type of research material and an account of the theoretical framework. The research plan should explicitly address how the project will be relevant to the theme of the REWORLDING network and the specific research project, described above.

Your team

REWORLDING invites applications for 11 Doctoral Candidates (DCs) to write a doctoral thesis on Participatory Design (PD) and to participate in an international and interdisciplinary training network of 6 academic and non-academic beneficiaries and 10 partner organisations across Europe. REWORLDING is a EU-funded Marie-Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Doctoral Network that provides high-level training to doctoral researchers. Successful DCs will be employed by a host institution and will enjoy the opportunity to take on secondments within the REWORLDING training network. As a DC, you will work on your own research project and work together with your fellow DCs and the consortium on important overarching questions through cross-discipline collaborations.

More information about the REWORLDING project:

The DC who will start this PhD project will be hosted by Hasselt University, Faculty of Architecture and Arts, research group ArcK -  Spatial Capacity Building. 

More information:

Your talents

  • You hold a Master of (interior) Architecture or Design (or equivalent)
  • Your academic results are excellent.
  • You are interested in interdisciplinary research and have strong analytical skills.
  • You can work independently and as part of a team.
  • You have strong communication skills and are fluent in English (speaking and writing).
  • You agree to do the foreseen secondment(s).
  • You can demonstrate the necessary (participatory) design skills, clearly stated in your CV and/or portfolio uploaded with the application.
  • You can demonstrate your affinity with the research topic through a brief research plan (max 3000 words) uploaded with the application.
  • You can be of any nationality, but have to comply with the MSCA eligibility criteria.
  • You are willing to take on teaching assignments to a limited extent.

Our offer for you

You will be appointed and paid as PhD student.
PhD scholarship for 2 x 2 years with mid-term evaluation.

Apply for this position

The selection procedure consists of a preselection based on application file and an interview.
The interviews will take place in the week of 02.09.24.

Apply now
Apply up to 25.08.2024

Question about this vacancy?

For substantive questions, send an e-mail to For questions about the selection procedure, please email

Hasselt University works to ensure that everyone is welcome, feels at home, and can do their best at our university. The diverse talents of our students and staff are a precious resource for our community and the engine of our future prosperity. Diversity of experiences and perspectives enriches our education, strengthens our research and increases our social impact. As a civic university, Hasselt University seeks to set a good example in the region in terms of diversity and inclusion. With our focus on justice and nondiscrimination, we are working together for a diverse and inclusive Hasselt University.

UHasselt does not accept any discrimination in terms of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, age, family situation or dependent children; disability; culture, religion/ideology; skin colour, ethnic origin; socio-economic background or situation.

Prof. dr. Liesbeth HUYBRECHTS

Associate Professor