PhD Programme on Innovation, Economics and Governance for Development (IEGD)

The PhD programme is a multidisciplinary course offered by UNU-MERIT and its School of Governance. The programme focuses on research skills and methods, training fellows to become both scholars and practitioners in the fields of governance and the economics of technology. During their first year, fellows complete a basic, compulsory training programme conducted by leading scholars of the host and partner universities. These courses are taught in Maastricht and spread across two semesters. Taught entirely in English, this is an annual Maastricht-based programme which starts on 1 September. At the end of the programme, the doctoral degree is awarded by Maastricht University upon successful defence of the thesis.

Dual Career Training Programme to obtain a PhD in Governance and Policy Analysis (GPAC²)

Combining a PhD degree with a full-time job? The Dual Career Training Programme to obtain a PhD in Governance and Policy Analysis (GPAC²) offers courses, seminars and workshops that support the ambitions and intensify the research and analytical skills of the fellows. The programme meets the needs and availability of researchers with a full-time/part-time job, allowing the participants to combine their careers with obtaining a PhD. The GPAC² programme is designed to provide advanced training in theory and skills that are crucial to policy analysis and design. The research fits into one of the School’s research themes. The key lecturers of the programme are leading scholars in the field of policy analysis and the related areas like governance, risk management, sustainable development and social protection. The Dual Career Training Programme to obtain a PhD in Governance and Policy Analysis (GPAC²) is taught in English and consists of a common first year of training, followed by yearly workshops.

Master of Science in Public Policy and Human Development

One-year Master’s programme with several specialisations to choose from, including Social Protection Policy. The programme serves various groups of students, ranging from bachelor’s students to mid-career professionals. UNU-MERIT and its School of Governance aim to recruit students with strong academic records, a demonstrated commitment to public (international) affairs and/or an outstanding potential for career growth and leadership. In this programme, you will be trained in formulating, implementing, monitoring and evaluating policy in order to be able to give recommendations for improving or replacing ongoing policies. Students are provided with a variety of skills, tools and knowledge which will enable them to work as policy designers and policy analysts in public and private institutions.

The Master Programme in Public Policy and Human Development is organised in such a way that students can also enrol in the separate courses. Students receive a certificate and credits for every course completed successfully.

International Social Protection Studies Programme

We have been a partner in the International Social Protection Studies Programme, led by the Universities of Heidelberg and Hanoi, since 2007. Participants are trained both in Asia as well as in various locations around Europe. In Maastricht, we host and train one short course covering the fields of public policy design and analysis, with a focus on pensions, health and social assistance during a training period lasting 4 weeks. Recently, this programme became a fully-fledged International Master of Science in Social Protection led by the Universities of Heidelberg and Hanoi.


The UNU-MERIT course on the Design and Evaluation of Innovation Policies (DEIP) is an intensive one-week course for policymakers in science, technology and innovation policy in developing countries and for participants from the private sector involved in strategic decision-making about technology and innovation. The programme aims to meet the growing demand from developing countries for support in analysing the latest technological developments and designing appropriate responses and policies tailored to their specific development contexts. The target population of the course consists of senior and middle level officials of Ministries of Science and Technology, Ministries of Industry, Ministries of Economic Affairs and other technology supporting institutions as well as representatives from the private sector involved in science and technology policy issues. The course focuses on the theory and practice of innovation policy, on policy design, policy implementation, on the measurement and monitoring of innovative performance and on the evaluation of the outcomes of innovation policies. Courses are planned jointly with host organisations in developing countries.

Evidence-Based Policy Research Methods

Developing competence and specific skills to effectively perform evidence-based academic or policy-oriented research is essential for knowledge creation and decision-making, whether in business, government or civil society. The Evidence-Based Policy Research Methods (EPRM) course, offered by UNU-MERIT and its School of Governance aims to equip participants with the fundamental tools for designing and analysing evidence-based research. EPRM has been designed with working professionals in mind. By offering a blended course, with online and face-to-face modules, the course allows participants to update their research skills with minimal obstruction to existing commitments. EPRM also offers a specialised module that is selected by participants based on their research interest.

Online courses

UNU-MERIT and its School of Governance provide courses for professionals and scholars from all over the world in policy analysis, risk assessment, policy design, policy monitoring, policy evaluation and methods and techniques of policy research. Considering the needs of participants and increasing time constraints, we offer innovative and collaborative learning programs in a lifelong learning setting. Our online learning programmes provide a comprehensive combination of up-to-date theoretical insights, modern educational tools, technical and social skills and sector specific knowledge to put theory into practice.