PhD study

The Institute for Forecasting CSPS SAS, as an external educational institution, has an agreement on cooperation in carrying out doctoral programmes with two leading Slovak universities:

  • with the Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences of Comenius University in Bratislava in the study programme European Studies and Politics,
  • with the Faculty of National Economy, University of Economics in Bratislava in the study program Economics.

We want to encourage all those who have the desire and ambition to explore relevant societal issues in depth to consider applying to these PhD programmes. Both programmes are available in English.

We offer:

  • A quality programme with a focus on both content and the development of methodological skills,
  • topics at the forefront of European research with implications for public policy making and policy change,
  • the opportunity to work on international or national research projects,
  • strong support from the wider scientific community at both institutions in the research process and the development of scientific and academic skills, including publishing in peer-reviewed journals,
  • an attractive monthly stipend of €1,025.50 (net) (increases to €1,194 (net) after dissertation examination) and other means to carry out research, including financial support for methodological courses of international quality,
  • in case of excellent results, support in post-doctoral programmes of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, or the offer of a position in a stable scientific institution.


The following dissertation topics are available for the academic year 2024/2025 in the programme European Studies and Policies:

Local responses to emigration and diaspora engagement (Mgr., MA Lucia Mýtna Kureková, PhD.)

Annotation: Emigration is profoundly changing the socio-economic, political, and cultural landscape of countries and localities which have faced high level of citizen outflows. The possible negative impact on labour supply and the intensifying quest for talent has in recent years led many national governments in Europe and globally to engage in systematic efforts to incentivize return migration and uphold diaspora engagement. For the local governments, emigration effects might be felt even more intensively and touch a broad range of local policy domains, including the budget resources, provision of services, the labour market, and even local politics. In light of apparent skill and labour shortages across Slovakia, engagement with its citizens working abroad might present a viable option to deal with local challenges and support local development. While existing research has started analyzing national-level responses to emigration, local responses have not been systematically mapped and sufficiently understood. This dissertation will gather evidence about local level motivations, responses, approaches and strategies to engaging with citizens working abroad. It will seek to understand under what conditions and with what tools did/do local governments or other local actors (NGOs, firms) in emigration-prone municipalities in Slovakia reach out to its citizens temporarily or permanently (working) abroad. This research will rely on qualitative methods, using surveys, interviews, focus groups and other appropriate methodologies. 

Adaptation strategies to changing skills demand (Mgr., MA Lucia Mýtna Kureková, PhD.)

Annotation: Digital and green transition together with demographic transition bring about multidimensional, interconnected and complex social and economic challenges. These challenges are particularly pressing in Slovakia which belongs to countries with the highest risk of automation and digitisation, as well as a fast aging labour force. These transition processes have already impacted the organisation and functioning of national and local labour markets, which have been experiencing skill shortages and concurrent pressures to adapt to changing labour market demands. Rapid adaptation in terms of skills and knowledge is one specific aspect to which individuals, firms and governments at different levels need to respond. This dissertation will map and analyze skill adaptation approaches, responses and strategies in response to digital, green and demographic transitions by some or all relevant actors (individuals, firms and governments). The student will preferably learn and apply mixed methods research design, using both qualitative and quantitative methodologies, focusing on (but not limited to) Slovakia.

National decarbonisation targets and regional implications: Analysis of regional resilience, socio-economic factors and possibilities for interventions. (Mgr. Richard Filčák, MSc. PhD.)

Annotation: The transition to a carbon-neutral economy, which is planned in the EU by 2050, requires radical changes at the national and regional level. In its eighth Cohesion Report (European Commission 2022), it identified a set of challenges including demographic change, climate change, technological change and globalisation. These will affect regions and territories unevenly, leading to new disparities between Member States and between their regions. Each region has a different level of resistance to change, which is related to its historical development and socio-economic situation. In principle, we can distinguish between two dimensions of regional resilience (Boschma 2015). The first dimension concerns the ability of regions to cope with and cushion the negative effects of various shocks, such as economic crises, climate change, digitization (automation of jobs) or pandemics (such as COVID). The second dimension of regional resilience concerns the ability of regions to take advantage of new opportunities, which also bring with them shocks. For example, climate change encourages innovation, new investment and opens up new job opportunities in a wide range of activities such as water management, waste treatment, new energy sources (such as solar and wind energy), etc. Some regions have better potential than others to use such opportunities and develop new activities (industry, technology, jobs). The work will focus on investigating the following research questions:

  1. What factors influence and will influence regions in successfully diversifying in the field of new, innovative technologies and incorporating innovations into their economic and social development?
  2. What and how must the cohesion policy (domestic and European financial interventions) take into account in order to support the regions on this path and increase their resilience and ability to respond to emerging challenges?
  3. How can the state support broad-spectrum decarbonization and at the same time address the potential negative impact of factors such as globalization or automation?


The following dissertation topics are available for the academic year 2024/2025 in the programme Economics:

Socio-economic differentials in regions in Slovakia and its impact on family and fertility (doc. RNDr. Branislav Šprocha, PhD.)

Annotation: Socioeconomic conditions are one of the important factors in demographic reproduction, family, and household formation. The persistence of significant social and economic regional differences in Slovakia may be one of the reasons for the relatively large spatial differences in the formation and character of families, as well as fertility. The main goal of the work is to identify the main socio-economic differences of the regions of Slovakia and whether and to what extent these have an impact on the intensity and timing of fertility, as well as the structure of family households in Slovakia. The research question is whether the existing socioeconomic differences represent one of the decisive factors of different family and reproductive behaviour in Slovakia.

In the theoretical part, attention will be focused on questions related to research on the influence of socioeconomic conditions on family and reproductive behaviour. Subsequently, the issue of empirical identification of regional indicators of socioeconomic conditions, as well as tools for determining differences in terms of the intensity and timing of fertility and the size and structure of family households, will be elaborated, especially in the data conditions of Slovakia. By means of selected multidimensional statistical methods, the influence of individual determinants will be tested and subsequently constructed models allowing to explain the identified regional differences in the process of childbirth and the formation of families in Slovakia. Research into possible social and economic policies of the state that could affect these differences will also be an important research question.

The topic follows on the supervisor's research carried out as part of the VEGA projects: Temporal and spatial changes of family households in Slovakia and their possible factors, Ongoing transformation of family and reproductive behavior in Slovakia in a temporal and spatial aspect, and also APVV: Analysis and forecast of the demographic development of the Slovak Republic in the horizon 2080: identification and modelling of impacts on the socio-economic sphere at different spatial scales.


If you are interested in pursuing a PhD, please contact the supervisor via email. Information about the application procedure and dates of admission interviews for doctoral studies can be found on the FSEV UK and NHF EUBA website.