Apply to PhD position „The links between gentrification and socio-spatial segregation in cities”

The Chair of Human Geography of the Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Tartu is inviting applications from qualified and highly motivated students for a 4-year fully funded PhD position on the topic “The links between gentrification and socio-spatial segregation in cities”. The PhD position starts in September 2021. The Chair of Human Geography offers a young, enthusiastic and open-minded work collective, an excellent work environment, family-friendly work arrangements, and opportunities for continuous further training. The main supervisors of the PhD project will be Prof. Tiit Tammaru, Dr. Kadri Leetmaa and Dr. Kadi Kalm. Additional supervisors are possible depending on the exact research interests of the selected applicant.


The University of Tartu (UT) is Estonia’s leading centre of research and training. The University of Tartu belongs to the top 1.2% of world’s best universities. UT accounts for more than a half of all the doctoral degrees conferred, research publications, and national R&D financing in Estonia.

The Chair of Human Geography in the Department of Geography (, headed by Prof. academician Tiit Tammaru, has a long-term experience in applying quantitative research methodology, and working with register data and mobile phone data. Research takes primarily place in the two research centres, Centre for Migration and Urban Studies (CMUS) ( and Mobility Lab (ML) ( These centres focus on high quality teaching and research in the fields of social and economic geography, population geography, and spatial planning.

The current PhD position is related to the Estonian Research Council financed project “Understanding the Vicious Circles of Segregation. A Geographic Perspective” (PRG306, 1.01.2019−31.12.2023, annual budget of 185,000, PI Tiit Tammaru). For information about our team and the project, please use the following website link:

Job description

Research on spatial inequalities and fragmentation of urban societies receive persistent attention worldwide. Rising levels of segregation threaten the sustainability of urban areas and give rise to social marginality. Residential segregation and inequalities between different population groups may have significant impacts on people’s lives and opportunities. Thus, it has become more and more important to understand the processes that cause and shape residential segregation. It has been indicated that there is a linkage between segregation and gentrification processes, however, there is no clear understanding of this and clarification is needed about the impacts of gentrification on contemporary segregation patterns. The present PhD project contributes to this gap and questions whether and on what conditions do the displacement mechanisms of gentrification provide explanation for the social, age and ethnic homogenisation of post-socialist neighbourhoods

This PhD position provides an excellent opportunity for a highly motivated PhD student to work in an international team of researchers on a cutting-edge social science topic and applying advanced quantitative methods to longitudinal data. Research is based on large-scale individual and longitudinal national databases, censuses (linked 1989, 2000 and 2011 censuses) and register data, surveys. Additionally, there is a possibility to apply additional qualitative data sources, as well as innovative mobile phone data depending also on the interests of the PhD candidate. The availability of individual level longitudinal data since 1989 (or before the systemic change after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991) offers a unique quasi-experimental research for the whole population for understanding how segregation gets transmitted between different contexts. The primary research region is Tallinn metropolitan area.

The PhD thesis will consist of a minimum of 3 articles (including at least one first-authored) in international scientific journals, an introduction and a discussion, and will be written in English. Presentations at (inter)national conferences are part of the job as well. Teaching will take up 15% of time.


Applicants are expected to meet the following eligibility criteria:

1) A master’s degree in any area of social, educational, environmental sciences or economics (including statistics and applied mathematics) to be completed before 1 September 2021.

2) Interest in research on segregation, inequalities and gentrification as well as application of advanced quantitative methods in social sciences. Coding skills are an advantage (e.g. in R, Stata or SAS), but not required.

3) Good writing skills and fluency in English.

The following skills will be an advantage—experience in academic writing, conceptual capacity and abstract reasoning with the desire and capacity to relate theoretical topics to practical challenges and solutions, communicative skills (presenting), planning and organizing, teamwork, enthusiasm. Previous experience or proven interest in the project related research fields would be an advantage.

Conditions of employment

The selected candidate will first be appointed for a period of 12 months. Prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that a successful completion of the PhD thesis within the next three years is to be expected.

The University of Tartu offers a basic net salary of € 12,720 per year (1060 per month) during the first year, based on a full-time position (1.0 FTE). In addition, other scholarship opportunities and research training support opportunities are possible. There are no tuition fees. Housing costs are low in Tartu, starting from 150 EUR/month in student dormitories, and ragning between 250-400 EUR on private rental market.


Candidates must submit an application electronically between May 1, 2021 up until May 15, 2021 23:59 Europe/Tallinn time. More information about the submission of the documents Please note that a proof of English language proficiency at a satisfactory level has to be provided After you have submitted all the needed documents, please let Ms Madli-Johanna Maidla ( know about that so we could check if everything is fine with the submission. Shortlisted applicants will be asked for the interview. Skype interviews are possible.

For inquiries about the PhD position, please contact Ms Madli-Johanna Maidla ( For practical questions and inquiries related to the application procedure please contact Please include ‘PhD vacancy’ in the subject line of your email.

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