Completion of a PhD in development of economics can lead to different types of careers and professional positions in the field of development studies or international cooperation. There are essentially three types of career in development, namely:
A research position in academia or in the private and public sectors may be an exciting possibility after the PhD. Working as a researcher makes possible to further the understanding of issues and policies related to economic development and follow up the previous work developed during the PhD. Although research is typically associated to the academic career, these research positions exist outside University as well, at several levels, in private research institutes, think tanks, development NGOs and international development agencies. There is thus a large spectrum of opportunities for people who want to continue researching, ranging from research institutions based in Tuscany, including the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre (IRC) or the European University Institute (EUI), to national and international research organisations concerned with development.
- Technical expert
The expertise on specific topics built by the PhD student over the three-year programme can be also valuable to work as a technical expert in a particular field, including public health, education, food security, water and sanitation, institutional reform and migration. A technical expert generally work on specific projects funded by international organisations, like the World Bank, the UN agencies and EuropeAid, governmental donor agencies, including the Italian department for international development (DGCS), the British DfID, the Canadian SIDA and the American USAid, or non-governmental agencies, such as Oxfam International, Save the Children, Relief International and various local development organisations in the developing world. Technical experts generally work on short or long-term assignments in the country where the projects are based, which implies living in poor or even post-conflict regions.
- Project advisor or administrator
A position in project management enables the person to contribute to the operational activities of development projects without spending so much time in the field. Working on the management side of development projects involves different kinds of duties like writing funding proposals and expense reports, coordinating all the different aspects of the project implementation, but also analysing empirical data and publishing project assessment reports. These roles can be held at different levels in development NGOs, governmental organisations and international development agencies, either as an external consultant or with a proper professional contract. The research, writing and organisational skills acquired in the course of the PhD provide an excellent basis for this type of career as well.