First and foremost, people are attracted to ECCO because of their enthusiasm for our research philosophy, i.e. the very broad and deep, transdisciplinary perspective on how complex, intelligent systems emerge and evolve. Most present ECCO researchers have joined because they found an open-mindedness and depth of thinking here that is rare in other academic institutions, and because they didn't quite see where else their own ideas might fit in. However, enthusiasm and motivation, while definitely helpful, is not sufficient to engage in international-level research.
Since it was announced on the Principia Cybernetica Webpage, our program offering interdisciplinary PhDs has to some degree become the victim of its own success, attracting more candidates than we can comfortably handle. (in 2004 alone not less than 5 new PhD students joined ECCO, and many more applied). Our research center is not yet large enough to provide much supervision, infrastructure or financial support. This means that we have to be very selective in accepting further PhD candidates.
We give preference to the people that best satisfy the following general criteria:
These criteria are fuzzy and to some degree subjective. It is unlikely that any one candidate would perfectly fit all requirements. However, a high score on some criteria (e.g. exceptional intellectual capacities) may to some degree compensate for failing to fulfil another criterion (e.g. lack of independent financial support). Therefore, these criteria should not be seen as strict admission requirements, but rather as guidelines that will help candidates estimate how well they fit the profile.
If you think you recognize yourself in this profile, and moreover seem to fulfil the formal requirements for admission as a PhD student at the VUB, you can apply in the following way:
If your application appears to fit with the general profile, you will be invited for a personal meeting at the center, so that we can talk in more depth about your and our research ideas, and get to know you in the flesh. If here too our impression is positive, we will immediately start discussing the practical issues that need to be tackled for you to start working in ECCO.