I want to apply for a PhD position in Computer Science in a particular subarea (in Europe). Now I've been observing the PhD vacancies for quite a while. The number of PhD vacancies in the subarea (together with some personal criteria) is about one vacancy per two weeks. Given the infrequent number of PhD positions, what is the best thing I can do on top of applying? I was thinking of doing the following (or a combination of the following):
- Contact the professors I know in the subarea or related areas.
- Contact professors I do not know in the subarea or related areas.
- Contact PhD students of research groups I am interested in in the particular subarea.
- Apply to all the interesting PhD positions.
- Send out open applications for funded PhD positions.
- Focus on projects related to the subarea I am interested in.
What is your advice? What strategy did you use to start at a PhD position?