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Blindern og Urbygningen (Foto: Wikimedia og Colourbox)
Blindern og Urbygningen (Foto: Wikimedia og Colourbox)

Postdoctoral Fellow / Assistant Professor on Autocratic Politics

Deadline: 15.10.2020

Universitetet i Oslo

The University of Oslo is Norway’s oldest and highest ranked educational and research institution, with 28 000 students and 7000 employees. With its broad range of academic disciplines and internationally recognised research communities, UiO is an important contributor to society.


The Department of Political Science is a part of the Faculty of Social Sciences and conducts research, teaching and dissemination. The Department currently has 33 permanent academic staff members, 13 research fellows conducting PhDs, six postdoctoral fellows and ten administrative employees. About 1100 students are currently enrolled in Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD study programmes in political science, as well as the interdisciplinary Bachelor’s degree programmes in International Studies and Public Administration and Leadership, and the Master’s degree programme in Peace and Conflict Studies. The department is the host of C-REX Center for Research on Extremism.

Job description

The Department of Political Science wants to recruit 2 excellent social scientists with a background from Political Science or closely related fields such as Economics or Sociology. The successful applicants will work full time as a Postdoctoral Fellow (Assistant Professor). One successful applicant will work on the ERC Consolidator Grant project ‘The Emergence, Life, and Demise of Autocratic Regimes’ (ELDAR). The other successful applicant will work on the Research Council Norway FRIPRO project ‘Policies of Dictatorships’ (PoD). Both appointments are for a fixed, non-tenured term of 4 years with a 25% requirement for teaching . This means that 75 % of the working time over four years is devoted to research.

ELDAR will investigate three aspects of autocratic politics: 1) the emergence of autocratic regimes; 2) policy-making (“life”) in autocracies in the areas of education, infrastructure and industrial policy, social policies, and media regulation; 3) autocratic regime breakdown. In doing so, ELDAR will address the preferences and capacities of vital actors in autocratic politics – the leader, regime support groups, and mobilized opposition groups. Team members will also study the specific, and diverse, institutions that underpin autocracies.

PoD will investigate specific contents of policies pursued in dictatorships, and consider the origins and effects of such policies on regime stability and change. Specifically, it covers three areas: 1. policies and strategies for repressing domestic actors; 2. security policies and decisions on interstate war and peace; 3. cooptation policies in the areas of construction, higher education, and labor market regulation and social policies.

The projects are led by Professor Carl Henrik Knutsen. ELDAR runs from 2020-2025 and PoD from 2020-2024. Both projects will be part of the Department’s internationally leading research group on Comparative Institutions and Regimes (CIR). We encourage applicants to read about the projects and project teams in the two project proposals: ELDAR proposal; PoD proposal

The main purpose of the fellowship is to qualify researchers for work in higher academic positions within their disciplines.

Qualification requirements

A comprehensive assessment of the applicant's scientific qualifications forms the basis of appointment.

Applicants must hold a degree equivalent to a Norwegian doctoral degree (Ph.D) in Political Science or a closely related discipline before taking up the post. For applicants who have yet to receive their PhD degree, the Doctoral dissertation must have been submitted for evaluation before the application deadline (October 15, 2020). Such applicants should note the date of submission of their Phd in the cover letter. Appointment is dependent on the public defense of the doctoral thesis being approved.

Candidates with a record of a high-quality publication, especially in a leading peer-reviewed international journal, will be prioritized. However, the length of the applicant’s research career (discounted for parental leave, etc.) will be taken into account when considering the number of such publications: The intention is to recruit the person that has the best prospects for contributing to the project’s research outputs by publishing research of the highest quality over the coming 4-year period.

The candidate should, in the cover letter (maximum 2 pages), briefly explain how his/her research profile and agenda will contribute to the overall goals of one or both of the projects, including one or more of the suggested datasets or papers outlined in the research proposals (links above). The applicant should further detail additional suggested contributions in the form of one or two research ideas in an accompanying research proposal (maximum 2 pages). Applicants should note in the cover letter which project (ELDAR or PoD) they are primarily interested in being hired on, but all applicants will be considered for both positions.

While not necessary, candidates with prior research experience on one or more of the topics covered in ELDAR or PoD will be at an advantage. Applicants with formal modelling or methods skills relevant for the projects (see project proposals) will have an advantage.

Other desired qualifications and experiences include experiences with previous systematic data collection efforts, either in individual or collective projects, strong administrative and organizational skills, very good command of English, and programming and statistical software skills. Finally, the applicants' teaching experiences and qualifications and personal suitability for the position will be taken into consideration.

Postdoctoral fellows who are appointed for a period of four years are expected to acquire “basic pedagogical competency” in the course of their fellowship period within the teaching duty component of 25 %.

We offer

How to apply

The application must include the following items:

  • A cover letter (max 2 pages, incl. statement of motivation, summarizing research interests, and how the applicant will contribute to ELDAR and/or PoD)
  • A project description (max 2 pages; if cover letter and project description are merged, the maximum is 4 pages)
  • A CV summarizing education, positions, pedagogical experience, administrative experience, and other qualifying activities
  • A complete list of publications
  • Copies of educational certificates (academic transcripts only)
  • Up to 3 academic works that the applicant wishes to be considered due to their quality or relevance for the projects. The 3 works should include at least one single-authored piece and at least one published journal article.
  • List of reference persons: 2 or 3 references (name, relation to candidate, e-mail, and phone number)

The application with attachments must be delivered via our electronic recruiting system. Foreign applicants are advised to attach an explanation of their University's grading system. Please note that all documents should be in English.

The application deadline is 15 October 2020.

The screening and evaluation of the candidates will begin immediately and a short-list will be ready in late November. Interviews will be held in December. The positions will be awarded from January 2021.

Formal regulations

Please see the guidelines and regulations for appointments to Postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Oslo.

No one can be appointed for more than one Postdoctoral Fellow period at the University of Oslo.

According to the Norwegian Freedom of Information Act (Offentleglova) information about the applicant may be included in the public applicant list, also in cases where the applicant has requested non-disclosure.

The University of Oslo has an agreement for all employees, aiming to secure rights to research results etc.

The University of Oslo aims to achieve a balanced gender composition in the workforce and to recruit people with ethnic minority backgrounds.

Contact information

  • PI of ELDAR and PoD and Research Group Leader CIR, Prof. Carl Henrik Knutsen, phone nr: +47 228 54244, e-mail: [email protected]

Please also feel free to contact any of the other project members if you have questions pertaining to specific sections of the project, as outlined in the project proposal.

Questions regarding the electronic application form should be sent to personnel officer Helle Fritzsønn; [email protected]

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