PhD Research Fellowship in sport’s leadership and democracy

Deadline: 10.08.2024

Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences

Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences (INN University) is home to over 16,000 students and 1,500 employees, and has campuses in Lillehammer, Hamar, Elverum, Rena, Evenstad and Blæstad.

INN University aspires to build strong and enduring academic and research environments that will spearhead regionally, nationally and internationally. We are developing a new and better institution with high academic and pedagogical quality, aiming at achieving university accreditation.

Our vision is "Stronger Together".

Inland School of Business and Social Sciences invites candidates to apply for a PhD Research Fellowship in sport’s leadership and democracy

About the position

Inland School of Business and Social SciencesThe PhD programme Innovation in Services in the Public and Private Sectors (INSEPP), invites candidates to apply for a four-year PhD research fellowship, which includes 25% teaching duties. The candidate will contribute to the broad field of innovation studies, focusing specifically on democratic innovations in organizational management and enhanced participation of stakeholders in decision-making.

The purpose of the PhD Research Fellowship for the admitted candidate is to undergo a research training programme that leads to the successful completion of a doctoral degree. The candidate must apply to the PhD programme INSEPP and is expected to participate actively in INSEPP’s activities.The candidate will be part of the Department of Organisation, Leadership and Management. In addition to INSEPP, this milieu represents a valuable resource to the PhD studies. There are also various research groups that the candidate can participate in.

Depending on the faculty`s needs, and the candidate`s competence and preferences, employment can be made for a three-year position without teaching duties.

The place of work for this position is the Lillehammer Campus.

Project Overview

The PhD candidates will be a part of an international team of innovation researchers at INN University and integrated into the research group Lillehammer Olympic and Paralympic Studies Centre (LOSC). The project is part of the LOSC’s four-year plan, and the prospective PhD candidate would contribute to the teaching, researching, and networking within the research group. The predefined project is under the supervision of Associate Professor Svein Erik Nordhagen and Associate Professor (Professor II) Jörg Krieger. The PhD candidate will also collaborate with the Research Unit Sport and Body Culture at Aarhus University. In addition, the project foresees a research stay abroad at an external institution.

The principle of democracy is currently tested on several levels in an international sporting context, coinciding with a discernible decline in liberal democratic values worldwide. Notably, sport organizations are exhibiting a return to hierarchical decision-making, athletes are challenging established power structures within the global sport system, and sportswashing is contributing to the erosion of liberal democratic values in diplomatic relations between states. Thus, sport leaders must face those issues and are forced to redefine democratic processes in the future. In short, innovations are required to realign the international sport system.

Against this background, the PhD project seeks to critically explore the implementation of democratic principles within an international sporting framework. The primary objective is to investigate norms, challenges, and strategies involved in incorporating democratic principles into policymaking within the realm of international sports. By fostering a conceptual and empirical understanding of democracy in sports, this project aims to provide both the academic community and sports practitioners with insights into how democratic innovations can effectively address the current challenges facing global sports. Utilizing qualitative research methods, the successful candidate will have the opportunity to work within the outlined framework while also exploring their own unique ideas and perspectives.

Potential dimensions for exploration, depending on the candidate's prior experiences and interests, include:(1) Examining the historical evolution of democracy within international sports and assessing the relevance of established norms and values in contemporary society.(2) Evaluating participatory and deliberative models of democracy from a political science perspective and considering their potential as alternative innovations for the global sport system.(3) Investigating the effective implementation of democratic innovations at the management level, considering the international framework within which sport leaders operate.


  • The person to be appointed must have a master’s degree with relevance for the announced position. This could be in the fields of sport science (with a focus on the humanities), political science, innovation, management, or other relevant fields.
  • The master’s degree must be composed of 120 ECTS, including a master's thesis of at least 30 ECTS cf. As a general rule, the average grade at the master program must normally be B or better.
  • Applicants with a master’s degree from universities abroad, must attach “Recognition of foreign higher education” from Directorate of Higher Education and Skills (HK-Dir). Instructions on how to get this master’s degree assessed and approved are given on HK-Dir`s website, cf. https://hkdir.no/en/foreign-education
  • Excellent oral and written English language skills are required. For non-Norwegian applicants, it is an advantage to have skills in a Scandinavian language, with a motivation to develop these skills to be able to teach Norwegian courses. It is also expected that the applicant will quickly familiarize with Norwegian public regulations within the project's research area as well as sport in a Norwegian context relevant to teaching duties.
  • Competence and motivation to familiarize with Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) relevant to PhD program and teaching duties are required.
  • The candidate should have the professional and personal qualifications required to complete doctoral education within the employment period of four years. These qualifications include the ability to work in a structured manner independently and in collaboration with others on the different parts of the research process.

For information on PhD position in general, see Regulations on terms of employment for positions such as postdoctoral fellow, research fellow, research assistant and specialist candidate.

Evaluation of candidates for the position will be based on a total assessment of educational background, experience and personal suitability, as well as motivation and other eligibility requirements, as defined in the advertisement. In addition, the following will be emphasized: quality of the project description, documented independent research and development work or experience relevant to the project.

The position and associated tasks must be carried out in accordance with the applicable laws and regulations for government employees, including also the Act on Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology, etc. Candidates who, after assessment of the application and attachments, come into conflict with the criteria in the latter act, will not be able to take up the position at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences. Necessary approvals must be maintained throughout the employment relationship.

How to apply

Relevant applications will be considered by an expert committee. 

The application and all attachments are to be submitted electronically and should include the following:

  • The applicant must submit a project proposal with a progress plan (in Norwegian or English, 5-7 pages) that explains how the research work will be carried out and addresses academic relevance, challenges, and possibilities within the project. The PhD research fellow hired will, in collaboration with a supervisor, prepare a complete project proposal creating the basis for admission to the PhD program. The project proposal plays an important part in evaluating applicants and must show how the project will lead to a successful completion of a doctoral degree within four years.
  • Application letter
  • CV (summarizing education, job positions, and academic work)
  • Other work that is relevant for the application
  • Certified copies of transcripts and diplomas for the whole bachelor’s and master’s degree. An English translation of all education documents is required unless the documents are in Norwegian/Scandinavian.
  • Names and contact information of at least 2 reference persons.
  • A copy of the master thesis (in PDF)

Attachments must be uploaded as separate files. If the attachments exceed 30 MB, they must be compressed prior to upload. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that all attachments are uploaded. Documents submitted after expiry of the deadline will not be considered in the evaluation of your application.

We offer

  • An academically stimulating and supportive work environment at a developing institution. Possibility of professional development in an exciting academic research environment.
  • Position is paid and placed in position code 1017, PhD candidate in the Government Salary Scale
  • Membership in the Norwegian Public Service Pension, with among other things, good pension and insurance schemes.

For more information about INN University as an employer, please see here.

General information

HINN believes that there is strength in inclusion and diversity. We desire employees with different competencies, professional combinations, life experiences and perspectives to contribute to an even better way of solving problems. We will facilitate for employees who need assistance to realise their goals. Relevant adaptations can be, for example, technical aids, adapting furniture or adjusting routines, work tasks and working hours.

If there are qualified applicants with disabilities, gaps in the CV or immigrant background, we shall call at least one applicant in each of these categories for an interview. In order to be considered as an applicant in these groups, the applicants must meet certain requirements. You can read more on this here.

We encourage applicants to tick in Jobbnorge if they have a disability, a gap in their CV or immigrant background. The ticks in the jobseeker portal form the basis for anonymised statistics that all state-owned enterprises report in their annual reports

Information about applicants may be made public even if the applicant has asked not to be named on the list of persons who have applied. The applicant must be notified if the request to be omitted is not met.

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