PhD scholarship within Community-Oriented Policing and Post-Conflict Police Reform

Deadline: 07.04.2024

Norwegian University of Life Sciences

NMBU will contribute to securing the future of life through outstanding research, education, communication and innovation. We have the country's most satisfied university students, who receive research-based education in a unique student environment. Our graduates gain a high level of competence in interdisciplinary collaboration and are popular in the labor market. NMBU has internationally leading research environments in several subjects. Together with our partners in society and business, we contribute to solving some of the biggest societal challenges of our time.

We focus on innovation, communication and entrepreneurship because we believe these challenges are best solved with joint efforts. We believe that a good working environment is characterized by diversity.

If necessary, workplace adaptations will be made for persons with disabilities. More information about NMBU is available at www.nmbu.no/en.

About the Faculty of Landscape and Society

The Faculty of Landscape and Society is home to some of Norway's foremost academic environments within international environment and development studies, public health science, landscape architecture, landscape engineering, urban and regional planning, property development and property law. The Faculty has 1300 students and 180 employees divided into five departments and a Faculty administration. It offers popular, forward-focused Bachelor, Master’s and PhD programmes. The Faculty is interdisciplinary and works with sustainable social development, both nationally and internationally.

How can police and communities build trust and work together for a safer and better life for all?

About the position

The Department of International Environment and Development Studies (Noragric), Faculty of Landscape and Society (LANDSAM) at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) has a vacant three-year PhD–position in International Environment and Development Studies.

In a world where societies are becoming increasingly diverse and facing complex challenges such as conflict, climate change, migration, pandemics, polarization, racism, poverty, and inequality, there is an urgent need for research on how police reform might contribute to improved societal security and trust. Community-oriented policing as an approach in, for example, post-conflict contexts, has gained significant ground in police reform efforts by the UN and EU. Emerging research on police reform in these contexts points consistently to the critical importance of trust-building. However, conventional police reform has shown an inability to deal with the dynamics and complexity of the local, national, and international contexts in which policing is embedded. New approaches are needed, based on innovative research that can contribute to both new theory and practice. This is increasingly relevant, as current conflicts eventually move towards post-conflict reconstruction and development, where police reform will be an important element.

We invite candidates to develop their research ideas on police reform in challenging contexts, with a focus on understanding the dynamics of community-police relations. Central in emerging research in difficult contexts is a shift in the use of key concepts on which police reform has been based. Conventional understandings of security, conflict, peace, trust, communities, and policing have been broadened to better capture the dynamics of these societies as evidenced in empirical studies. For example, security is broadened to human security, reflecting the interdependency of multiple insecurities experienced by different people. Likewise, policing is seen as social practice in society rather than exclusively relegated to police and/or military authorities These shifts provide new lenses to revisit and re-evaluate a broader set of police reform issues such as justice (procedural and restorative), violence and crime prevention, dialog and conflict management, trust building, skills training, human rights, use of force, rule of law, R2P, PoC, military and civil police roles and relations, accountability, and legitimacy to name a few.

There are a variety of perspectives that can contribute to a better understanding of police reform and police-community relations in difficult contexts. Of particular relevance for this research are perspectives that, for example, link the global and the local in terms of policy and the practice of power relations, explore the nexus of security and development inherent in police reform processes in difficult contexts, and are process-focused to capture changes in behavior, institutions, and society that are relevant to police reform processes. Candidates are asked to locate their projects within the interdisciplinary field of development studies and engage with critical theory within the social sciences. This can include approaches within and between several research fields, including development studies, international relations, policing and criminology, anthropology, sociology, critical security studies, and others as relevant.

The research should focus on community-oriented policing and police reform in post-conflict contexts but can include comparisons with police reform in other contexts where trust between police and communities is lacking. We ask candidates to propose themes and contexts for their study and to include a discussion of methodology.

We welcome applicants that:

  • Propose to study a post-conflict context (country or area), either as a main case study or comparatively with other cases of police reform.
  • Demonstrate how the chosen empirical focus links to development studies and fills gaps in our understandings of police-community relations and police reform processes, and how it can help to explore and explain broader issues of security and insecurity, conflict and peace, inequality, poverty, trust, and discrimination (based on gender, youth, ethnicity, race, religion).
  • Apply suitable social science approaches to the chosen empirical study area. We encourage the combination of qualitative social science techniques and explorative methodologies, e.g., visual methods, participatory and action research methods, dialogic methods etc.
  • Locate the proposed study within Development Studies theory.
  • Consider the potential of the empirical study to contribute to theory(s) relevant to police-community relations, trust-building, and post-conflict development and police reform.

The successful candidate will be attached to the department’s Center for Community-Based Policing and Post-Conflict Police Reform (ICT4COP Center), an interdisciplinary research and education center with an extensive international network of police, researchers, and civil society policing experts. S/he will also join our research cluster on Global Orders, Security and Crisis (GloSeC).

As a department, Noragric provides an interdisciplinary and experienced academic community eager to interact with the successful candidate. We have an international staff of social and natural science scholars from development studies, international relations, political science, human geography, anthropology, agriculture, biology, ecology, and economics, that work on key global issues including sustainability, climate change, food systems, smart agriculture, energy and resource extraction, gender and human rights, post-conflict development, security, conflict and vulnerability to name a few. 

The applicant should note that an application for a PhD position at NMBU is at the same time an application for admission to a PhD program at the institution. The documentation that is necessary to ensure that the admission requirements are met must be uploaded as an attachment.

Main tasks

The appointed candidate is admitted to a PhD program at the faculty. The PhD program consists of mandatory and elective courses (30 ECTS) with written and oral examinations, and a major research component. The PhD candidate will develop a full research proposal and progress plan for the three-year PhD scholarship period during the first months of the appointment.


The successful applicant must meet the conditions defined for admission to a PhD program at the Faculty. The applicant must have an academically relevant education corresponding to a five-year Norwegian degree program.

Required academic qualifications are:

  • Master degree in global development studies, international relations, international environment studies, or other relevant social science program, e.g., political science, policing science, anthropology, sociology, area studies.
  • Documented strong academic background from previous studies. (Master degree GPA: B or better; Master thesis B or better)
  • Documented proficiency in English (written and oral)

For more detailed information on the admission criteria please see the PhD Regulations and the supplementary provisions for the faculty’s PhD programs.

In the evaluation of the applications, emphasis will be placed on:

  • The applicant’s academic qualifications
  • The quality of the research proposal
  • Experience in qualitative field research methods
  • Excellent academic writing skills
  • The applicant’s time management and organizational skills
  • Ability to work independently as well as collaboratively within a research group
  • Motivation to work in interdisciplinary contexts

Remuneration and further information

The position is placed in government pay scale position code 1017 PhD. Fellow (ltr. 54 - 65). PhD. Fellows are normally placed in pay grade 54 (NOK 532200) on the Norwegian Government salary scale upon employment and follow ordinary meriting regulations.

Employment is conducted according to national guidelines for University and Technical College PhD scholars.

The successful applicant is expected to start in the position 1 September 2024 and be on campus on a regular basis.

For further information, please contact:

For general questions about the PhD program, please contact the PhD program coordinator, Josie Teurlings at landsam-phd@nmbu.no

Information for PhD applicants and general information to applicants


Please register your application electronically under 'Apply for this job'. This will route you to the University's Web Recruitment System, where you will need to register an account (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

Application deadline: 07.04.2024

In the electronic application process, the candidate must confirm that information and documentation (in the form of attachments) submitted via the job application can also be used by NMBU in a possible admission process.

Your CV must be entered in JobbNorge's CV form and should not be included as an attachment. This is to be able to comply with the regulations of §15 of the Public Administration Act.

It is up to the applicant to make sure the application is complete. No changes/additions are allowed after the application deadline. Incomplete applications will not be considered. 

The shortlisted applicants will be called for an interview as a part of the evaluation. Applicants invited for an interview are expected to present original diplomas and certificates.

For the application to be considered it must include:

  • Application letter describing the applicant’s qualifications and motivation for the position.
  • Research outline (max 4000 words) indicating research interests related to the themes outlined above, including relevant research questions, theoretical and methodological approaches – this will be further developed after employment 
  • Curriculum Vitae (complete list of education, positions, teaching experience, administrative experience, and other qualifying activities).
  • Certified copies of academic diplomas and transcripts (bachelor and master). Diplomas, transcripts and diploma supplements that are not in Norwegian or English must be uploaded in the original language. An English translation of these documents must also be attached. Applicants from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to send a diploma supplement, or a similar document, which describes in detail the study program and grading system.
  • One writing sample, for example master thesis, academic paper or article, book chapter, or equivalent
  • Documentation of proficiency in written and oral English in accordance with NMBU PhD regulation section 5-2 (3)
  • Names and contact details for two references

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