Ledig stilling på Universitetet i Oslo

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

Two positions as PhD Candidate related to the ENROL project on the EU's rule of law crisis

Deadline: 18.05.2022

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.

ARENA Centre for European Studies is a research centre under the Faculty of Social Sciences. ARENA promotes theoretically oriented, empirically informed studies analysing the dynamics of the evolving European political order. The research at ARENA is multidisciplinary and is organised along four key dimensions: A European democratic order; the EU's executive order; expertise and knowledge in the EU; and European foreign and security policy. ARENA hosts several nationally and internationally funded research projects and is engaged in a series of international networks.

About the positions

ARENA Centre for European Studies at the University of Oslo (UiO) invites applications for two 4-year research fellowships as PhD candidates (SKO 1017) within political science, sociology or any other relevant social science field. As a research fellow, you will write your dissertation within the project ENROL (Enforcing the Rule of Law), financed by the Norwegian Research Council and the University of Oslo. ENROL studies the European Union’s (EU) handling of its rule of law crisis in the wake of democratic backsliding in some of its member states, with a specific focus on Poland.

ARENA Centre for European Studies is a multidisciplinary research centre at the University of Oslo, studying the direction, dynamics and sustainability of the evolving European political order. The Centre has conducted research on political, economic, legal and social integration, transformation and cooperation in Europe since 1994. As a member of the ARENA team, you will be part of a professional international and multidisciplinary research centre with extensive experience in coordinating international research projects and networks financed by European and Norwegian research funding institutions. More information about ARENA is available at www.arena.uio.no.

Job description

We seek two highly motivated and qualified PhD candidates to write their doctoral theses on a theme related to the ENROL project. ENROL includes a devoted team of scholars at the University of Oslo with a background in law, political science and philosophy. It is led by professors Daniel Naurin (ARENA and the Department of Political Science) and Christophe Hillion (Department of Public and International Law and the Centre for European Law).

ENROL includes four work packages, two of which are based on social science theory and methods (WP2 and WP3) and two that are based on legal research and political philosophy (WP1 and WP4).

WP2 addresses the politics and decision-making in the EU institutions (the European Commission, Council, Court of Justice and European Parliament), primarily by means of process tracing methods using interview, archival, and field research. The purpose is to understand and explain the EU’s response (or lack of response) to the challenges posed by violations of the EU’s basic membership rules relating to democracy and the rule of law. After identifying a series of key decision points or “critical junctures,” the goal will be to reconstruct the politics at those points that drove the selection of some EU policy (non)responses over their alternatives.

WP3 investigates how EU (in)action influence domestic political mobilization concerning the rule of law in backsliding countries, with a specific focus on Poland. The purpose is to describe and explain how EU (in)actions are framed and contested in Polish media and how they affect civil-society mobilization and public opinion in Poland. The research fellow is expected to contribute in particular to research on Polish civil society organizations, including both survey and case study research.

WP4 develops a normative understanding of the legal and democratic legitimacy of different EU rule of law enforcement tools. Its aim is to assess normative arguments used in the literature and in public discourse to (de)legitimize different EU rule of law enforcement actions. The research fellow is expected to contribute in particular to research on democratic theory.

As a research fellow, you are encouraged and expected to develop your own ideas for your PhD theses within one of these themes in cooperation with the project leaders.

For WP2, we foresee that a PhD project may draw on theories of path dependence and institutional change (such as historical institutionalism, sociological institutionalism, and discursive institutionalism), on theories of European integration (such as postfunctionalism and the new intergovernmentalism), and on theories on the politics of law enforcement and compliance.

For WP3, we foresee that a PhD project may draw on, for example, theories and research on interest groups, civil society organizations, social movements, civil resistance, competitive authoritarian regimes, compliance with international law and/or foreign policy sanctions.

For WP4, we foresee that that a PhD project may draw on theories of the relationship between democracy and rule of law, on theories of democracy beyond the state and specifically for the EU (such as democracy, transnational democracy, and republican intergovernmentalism), and on theories of the demos and constituent power.

More about the position

Being part of ENROL means engaging with the most pressing societal questions relating to challenges to the rule of law in Europe together with a devoted multidisciplinary project team. In addition to the two PhD positions at ARENA, we will also be recruiting two PhD fellows in law. For further information about ENROL and the different work packages, see here.

As a PhD research fellow, you will have your base at ARENA - Centre for European Studies. You will be expected to be present in Oslo and to participate in ongoing activities at ARENA. You will be admitted to the PhD programme at the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Oslo.

The PhD fellowships are for four years, including 25% teaching at the faculty and/or other duties at ARENA.

They are fulltime salaried positions. The positions will start in September 2022 (or at a mutually agreed-upon date).

You will be provided with office equipment and services as well as necessary resources for research related field work and travel.

Qualification requirements

Applicants must hold a degree equivalent to a Master’s degree in Social Sciences or Political Philosophy (which meets the requirements of enrolment in the PhD-programme) before taking up the position.

ARENA’s working language is English. Fluent oral and written communication skills in English are therefore required.

For the research fellowship focusing on domestic political mobilization (WP3), we expect the research fellow to be knowledgeable in Polish in order to be able to do interviews and other field work in Poland.

In assessing the candidates, particular emphasis will be placed on (1) submitted writing samples, (2) the quality and relevance of the project proposal, (3) other academic qualifications (including transcripts or other previous merits), (4) recommendations. Finally, personal suitability and motivation will be taken into consideration. Potential candidates will be invited for an interview.

We offer

  • A salary of NOK 491 200 – 534 400 per annum, depending on qualifications, in a position as PhD Research fellow (position code 1017)
  • An academically stimulating and international research environment combined with a friendly and inclusive work environment
  • A good work-life balance and access to Norway's excellent public services and welfare schemes, including generous parental leave provisions and affordable and accessible childcare.
  • Attractive welfare benefits, including a generous pension agreement.
  • The city of Oslo: A unique mix of vibrant city life and extraordinary nature with rich opportunities for cultural and outdoor activities

Information for international applicants

Choosing a career in a foreign country is a big step. To give you an idea of what we and Oslo have to offer in terms of benefits and life in general for you and your family/spouse/partner, please visit here and here.

How to apply

The online application must include:

1. A cover letter of 1000 words maximum (approx. 2 pages). The letter should consist of four paragraphs in the following order:

a) a short presentation of yourself,

b) a short presentation of your merits,

c) a short presentation of the intended research project and which of ENROL’s work packages it relates to and

d) a short account of why ARENA and the ENROL project are of interest to you.

2. A project proposal of 2000 words maximum (approx. 5 pages), excluding bibliography, indicating your research interests within the ENROL focus area. The project description must demonstrate familiarity with previous research within the relevant area of the call, an ability to formulate scientific problems and to specify a relevant research design and methods.

3. A CV summarizing your education, any academic employments or other qualifying activities and publications you may have. The period of enrolment (admission – completion) in the master programme you have attended must be specified.

4. Copies of educational certificates (academic transcripts from university degrees only).

5. Up to two writing samples (e.g. your master’s thesis or published articles). Please note that there is no separate prompt for uploading such documents in the application portal. These must therefore be uploaded as separate “Attachments”.

6. Names and contact details of two persons from whom recommendation letters may be solicited. You should indicate your relation to these persons. Please do not submit any recommendation letters before we contact you and explicitly ask you to.

The application and all supporting documents must be must be submitted in our electronic recruiting system. Please follow the link “apply for this job”.

International applicants are advised to attach an official explanation of their University's grading system, translated into ECTS. Please note that all documents should be in English or a Scandinavian language.

Formal regulations

Please see the guidelines and regulations for appointments to Research Fellowships at the University of Oslo.

No one can be appointed for more than one PhD Research Fellowship 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 appointment may be shortened/given a more limited scope within the framework of the applicable guidelines on account of any previous employment in academic positions.

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

For further information regarding the positions, please contact

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