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

Postdoctoral Fellow (SKO 1352 ) on Democratic Erosion and Autocratic Politics

Deadline: 23.06.2021

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. The department currently has 39 permanent academic staff members, 18 research fellows conducting PhDs, 16 postdoctoral fellows and 12 administrative employees. About 1500 students are currently enrolled at the BA, MA and PhD levels. In addition to political science, the department has interdisciplinary study programs in International Studies, Public Administration and Leadership and a master’s program in Peace and Conflict Studies. The department hosts the interdisciplinary Center for Research on Extremism (C-REX) and has research groups in several sub-fields of political science (e.g. comparative institutions and regimes; policy, bureaucracy, and organization; politics of energy and climate; nuclear weapons).

Job description

The Department of Political Science wants to recruit an excellent social scientist with a background from Political Science or closely related fields. The successful applicant will work full time as a Postdoctoral Fellow on two separate projects. More specifically, the successful applicant will contribute to and divide her/his research time evenly between the following two research projects: ‘When will citizens defend democracy?’ (DefDem; PI: Sirianne Dahlum) and ‘Policies of Dictatorships’ (PoD; PI: Carl Henrik Knutsen). Both projects are funded by the Research Council of Norway.

The appointments is 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; 37.5% of the total time is thus dedicated to DefDem and 37.5% to PoD.

More about the position

DefDem will investigate citizens’ evaluation of and reactions to democratic erosion and elite violations of democratic norms. The project develops research designs to assess and explain citizens’ commitments to democracy in eroding and currently stable democracies, drawing on a combination of survey/lab experiments and event data on mass protest and democratic erosion.

PoD will investigate 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. strategies for repressing domestic actors; 2. security policies and decisions on interstate war; 3. cooptation policies in the areas of construction, higher education, and social policies.

DefDem runs from 2021-2025 and PoD from 2020-2025. Both projects will be part of the Department’s internationally leading research group on Comparative Institutions and Regimes (CIR). We strongly encourage applicants to read the two project proposals: DefDem proposal; PoD proposal.

Key responsibilities

  • The Postdoctoral fellow is expected to contribute to the core activities of both projects.
  • As part of the DefDem project, the candidate is expected to contribute to developing, designing and conducting survey and lab experiments.
  • As part of the PoD project, the candidate is expected to contribute to data collection and research on at least one of the three policy areas listed above.

The intention is to recruit the person that has the best prospects for contributing to the two projects’ research outputs by publishing research of the highest quality over the coming 4-year period.

In assessing the applications, emphasis will be placed on the quality of academic work (including any top publication), excellence of relevant research skills and the quality of the research proposal.

The main purpose of the fellowship is to qualify researchers for work in higher academic positions within their disciplines. The appointed postdoctoral fellows are expected to acquire basic pedagogical competency in the course of their fellowship period.

Formal qualifications

  • 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 (23.06.2021). Such applicants should note the date of submission of their PhD in the cover letter. Appointment is dependent on successful completion of the public defense of the doctoral thesis.
  • Other qualifications criteria’s
  • English language skills
  • Documented teaching experience and skills

The evaluation of applications is based primarily on documented, academic qualifications and the project plan. In addition, personal suitability and motivation are considered.

We offer

  • Salary according to “SKO 1352 postdoktor”, pay grade 59-67, NOK 526 000–608 200 per year (approx. 52 000 – 61 000 Euro)
  • Budget for travel and research assistance (currently NOK 45 000 per year). Staff can apply for additional research support from the department and faculty
  • An academically stimulating and international working environment
  • A friendly and inclusive workplace
  • A good pension scheme through the Norwegian Public Service Fund
  • 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
  • Postdocs are expected to acquire pedagogical competency
  • Female postdocs can take part in the UiO Mentor program for female postdocs

How to apply

The online application must include the following items:

  • A cover letter (max 2 pages, including statement of motivation and research interests, and a brief summary of the doctoral dissertation)
  • A research proposal (maximum 3000 words including references). The proposal should clarify the research themes, main research questions, theoretical approach, methodology, and a publication plan. The proposal should also be explicit in how the proposed research ideas contribute to each of the two projects
  • A CV summarizing education, positions, research and pedagogical experience, administrative experience, and other qualifying activities
  • A complete list of publications (if not included in the CV)
  • Copies of educational certificates (academic transcripts only)
  • Upload a copy of (what you consider to be) your best academic analysis to date (only one). If this is a co-authored paper/publication, the applicant's individual contribution must be clarified and confirmed by co-authors.
  • Names and contact details for 2-3 reference persons (name, relation to candidate, e-mail, and phone number). Reference letters not needed.

The application with attachments must be submitted in our electronic recruiting system. Please follow the link “Apply for this job”. Please note that all documents should be in English or a Scandinavian language. Foreign applicants are advised to attach an explanation of their University’s grading system.

The application deadline is 23.06.2021.

The screening and evaluation of the candidates will begin immediately. We expect the whole evaluation process, from the application date to an offer is made, to take 12-16 weeks, depending on the number of applications. Expected starting month is October 2021 (or a mutually-agreed upon date).

We aim to increase the diversity of backgrounds in our staff, and we especially encourage female researchers to apply.

Formal regulations

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

Pursuant to section 25, of the Freedom of Information Act, information concerning the applicant may be disclosed to the public, even if the applicant has requested not to appear on the list of applicants.

The University of Oslo has an Acquisition of Rights Agreement for all employees for the purpose of securing intellectual property 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.

Inclusion and diversity are a strength. The University of Oslo has a personnel policy objective of achieving a balanced gender composition. We also want to have employees with diverse expertise, combinations of subjects, life experience and perspectives. We will make adjustments for employees who require this.

If there are qualified applicants with special needs, gaps in their CVs or immigrant backgrounds, we will invite at least one applicant in each of these groups to an interview.

Contact information

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