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PhD Research Fellowship in Political Science (Autocratic Politics)

University of Oslo - Department of Political Science

Job description

The Department of Political Science wants to recruit an excellent graduate with an MA degree in Political Science or closely related fields such as Economics or Sociology. The successful applicant will work as a PhD Fellow on the ERC project ‘The Emergence, Life, and Demise of Autocratic Regimes’ (ELDAR). The appointment is for a 4-year period; 75% of the time is allocated to research, 12.5% to project administration (for ELDAR), and 12.5% to teaching.

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 policies, social policies and media regulation; and 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 autocratic regimes.

The project is led by Professor Carl Henrik Knutsen and is funded by an ERC Consolidator Grant. It runs from 2020-2025. The project team includes several internationally leading scholars on autocratic politics and political regimes at UiO and collaborating institutions. As a member of ELDAR, the successful applicant will also be part of the Department’s internationally leading research group on Comparative Institutions and Regimes (CIR).

For more information about ELDAR and the project team, see the project proposal.

Qualification requirements

To be appointed to the position, the successful candidate must have completed a Master’s degree (corresponding to 120 ECTS) or an equivalent qualification in Political Science or a related field such as Economics or Sociology. The Master’s degree must include a thesis of at least half a year’s workload (30 ECTS), and training in research methodology. The intention is to recruit the person that has the best prospects for developing into an excellent researcher and for contributing to the project’s research outputs over the coming 4-year period.

In evaluating applications, academic qualifications will be given the most weight. Successful candidates must document top grades and an MA Thesis of the highest quality.

The quality and promise of the project outline, and how this fits with the larger ELDAR project will also be of importance for evaluating the candidates. Further, given the expected contributions of the successful applicant to the larger project, the following skills and competencies will be given weight: a) administrative and organizational skills, b) collaborative and communication skills, c) command of English, d) strong methodological competency, e) statistical software and programming skills. Personal suitability and motivation for working with the project will also be emphasized. Short-listed applicants will be interviewed.

The candidate should, in the cover letter, explain how his/her research interests fit with those of ELDAR. Applicants must also submit an individual project description of up to 2000 words briefly outlining the research topic, the specific problems to be studied (preferably with clear suggestions of three or more papers/articles resulting from the project), any data collection or what data sources will be used, the use of theory and methods for empirical analysis, and a realistic schedule that details how the project will be completed within the fellowship period. The individual research project must pertain to one or more of the topics studied in ELDAR (see link above), and applicants may expect to further develop their project with inputs from the research team if s/he is hired.

In order to be evaluated, applicants must upload all documents specified below, including an electronic copy of the MA Thesis, with the electronic application.

See also the Regulations on terms of employment for Research Fellowship positions.

We offer

  • Salary NOK 479 600-523 200 (approx.. 48 000 – 52 000 Euro) per year, depending on qualifications, in a position as PhD Research fellow (position code 1017)
  • Budget for travel and research assistance
  • An internationally leading research team
  • A pleasant and stimulating working environment
  • A good pension scheme through the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund  
  • Excellent welfare schemes, including possibilities for University kindergarten
  • Oslo’s high-quality of living and rich opportunities for culture and outdoor activities

How to apply

The application must include all of the following items:

  • A cover letter statement of motivation and research interests (max 1 page)
  • A project description, including progress plan (max. 2000 words)
  • A CV (summarising education, positions, and academic work including publications)
  • A Copy of the Master's dissertation
  • Copies of transcripts: All applicants must submit their Master’s degree diploma and transcript(s), preferably together with a class distribution of grades. The transcript must specify the grade achieved on the Master’s thesis.

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

The application deadline is 15 April 2020. The evaluation of the candidates will begin immediately and a short-list will be ready in June. Interviews will be held in early August. The position will be awarded from late August 2020.

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.

Contact information

PI of ELDAR and Research Group Leader CIR, Prof. Carl Henrik Knutsen, phone number: +47 228 54244, e-mail:

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.

Head of Department Bjørn Erik Rasch, email:, Telephone: +47 22 85 51 83

Questions regarding the electronic application should be directed to HR Officer Sylvi Anita Varsi Øien, email:, Telephone: +47 22 85 69 07

About the University of 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. 

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Oslo - Norway
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: NOK479,600 to NOK523,200
£39,860.99 to £43,484.72 converted salary* per year, depending on qualifications
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 19th February 2020
Closes: 15th April 2020
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* Salary has been converted at the prevailing rate on the date placed
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