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2 PhD Fellows (100%)


Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Basel - Switzerland
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: Not Specified
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 12th October 2020
Closes: 1st November 2020

swisspeace is a practice and research institute dedicated to advancing effective peacebuilding. It supports and advises local, national, and international actors relevant for peacebuilding, researches topics particularly relevant for peacebuilding practice, provides spaces for exchange and dialogue, and shapes peace policy in Switzerland and globally. swisspeace is an associated institute of the University of Basel.  

To reinforce its Mediation Program, swisspeace is looking for: 

2 PhD fellows (100%) 

Starting date: 1 January 2021 (or by agreement) 

The successful candidates will join the Mediation Program and complete a PhD at the University of Basel as part of the Swiss National Science Foundation project “International Peacemaking in Pursuit of a ‘Good Peace’: Integration or Separation?” coordinated by Professor Laurent Goetschel and Dr. Dana Landau.  

The research project asks what international peacemakers believe to be a “good peace” and explores how this normative dimension of peacemaking impacts peace processes. It focuses on different approaches to managing diversity after conflict, studying arrangements for inter-group relations in a number of peace processes. This includes questions of population displacement and return, power-sharing, political boundary-making, or institutional and legal recognition of diversity. The project seeks to advance theoretical and empirical insights into the dynamics of peacemaking and will employ qualitative research methods.  

The swisspeace Mediation Program supports ongoing mediation, negotiation, and dialogue processes and conducts mediation-related research projects. It provides training and coaching for mediators, diplomats, UN staff, peacebuilding practitioners, and representatives of conflict parties, and brings together stakeholders in peace processes by creating opportunities for dialogue. It cooperates closely with the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, the EU, the UN, and partner organizations across the world.  

Your tasks: 

  • Developing and conducting high-quality research on the above topic in relation to agreed case studies 
  • Completion of the required doctoral course work and credits for a PhD at the University of Basel, and participation in the Graduate School Social Sciences as well as the International Graduate School North-South doctoral programs 
  • Completion of a high-quality doctoral dissertation as well as additional research outputs 
  • Participation in international conferences  
  • Contributing to the organization and coordination of research dissemination events 
  • Contributing to practical mediation support engagements led by the swisspeace Mediation Program  

Your profile: 

  • Masters’ degree in social sciences (preferably political science, international relations, peace and conflict studies, or a related discipline) 
  • Fulfilment of the requirements for a doctorate at the University of Basel 
  • Proven capacity for high level academic work 
  • Excellent English language skills, particularly in writing 
  • Familiarity with potential case study contexts, i.e. Central Africa/Cameroon, or cases in the Middle East, Asia, or Latin America, is an asset, including respective language skills, i.e. French, Arabic, or other languages 
  • Interest to conduct research on past and ongoing mediation processes 
  • Experience of conducting field research and of using qualitative research methods, such as elite interviews or process tracing, are considered an asset 
  • Interest in the practice of mediation and peacebuilding and in an environment where researchers and practitioners interact and benefit from synergies 

Our offer: 

  • Fully funded, 4-year PhD position in a unique context that combines academic research with exposure to the spheres of policy and practice  
  • Good working conditions, flexible office hours and an attractive workplace initially in Bern, with planned move of workplace to Basel in the course of 2021 
  • A positive working atmosphere in a dynamic and international institution and integration in the team of the Mediation Program 

We look forward to receiving your complete application in English by 1 November 2020, including the following documents:  

  • Motivation letter  
  • CV with list of publications and names of 2 referees 
  • Sample written academic work on a relevant topic (MA thesis, seminar paper, or published article, ideally in English, alternatively in German or French) 
  • 1-page summary of your main topics of interest in relation to peace processes, and how you would like to contribute to the project, including reflections on methods and case studies (in English) 

Please send your application to mentioning ‘PhD fellow’ in the subject line. More information can be found at or received from Dr. Dana Landau at  

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