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Postdoc in Joint Fau/ V-dem Project on Academic Freedom

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) - Institute of Political Science


The Institute of Political Science at FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg and the V-Dem Institute at the University of Gothenburg collaborate on the continued publication of the Academic Freedom Index, which is part of the V-Dem Survey on Civic and Academic Space. The principal investigators (PIs) of the project are Prof. Dr. Staffan I. Lindberg (V-Dem) and Prof. Dr. Katrin Kinzelbach (FAU).

The Academic Freedom Index and its five constitutive indicators are a new global time-series dataset first released in 2020. It addresses the need for a comprehensive and comparative worldwide assessment of academic freedom, with a view to significantly advance rigorous, empirical research in this domain and to encourage evidence-based decision making by research institutions, research funders, as well as policy-makers and practitioners in the research and higher education sector.

Postdoc Position

FAU’s Institute of Political Science in Erlangen will hire a postdoc for 30 months (remuneration according to collective agreement TVL 13) to contribute both empirically and theoretically to a better understanding of the research sector's role in democratization and autocratization processes. The postdoc will help to close a knowledge gap and generate practical insights into how academic freedom may be most effectively protected and promoted. To this end, they will be involved with the annual launch of the Academic Freedom Index and related outreach (approximately 3 months per year). The remaining time will be reserved for individual and collaborative research with the data.

The collection of expert-coded data on civic space together with each update on academic freedom opens several avenues for research on determinants and/or consequences of academic freedom violations. Beyond these specifications, the postdocs are free to propose a specific research question and theoretical framework in a research proposal of 1-2 pages. We hope to recruit a promising early career researcher who has the potential to push the research frontier and who will contribute exciting ideas and expertise.

Applications will be assessed jointly by FAU and the V-Dem Institute. The chosen postdoc will have access to FAU’s support structures for early career researchers, including the Emerging Talents Initiative, and benefit from interdisciplinary human rights research conducted at FAU. They will also have an opportunity to spend time with the V-Dem Institute for research visits and thereby benefit from the internationally leading expertise of the team of scholars in Gothenburg.

Skills, knowledge, and experience

  • PhD awarded in relevant discipline, or equivalent experience;
  • Demonstrated research interest in academic freedom, democratization, autocratization;
  • Experience with large-n research and familiarity with the V-Dem dataset;
  • Knowledge of STATA and, ideally, R programming;
  • Willingness to work independently and in an interdisciplinary research team;
  • Strong publication record or potential to develop publication record;
  • Willingness to participate in international conferences and other academic events;
  • Ability to communicate effectively with non-technical audiences about technical topics;
  • Attention to details and deadlines;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in English;
  • German language skills are an asset.


Submission of application documents (motivation letter, CV, transcripts, research proposal, writing sample) by 31 October 2021 via email to Silvia Krönig ( Expected starting date: January 2022. 

Location: Erlangen - Germany
Salary: TVL13
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 13th October 2021
Closes: 31st October 2021
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