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Postdoctoral fellow in the ERC project AUTONORMS: Autonomous weapons systems and use of force norms

The Center for War Studies (CWS), University of Southern Denmark, Odense, wishes to appoint a Postdoctoral Fellow (100%) as part of the European Research Council funded project AutoNorms led by Ingvild Bode (Associate Professor at the Centre for War Studies, University of Southern Denmark). The starting date for the position is 1 August 2023. The position is available for a fixed term of 18 months and comes with a competitive, full-time salary.

The successful applicant will be covering either China, France, India, or the United States as part of the AutoNorms research team working on this five-year project (2020-2025), which explores how autonomous weapons systems (AWS) will change international norms governing the use of force. The AutoNorms project develops new theoretical approaches to study how norms, defined as understandings of appropriateness, manifest and change through practices. It investigates norm emergence and change across four contexts of practices (military, transnational political, dual-use and popular imagination) in the US, China, India, France, Japan, and Russia. For more information about the AutoNorms project, please visit the project website.

Successful candidate(s) must be able and willing to support the CWS in realizing its two overarching strategic objectives: First, CWS strives to produce original ideas through high-quality and pioneering research. Second, CWS wants to address major societal challenges and to exchange knowledge with society through high-quality study programs and genuine engagement with societal actors and the wider public.

Key responsibilities:

  • Conduct and contribute to the production of research on Chinese, French, Indian, or US practices in relation to autonomous weapons systems. Capturing these practices should span across different social contexts, in particular the military, dual-use, and popular imagination contexts;
  • Analyse research results and disseminate the conclusions of research through academic publications and by other means as required. This includes publishing at least two articles in peer-reviewed journals; and at least two on a blog platform aimed at public dissemination;
  • Participate in regular meetings of the AutoNorms project;
  • Present papers at conferences;
  • Contribute to the organization of events and activities within the project;
  • Perform a number of research-related tasks such as engaging in knowledge exchange activities with the surrounding society, and conducting research management, including the mentoring of PhD students;
  • Participate in the intellectual life at SDU and CWS, including discussion groups, seminar workshops, and events.


Selection criteria

For applicants to qualify for the position, the following criteria must be met:

  • A PhD in International Relations broadly understood, or a PhD in Political Science with a specialization in International Relations, awarded by the time of appointment, with a thesis on a topic related to international security and/or constructivist International Relations;
  • Regional expertise on either China, France, India, or the US;
  • A proficient or near-proficient speaker/reader of the language relevant to the regional expertise indicated (e.g. Mandarin for China etc.) (essential);
  • A delineated research profile aligned with strategy of the International Politics Section indicating a potential to make an international scholarly impact and facilitate research cooperation within the Centre for War Studies (CWS);
  • Documentation of an emerging publication record at an internationally recognized level;
  • Documentation of experience with and genuine interest in outreach or knowledge-sharing activities and/or cooperation with external partners;
  • Knowledge of constructivist International Relations theories broadly understood, such as norm research and practice theories (desirable);
  • Knowledge of Artificial Intelligence, emerging technologies, autonomous weapons systems or similar topics (desirable);
  • A proficient or near-proficient speaker of English;
  • Evidence that you are an independent thinker and team player;
  • Evidence that you are dedicated to take part in the everyday academic and social environment at SDU.


About the University of Southern Denmark and the Centre for War Studies

The postdoctoral fellow will be associated with both the Center for War Studies (CWS) and the international politics section of the Department of Political Science and Public Management at SDU. CWS is a multidisciplinary research unit promoting research into fundamental questions of war and peace. The international politics section of the Department of Political Science and Public Management offers introductory IR courses to bachelor students in political science and specialized graduate courses in political science, especially in the Master’s program in International Security and Law. The section trains doctoral candidates, sometimes in partnership with other Danish and European institutes and universities. Research is multidisciplinary and focuses mainly, though not exclusively, on contemporary security issues. For a detailed description of the research profile and activities, please visit the CWS website.

The department believes in fostering a stimulating and inspiring environment for both faculty members and students. The department’s ambition is therefore to recruit, develop, and retain talented scholars committed to both academic excellence and departmental development. Furthermore, the department wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.


Enquiries about the project and the position can be addressed to the Principal Investigator, Ingvild Bode, email: For further information about the Center for War Studies, please contact the joint heads, Trine Flockhart ( or Chiara de Franco ( For further information about the Department, please contact the Head of Department, Signe Pihl-Thingvad ( or Head of Section, Vincent Keating, (

Application, salary, etc.

Appointment to the position requires a PhD or equivalent and will be in accordance with the salary agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations.

Researchers who have not worked in Denmark before taking up this position may be eligible for a special tax scheme that reduces Danish income tax for 7 years. You can find more information about this tax scheme here

An application must include:

  • A detailed CV;
  • A cover letter (max. 2 pages);
  • A research plan (max. 3 pages) for the next 4-5 years that describes the applicant’s:
    • Potential to advance the field (both empirically and theoretically),
    • Relationship to the aim and goals of AutoNorms project,
    • Planned national and international collaborations,
    • Potential to obtain external funding;
  • Certificates/Diplomas (MA and PhD degree);
  • A complete list of publications, which indicates which publications are most relevant for the position;
  • Up to 5 of the most relevant publications. Please upload a pdf for each publication. NOTE: If publications have been co-authored, co-author statements must be a part of this pdf and must include information like in this example. The statement is just for your inspiration.

All non-Danish documents must be translated into English.

Applications that are incomplete may be rejected without any substantive evaluation.

Assessment of applications will be done under the existing Appointment Order for universities. Applications will be assessed by an academic assessment committee that determines whether applicants are qualified to be a postdoctoral fellow according to the Scholarly Qualification Matrix. The committee may request additional information, and if so, it is the responsibility of the applicant to provide the necessary material. The committee reserves the right to arrive at a decision solely based on the material submitted.

Shortlisting may be used in the assessment process.

When the assessment committee has submitted its report, the applicant will receive the part of the evaluation that concerns them. The assessment report will subsequently be forwarded to the Head of Department who will assemble an appointment committee. The appointment committee will manage and complete a series of job interviews with especially promising applicants. On the basis of the applications, the written assessments, the job interviews, and a deliberation within the appointment committee, the Head of Department determines which candidate(s) will be offered the position.

Applications must be submitted electronically no later than Friday, 9 June 2023 using the link below. Uploaded files must be in Adobe PDF (unlocked) or Word format.

Read the guideline for applicants

Each field can only contain a single file of max. 10 Mb.

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Ansøgningsfrist 2023-juni-09

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