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PhD Scholarship for Research Project “The Politics of Insecurity”

Applications are invited for a 3-year PhD scholarship in political science to be based at the Department Political Science and Public Management at the University of Southern Denmark, Odense, as of August 1, 2020. For more information about the department organization, research and teaching, please visit the website

The position will be part of the newly established Core Group “The Politics of Insecurity (POINS)”, led by professor (wsr) Peter Starke, and funded by the Velux Foundation.

The Project

The Core Group POINS investigates how citizens’ rising subjective insecurity – broadly understood – is reflected in social welfare and criminal justice policymaking. The PhD position will be in Subproject 2.

Questions guiding the Core Group are: 1) How does insecurity affect citizens’ policy attitudes? 2) When and how do political parties respond to insecurity? And, finally, 3) how does insecurity influence policy reforms? These questions will be systematically analyzed in three subprojects by an interdisciplinary team using both quantitative and qualitative methods and data from Denmark and a sample of EU and OECD countries. Subproject 1 combines ethnographic interviews of Danish citizens with survey experiments to capture the meanings, contextual dynamics and the causal effects of insecurity, especially at the emotional level. Subproject 2 uses observational data for 20+ European countries from cross-national attitudinal surveys and party positions for multi-level regression analyses to study the dynamics of party competition under conditions of rising insecurity of groups of voters. Party positions on crime and welfare will be taken from existing datasets and additionally coded from manifestos via manual coding or automated text analysis. Subproject 3 uses a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods to examine key legislative changes in the two policy areas across OECD countries. An Outreach Group with members of civil society will accompany the project.

The ideal applicant and PhD project proposal
To qualify for the PhD scholarship, you must hold a Master’s degree in political science or a closely related discipline, and be able to outline an individual research project on the comparative dynamics of party positions embedded as Subproject 2 in the larger project "The Politics of Insecurity" described above. The ideal candidate will have strong quantitative methods skills. Knowledge of multi-level regression and automated text analysis is a benefit, scientific curiosity and enthusiasm for interdisciplinary engagement a must.

We are looking for candidates who are able to work independently in consultation with the PhD supervisor. Candidates are also expected to have good interpersonal skills, be interested in engaging with the national and international research community, be present and contribute to the academic and social environments at the department.

Applicants are expected to include a proposal for a research project within the above-mentioned frame and may consult with the project coordinator Peter Starke on this. When preparing your PhD project proposal, you are strongly advised to familiarize yourself with the project and to consult the general guidelines for preparing a project proposal at the PhD School's webpage. Applicants are also strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with the departments' Scholarly Qualification Matrix.

As a PhD Student, you will become a member of the department's welfare and public policy unit, the Danish Centre for Welfare Studies (DaWS), which has a strong international profile in comparative public policy and welfare state research. Affiliated researchers cover topics such as the politics of welfare state reform, the political challenges of population aging, migration, and growing economic disparities. It is a cross-disciplinary unit, and the successful candidate is expected to be open to other disciplines. For more information please visit the website.

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

Requirements and programme structure
PhD candidates follow an individual PhD plan including course work, conference participation, and teaching. One semester is typically spent at another research institution - often abroad. The scholarship carries a monthly salary including pension plus office facilities and financial support for conference travels and research visits abroad. Conditions of employment will be in accordance with the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and AC (the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations).

If selected for the position, you will be enrolled in the PhD programme in Political Science, Journalism, or Social Sciences. Applications are invited from candidates with a master's degree (the 5+3 programme over 3 years). Employment as a salaried PhD student is governed by the agreement of October 1, 2008 on Graduate Employees in government appendix 5-protocol on PhD Research Fellows.

For further information about the PhD programme, please contact PhD coordinator, Professor David Hopmann, tel. +45 6550 2464, e-mail

For further information about the research project, please contact Professor (wsr) Peter Starke phone +45 4022 4307, e-mail

Application and assessment process

An application must include:

  • Application form
  • A project proposal of no more than 12,000 characters in total, including spaces, notes, appendices, bibliography etc. The project description must be anonymized, i.e. it may not reveal your name or identity in any way. The total number of characters including spaces of the project description must be stated on the first page of the project description.
  • An abstract for the above project description of no more than 250 words, to be submitted on a separate sheet/page.
  • A detailed CV (max. 2 pages)
  • A copy of your master's degree certificate including all examination results.
  • Information on experience with teaching, dissemination, or scientific publication, if applicable.
  • Reference letters are not needed.  

All documents in languages other than Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, English, or German must be translated into English. The project proposal, project abstract and CV must be written in English, Danish, Norwegian, or Swedish.

If you do not adhere to the above-mentioned specifications, your application may be rejected without further assessment. The department reserves the right to arrive at a decision solely based on the material submitted.

Shortlisting may be used in the assessment process.

Shortlisted applications will be assessed by an internal committee. The project description is assessed anonymously to avoid any unconscious bias. When the assessment committee has submitted its report, you will be emailed the part of the evaluation that concerns yourself and you will know if you are deemed qualified for the position or not. The assessment report is subsequently forwarded to the Head of Department who assembles an appointment committee and determines if one or more of the qualified applicants should be invited to a job interview. The appointment committee will manage and complete job interviews and advise the Head of Department on which candidate(s) should be offered appointment.

Applications must be submitted electronically using the link “Apply online”. 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.

Send application
Deadline 2020-Apr-14

You can apply for the job at Faculty of Business and Social Sciences by completing the application form