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3 PhD positions 'Cities of Refuge' (1.0 FTE)

Job description

We are looking for three excellent PhD researchers for a socio-legal project on local governments and the human rights of refugees in Europe. The refugee crisis poses a major challenge for Europe, in which local governments are playing an increasingly central role. ‘Where states provide asylum, cities provide shelter’. Cities, however, show strikingly different responses. This is why Cities of Refuge explores and explicates the relevance of international human rights, as law, praxis and discourse, to how local governments in Europe welcome and integrate refugees. This research is urgent, as human rights can theoretically provide legal clarity on local governments’ responsibilities, practical standards, and a discursive frame for refugee welcome and integration. It is also innovative, as the approach combines law, sociology and anthropology to develop a novel, localized understanding of human rights.

The project is funded by the NWO, by means of a Vici grant awarded to Prof. B.M. Oomen. The PhD candidates will work on three subprojects that all have a common timeframe, structure and set of sub questions. One researcher will conduct research in and on local governments in Italy and Greece as EU border countries, a second researcher will work on the Netherlands and Germany and a third on Turkey and Switzerland, two countries that are members of the Council of Europe but not of the EU. In addition, a senior researcher will consider the legal position of local authorities under international human rights law. A full project description and frequently asked questions can be found here.

Tasks for each of the three PhD candidates include:

  • participation in all training programmes of the Law Faculty, the Netherlands School of Human Rights Research, IMISCOE and others and expert meetings scheduled for the project;
  • carrying out research in Middelburg, and conducting fieldwork in two different countries for eight months each;
  • regular presentation of intermediate research results at workshops and conferences;
  • publication of at least three peer-reviewed articles;
  • co-organization of workshops and conferences;
  • project-related activities, like (social media) outreach;
  • teaching at UCR as a complement to the research tasks;
  • completion and defense of a PhD thesis within four years.

  • Excellent communicational skills;
  • Preparedness and ability to contribute to, and work in a heterogeneous team and a variety of cultural settings;
  • A Master’s degree in Law or in a relevant social science (sociology of migration, urban studies, anthropology, international relations etc.) or in both;
  • Excellent proficiency in spoken and written English; 
  • Experience with qualitative and (preferably) quantitative research methods 
  • The ability to speak at least one, preferably two of the field languages (Italian/Greek; Dutch/German; German/Turkish) 
  • Preparedness to live in Middelburg, and to conduct two periods of eight months of fieldwork in the countries concerned; 
  • An outstanding academic record in the Master's degree. 
  • Professional experience in the areas of human rights advocacy and refugee protection are considered an asset.

The PhD position can be offered at 1.0 FTE, starting 1 September 2017, initially for a period of 18 months. Upon good performance and a positive evaluation, the contract will be extended for the remaining 30 months period (4 years in total). We offer a PhD position with a gross monthly salary starting at €2,191 in the first year to €2,801 in the fourth year of employment (in accordance with the Collective Employment Agreement of the Dutch Universities).

Utrecht University offers a pension scheme, a holiday allowance of 8% per year, an end-of-year bonus of 8.3% and flexible employment conditions. Conditions are based on the Collective Employment Agreement of the Dutch Universities. More information: working at Utrecht University. The PhD position involves the training necessary for the research. In addition, the researchers will be involved in UCR teaching activities as part of their training programme, allowing them to develop as well-rounded academics.

About the organization
A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

The School of Law has provided quality research and education for more than 350 years. Constant innovation has enabled the School to maintain its leading position. Top-ranking research is conducted in all important legal fields: private law, criminal law, constitutional and administrative law and international law. The Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM) is a research institute at the School of Law which offers internationally oriented study programmes, conducts interdisciplinary research and organizes a range of activities in the field of human rights. The research focus area Culture, Citizenship and Human Rights (CCHR) analyzes the convergence and tensions between the cultural and legal foundations of European citizenship.

The PhDs will be based in Middelburg, at University College Roosevelt, one of Utrecht University’s International Honours Colleges. Here, the faculty and students form a vibrant international academic community centered on a Liberal Arts and Sciences Bachelor’s education. Dutch Flemish Accreditation Organization (NVAO) has given UCR’s programme the prestigious 'Label of Excellence' and a special qualification of ‘Small-Scale and Intensive’. Undergraduate research is an important element in the UCR programme, as is education for global citizenship.

Additional information

Candidates are asked to motivate their application with reference to the project description via the button below. If interested in the PhD position, please send digital copies of:

  • a letter of motivation;
  • a research statement of about 1000 words, explaining why and how you plan to conduct this research;
  • a curriculum vitae;
  • copies of relevant diplomas and grade transcripts;
  • your Master’s thesis and any other publication you can provide;
  • names and full contact details of two academic referees.

Please include your name and a reference to the position you are applying for in the filenames and use the application button below to apply.

Application deadline is June 1, 2017. Interviews (in person in Middelburg, the Netherlands, or using videoconferencing) will be held in the second half of June, 2017, most probably on the 22nd and 23rd of June. The researchers will start on August 15 2017.

The application deadline is
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