Vacancy Postdoctoral Researcher Political Science

The Research Programme "Evaluating Democratic Governance in Europe" is hiring a post-doctoral researcher in political science. Deadline for applications = July 6th, 2018.


The Department of Political Science and the Institute for European Studies of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel are hiring a research coordinator for their joint Strategic Research Programme on Evaluating Democratic Governance in Europe (EDGE)


  • Holder of a PhD in Political Science or closely related field

  • Research interests in representative democratic governance, practices of political representation, or citizens’ attitudes toward representative governance systems

  • Good organisational and time management skills


  • The position is for two years, with the possibility to renew for another two years.

Possibility to teach one course at VUB

Starting date is October 1st, 2018.
The deadline for applications is July 6th, 2018.


  • 60% of the workload will be for the coordination of the Strategic Research Programme on Evaluating Democratic Governance in Europe. That includes: organization of events like seminars and workshops, internal and external communication, management of the data archives, coordination of the visiting scholars scheme, assisting in the financial management of the different projects

  • 40% of the workload will be for research in the field of democratic governance and co-supervision of researchers

  • Possibility to teach one course at the VUB


Questions regarding this position can be addressed to Professor Kris Deschouwer (

Applications should include:

  • a letter of motivation

  • a full CV, including title of PhD and list of publications

  • a short outline of the planned research activities (two pages maximum), making

    clear how they will fit into one of the work packages of the EDGE Programme (see below)

    Work package 1 will address Time and Sustainability. One of the institutionally in-built tensions of democratic governance systems involves the divergence between short-term election cycles (generally 4-5 years) and the long-term nature of important challenges, such as the governance of the welfare state or sustainable development/climate change. Immanent in this divergence is the risk that short-term interests are prioritised over effective action for long-term challenges. The benefits of such action will only materialise in the longer term, with few benefits, and perhaps even costs, accruing to the electorate. This challenge is further compounded by the need to move beyond the traditional locus of democratic governance (i.e. nation states) and address long-term global challenges, such as climate change, at European and international level. So far, we have carried out research on the representation of nature and of future generations. Beyond that, the challenge of sustainability across time raises important questions as to how the democratic quality and legitimacy of decision-making and authority in and beyond nation states can be fostered and ensured in effectively addressing long-term problems. In this context, attention will be paid to how this challenge intersects with other challenges to democratic governance in Europe and elsewhere (including the rise of populism, etc. – see also Work Package 3).

    The second work package is on Gender & Diversity. The central question for this research is the challenge to democracy that comes from an increasing diversity of society. Central research question concerns the way in which the interaction and intersection between gender and ethnicity affects the democratic quality, inclusiveness and effectiveness of politics and policy This work package will also be the home for research on nationalism, regionalism, multilinguism, territorial identities and urban (Brussels) politics. The focus of this work package is on how the intersection of categories such as gender, ethnicity, nationality, culture, religion but also categories based on age, class, sexual orientation and physical ability play out in politics and policy. It investigates the democratic quality of politics and policies through this intersectional lens.

    The third work package focuses on Contestation. Populism, radicalism on the left and on the right, Euroscepticism, or anti-establishment discourses are generally seen as indicators of discontent with democratic governance. There is however a need for a more subtle understanding of the many demands, attitudes, beliefs, evaluations, emotions and identities that are being voiced. We need to find ways – and that includes methodological choices that go beyond the classic survey approach – to unpack the meanings of democracy and the importance of its components (like popular sovereignty, rule of law, equality, citizenship) that shape the degree of trust in and legitimacy of the institutions that organize political participation, representation and decision-making. We want to expand the theoretical and conceptual apparatus that allows for analysing the underlying rationale and unpacking the meaning of discontent with democratic governance.