12 Phd & 1 post-doc scholarships in Post-Soviet studies

Publish Date: Jan 13, 2013

Post-Soviet Tensions: A PhD and post-doctoral Training Programme in Post-Soviet Affairs for Early Career Researchers

Funded by a FP7/Marie Curie ITN action and coordinated by Dublin City University, School of Law and Government

We offer

12 PhD scholarships (deadline 15/3/2013, starting date 1/9/2013)


1 Post-doctoral fellowship (deadline 15/2/2013, starting date 1/5/2013 or soon after). A second post-doctoral position will be open in 2015

Tensions: short description

The main aim of this project is to create the next generation of experts on post-Soviet affairs and make them competitive for employment in both the public and private sector.

This will be made possible thanks to a highly-targeted training in this research programme that will enhance participants’ research skills, together with a first-hand experience with a partner operating in a market environment, where the researchers will learn about the applicability of their skills to different fields and sectors.

The above activities will also assist the establishment, and sustainability, of an interdisciplinary and intersectorial research and training environment on post-Soviet affairs that we expect to become a leading voice on issues related to post-Soviet affairs, both in academia and the private sector.

This ITN will provide a world class PhD training programme focused on tensions in the post-Soviet regions. “Tensions” is defined to include open conflict and also latent social, ethno-national, ethnic or inter-state tensions that could but have not as yet manifested violence. The project will support the development of a team of 12 PhD students (Early Stage Researchers) and two post-doctoral fellows (Experienced Researchers >4<5 years of research experience). Those taking part will obtain or deepen a regional specialisation, will be provided with a rigorous methodological training and three years experience of working in an international and intercultural environment. Participants will spend periods working in the region, in partner universities and will be sent as interns to private partners (list of partners is annexed), and will take part in nine workshops and conferences.

The Programme is offering 12 pre-doctoral (36 months) and 2 post-doctoral (24 months) fellowship. The package includes a very attractive salary (in line with Marie Curie remuneration rules) and an allowance to cover expenses for field work, network events and conference attendance. The 12 PhDs will begin on 1 September 2013, for 3 years. The post-doctoral fellowships will begin on 1 May 2013 and 1 May 2015, each for 2 years duration.

Applicants are advised to check their eligibility under Marie Curie rules (URL at the end of this document), read the research topic below and apply directly to the university working on the topic they are interested in. There is some degree of freedom in proposing a topic and you will be free to develop it academically, but the proposals do need to be related to one of the topics mentioned below. It might be worth to discuss a possible proposal with your potential institution before formally applying.

The application package consists of a short CV, a cover letter, a research project (max 5 pages) and the name and contact details of three references who can comment on the applicant’s professional competences and/or academic capacity. Applications received by the 15th of March 2013 (15th February 2013 for the post-doctoral) will be given full consideration.


“Tensions” is a term to be understood in a broad sense in the post-Soviet context, where tensions may be latent, dormant, managed and contained, or erupting. They may also be political, social, domestic and international. We will examine tensions in different contexts, regions, segments of the society and between different actors. Tensions between the state and the citizens, ethnic groups and states, states and non state actors, and between different ethnic, social or economic groups.

The 14 individual projects that are the core of our project have been clustered into three main areas:

Sub-topic 1: Inter-regional tensions

Geopolitical tensions

1) Energy issues in the Caspian region with a focus on cooperation within the CIS and geopolitical struggles between major foreign powers (PhD, Forschungstelle Osteuropa, University of Bremen)

2) Foreign Policy and international recognition of the unrecognised/partially recognised states in former USSR (PhD, Dublin City University)

The European Union

3) The EU’s contribution/response to tensions in the former USSR (PhD, University of Warsaw)

4) Energy relations between Russia, transit countries and the EU within the broader context of international relations in the EU’s Eastern neighbourhood (PhD, Forschungstelle Osteuropa, University of Bremen)

Security tensions

5) Tensions arising from the developing international and regional security situation or architecture (1 Post Doctoral Fellow ER <5, Dublin City University

Sub-topic 2: National and regional tensions, nation building and statehood

Challenges to the political arena and symbolic order of the state

1) The contested nature of the state and statehood in Central Asia (PhD University of St Andrews, Scotland)

2) Party competitions, political tensions and their influence on democratic transitions in the CIS (PhD, University of Warsaw)

State-citizen relationships and the construction of “new nations”

3) State-citizen relationships and the construction of “new nations” (PhD, University of Oslo)

4) Citizenship and Identity in post-Soviet spaces (PhD, Tallinn University)

Sub-topic 3: Domestic tensions

Tensions between the included and excluded from political processes

1) Identity, conflict and cultural aspects of comparative political change (PhD University of St Andrews, Scotland)

2) Legislatures and gender in the former Soviet Space (PhD, Dublin City University)

Tensions between the nation and the state

3) Strategies of symbolic nation-building in post-Soviet states (PhD, University of Oslo)

4) Socio-economic tensions between ethnic groups resulting from post-independence nation building (PhD, Tallinn University)

Social tensions

5) Gendered aspects of political transition in the former Soviet Space (1 Post Doctoral Fellow ER <5, Dublin City University

Doctoral Students will register in the university hosting the project they apply for and will be governed by the regulations, including language requirements, of that university (in principle, the doctoral thesis can be submitted in English in all our partner universities but course work language has to be negotiated with the university). They will undertake course work within their host university, typically during their first year. In addition all the PhD students will meet at workshops, summer and winter schools and conferences two to three times per year, where more specialised and collective graduate training will be undertaken. All students will be required to undertake fieldwork in the region, for which some funding will be available on application. In addition doctoral students, will spend time in one of the private sector partners (to specialise in one of the following: consulting for the public and private sector, information and publishing, social research for private companies). They will be expected to complete their Doctoral studies in early 2017.

The Post-Doctoral fellows, will also take part in all network events during their period of contract and will have access to mentoring and hosting opportunities in the other partners. Both Doctoral Students and the post-doctoral fellows will have excellent professional development supports, career advice, networking opportunities and financial supports to disseminate their research and attend high level academic conferences. As the network is strongly committed to the dissemination of its collective research outputs beyond the academy, all participants will also be expected to be involved in some outreach activities, and will be required to write shorter policy and public focused articles on their research for the network website and other appropriate outlets.

Contact details (apply directly to the university you are interested in. Please notice that different universities have different recruitment procedures so follow the instructions below):

Dublin City University

Informal enquires to John.Doyle@dcu.ie

To apply:

PhD fellowships to John.Doyle@dcu.ie

Applications for the post-doctoral position contact John.Doyle@dcu.ie


University of Oslo

Informal enquires to: karina.kleiva@ilos.uio.no or pal.kolsto@ilos.uio.no

To apply please use the university system: http://uio.easycruit.com/?iso=gb


University of St Andrews

Informal enquires to: Sally N. Cummings snc@st-and.ac.uk on Sub-Topic 2 and Rick Fawn rick.fawn@st-and.ac.uk on Sub-Topic 3

Application packages to: Mary Kettle, School of International Relations, University of St Andrews, The Scores, The Arts Building, St Andrews, United Kingdom KY16 9AX, email irpg@st-andrews.ac.uk


Forschungsstelle Osteuropa – Research Centre for East European Studies at the University of Bremen

Informal enquires to Dr Heiko Pleines pleines@uni-bremen.de 

Application packages in electronic form only to Dr Heiko Pleines pleines@uni-bremen.de


Tallinn University

Informal enquires to: marie.curie.management@gmail.com or Raivo Vetik raivo.vetik@tlu.ee

Applications to marie.curie.management@gmail.com (NB shortlisted applicants will be requested to apply for a PhD position via Dreamapply )


University of Warsaw

Informal enquires to: Dr Paula Marcinkowska p.marcinkowska@uw.edu.pl

Application packages to: p.marcinkowska@uw.edu.pl

A hard copy should be also sent to:
Dr Paula Marcinkowska
Instytut Stosunków Międzynarodowych
Wydział Dziennikarstwa i Nauk Politycznych
Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego, ul. Żurawia 4, IV piętro
00-503 Warszawa, Poland

NB mobility and seniority rules apply to all fellowships

An applicant who has been carrying out their main activity in a country for more than 12 months, in the 36 months before their starting date cannot apply for a fellowship in that country

Pre-doctoral fellowships may be awarded to applicants who at the deadline:

1) have no more than four years of (full-time equivalent) research experience after having received their Master’s degree

2) are not in possession of a doctoral degree

The post-doctoral fellowship can be awarded only to a fellow who EITHER has:

1) completed her/his PhD and have less than 12 months of post-doctoral experience at the deadline of this call

2)been working between four and five years (full-time equivalent) as researcher
For more information, please consult the Marie Curie guide for applicants from the latest Marie Curie ITN call

NB: Please notice that we are still waiting for the countersigned contract. DCU reserves the right not to offer any positions should anything unexpected happen


Annex I: List of partners

Full partners:

Dublin City University (Coordinator)

University of Oslo, Department of Literature, Area Studies and European Languages

University of St Andrews, School of International Relations

Forschungsstelle Osteuropa – Research Centre for East European Studies at the University of Bremen

Tallinn University, Institute of Governance and Political Science

University of Warsaw, Institute of International Relations


Associate partners:

Caucasus InterConnect (the Netherlands)

GeoWel Research (Georgia)

Ibidem Verlag (Germany)

Levada Centre (Russia)

SIAR Research (Kyrgyzstan)

Transitions Online (the Czech Republic)

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