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2 PhD Scholarships on EU Post-Crisis Legitimacy 2017, University of Twente

Publish Date: Nov 29, 2016

Deadline: Jan 31, 2017

The Department of Public Administration of the Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences (BMS) of the University of Twente, The Netherlands invites applications for 2 PhD positions as part of the new PhD network ‘The Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the European Union’ (PLATO) that is funded by the European Union’s Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action (MSCA) programme.

This programme will establish a so-called Innovative Training Network (ITN), aimed a bringing together and training 15 excellent young researchers at different academic institutions across Europe. Applicants should hold a master degree in political science, law, public administration, or a related social science discipline. The positions are announced for a period of 3 years. The starting date is 1 September 2017.

The researchers will be based at the Department of Public Administration of the Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences (BMS) of the University of Twente, in the East of the Netherlands. Research at the department, as well as at its Centre for European Studies, focuses on how grand societal challenges can be addressed – effectively and legitimately. We focus on the design, the implementation and evaluation of new policies and technologies in a multilevel governance setting. The working language is English.

The successful candidate will be enrolled in the PhD programme of the Twente Graduate School (TGS) and/or the Netherlands Institute of Government (NIG). The TGS coordinates high-quality educational programmes based on topics closely related to the work of the university’s research institutes, taught and supervised by expert researchers. The NIG is an interuniversity research school in which faculties from nine Dutch universities and two Flemish universities participate.

PhD position 1 (ESR2): The Legitimacy of Multi-Level Orders

The legitimacy of the EU partly depends on its capacity to solve urgent social and economic problems (output legitimacy). Yet, legislation needed to achieve this objective is shaped in a distinctive multilevel governance setting in which rules and norms that are created in one political arena have to be accepted in another. In matters of trade, health, the environment or migration, many EU regulations originate in global institutions. In the end, however, they are often implemented by local authorities. While transnational developments have created new needs to agree on standards at the global and EU level, processes of globalization and Europeanisation have intensified forms of contestation at sub-national and local levels. The current legitimacy crisis related to global and EU decisions (e.g. in relation to new trade and investment agreements, or the refugee crisis) can partly be explained by the inability of policy-makers to link legitimacy at different levels of decision-making. This research will investigate the acceptance of the multilevel regulatory order in Europe. It will investigate the problem ‘bottom up’ to assess variation in how far post-national rule-making is legitimate from the point of view of sub-national authorities which have to implement and even enforce those rules. It will develop indicators of that variation, such as differences in the extent to which sub-national authorities deem post-national rules to be justified, the extent to which they implement those rules in practice, whether they are able to contest or complain about those rules or ask for accounts to be given for them, and in which ways they are consulted and able to shape the policy agenda associated with those rules. For this project the primary discipline is law; a secondary could be political science or public administration.

Expected result: PhD thesis on the legitimacy of multi-level orders

Secondments: 4-weeks non-academic secondment at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) in Brussels to gain practical experience from the policy advise sector, 3 months academic secondment at a partner university to cooperate with co-supervisor and team.

PhD position 2 (ESR10): Legitimacy Crisis and Political Trust

Political trust is a basic indicator of legitimacy. It provides a stable sense of confidence amongst citizens that political institutions and political interactions will conform to normative standards. Traditionally, the nation state was the natural frame for citizens’ political identification and for developing their political orientations. Yet, the ‘hollowing out of the nation state' – through an upward shift of competences to the supranational level and a downward shift of competences to the regional and local tiers of government – may have changed the public’s understanding of the relative contributions the nation state and other tiers of government to the legitimacy of political order.

This research will investigate how vertical shifts in governance over time  and cross-national differences in the distribution of competences over tiers of government, may affect political trust in different levels of governance. By using survey evidence to compare variations in trust in EU institutions and in other levels of government, the project will analyze  a) how far political trust in the EU's political institutions is related to cross-national or over-time  differences in vertical distributions of power and b) to what extent this relation is affected by variations in economic conditions (times of crisis).

The primary discipline is political science; a secondary discipline could be sociology

Expected result: PhD thesis on the impact of variations in the vertical distribution of competences and economic conditions on citizens' trust in the EU

Secondments: 4-weeks non-academic secondment at the European Citizen Action Service (ECAS) in Brussels to gain practical experience from the civil society sector, 3 months academic secondment at a partner university to cooperate with co-supervisor and team.


The PhD fellows will be part of a research group based at the Department of Public Administration The successful candidate will be supervised by Prof. Bas Denters and Prof. Ramses A. Wessel at the University of Twente. Co-supervision will be offered by senior scholar at another PLATO partner university, to be selected by the network based on the submitted proposal. The successful candidate will be enrolled in the PhD programme of the Twente Graduate School and/or the Netherlands Institute of Government (NIG). The recruited candidate will be automatically admitted to the PhD programme.


Two important eligibility conditions apply to Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action (MSCA) Innovative Training Networks (ITN):

  • Candidates cannot have resided and carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in The Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to 1 September 2017. If it is not evident from the application that this criterion is met, please include an explanation as part of your application.
  • Candidates must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of her/his research career and not already be in the possession of a doctoral degree. 

Further qualifications for the position: 

  • Master’s degree in political science, law, public administration or equivalent social science degree. The master’s thesis must have been submitted before the application deadline. A prerequisite for taking up the position is the successful completion of a master’s degree.
  • English language proficiency. If you are not a native English speaker, or if the language of instruction at your previous university was not English, we will ask you to provide evidence of strong English language skills. Please include English language test results in your application if this applies to you. Such tests should not be older than two years at the time of application.


In assessing the candidates, particular emphasis will be placed on the quality and originality of the project proposal as well as the individual project’s fit within the overall research programme. Academic qualifications, writing skills, language proficiency and other qualifying experience will also be of key importance.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interviews in the period 6–17 March 2017. Job offers will be made by the end of April 2017.

Application and information

Applications must be submitted through the recruitment portal of the University of Twente. The application must include the following documents:

  • Letter of motivation
  • Research proposal (2,000-3,000 words)
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Copy of MA degree diploma(s)
  • Copies of academic transcripts
  • CV with full summary of education, practice, academic and non-academic work experience, language proficiency, positions of trust, and other qualifying/extra-curricular activities. The period of enrolment (admission-completion) in the Master’s study programme must be specified
  • If available, up to two academic publications (i.e. MA thesis or published articles).

The application and all supporting documents must be provided in English.

The application deadline is 31 January 2017


In addition to the benefits of taking a team PhD as part of PLATO, the University of Twente offers:

  • A gross monthly salary on a full time basis, increasing from
    € 2.191 in the first year to € 2.672 in the final year. The terms of employment are in accordance with the Dutch Collective Labour Agreement for Universities (CAO);
  • Academically stimulating working environment;
  • Vibrant, integrated and international research community;
  • Enrolment in the PhD programme of the Twente Graduate School and/or the Netherlands Institute of Government (NIG);
  • Additional attractive employment benefits, including holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, an 8.3% end-of-year bonus (of the gross annual salary) and a registration to the ABP pension fund.


The University of Twente. We stand for science and technology, high tech, human touch, education and research that matter. New technology which drives change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university in the Netherlands; divided over five faculties we provide more than fifty educational programs. The University of Twente has a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out pioneering research. The Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences strives to hold a leading position in their fields in relation to the science and technology research programs of the University of Twente. In all these fields, the faculty provides bachelor, master and professional development programs.

Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences
The Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences (BMS) strives to play a pivotal role in understanding, co-engineering and evaluating innovation in society. Innovation is driven by advances in technology. Through 'social engineering' these technological advances are embedded in society befitting human needs and behaviour, within proper public and private management and business structures. For this the faculty of BMS upholds high quality disciplinary knowledge in psychology, business administration, public administration, communication science, philosophy, educational science and health sciences. All with a focus on the challenges in society. Research is strongly connected to our Institutes on Governance (IGS), ICT (CTIT), Health (MIRA) and Nanotechnology (MESA+).

 For more information click "Further official information" below.

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