University of Tartu Illiberal Democracy in Russia and Right-wing Politics in Europe Fellowship Program 2018

Publish Date: Feb 19, 2018

Deadline: Feb 28, 2018

University of Tartu Illiberal Democracy in Russia and Right-wing Politics in Europe Fellowship Program 

The Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies of the University of Tartu (Estonia) is seeking to appoint two high-calibre Early Stage Researchers (ESR) to join the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network on ‘Delayed Transformational Fatigue in Central and Eastern Europe: Responding to the Rise of Illiberalism/Populism’ (FATIGUE). 


Following the collapse of state socialism, the liberalization of public life, the democratization of politics, the abolition of state-run economies and the introduction of markets commenced in the states of the former Soviet bloc. These necessary yet socially costly transformations never ran smoothly and in the same direction in all the post-communist states but by the mid-2000s the most successful countries, clustered in Central Europe and the Baltic, seemed to have managed to consolidate liberal democracy. Then something snapped. The political trajectory veered off in new directions as populist parties started gaining more support. All populists engage in delegitimising the democratic system in the name of unconstrained majoritarianism. Now we have two cases (Hungary and Poland) where right-wing populists are in power and dismantling the institutions of checks and balances, and cases where the dominance of technocratic or left populists (Czechia, Slovakia) seems to risk democratic erosion. FATIGUE aims to explain and interpret this puzzling U-turn, reflect on its delayed emergence, diagnose its consequences and propose viable policy solutions. 15 ESRs will be appointed at six partner universities.

The Role

ESR3 will be enrolled on the PhD programme at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies of the University of Tartu and will write their thesis on a topic related to Illiberal democracy in Russia and rightwing politics in Europe, supervised by Prof Viacheslav Morozov and Prof Andrey Makarychev at the University of Tartu and by Prof Zdzisław Mach at Jagiellonian University. Further information about the PhD project is below:

Objectives: ESR3 will investigate the impact of increasing illiberalism in Russia on social and political developments in post-communist states and/or the role of Russia in fostering ties with radical right populist movements and political parties across Europe. 

Expected results: ESR3’s research will demonstrate the impact of illiberalism in one state on the social and political situation in another.

Planned secondment(s): In Year 2 ESR3 will spend 10 months at Jagiellonian University and at the Foundation Institute for Strategic Studies, Krakow. 

The ESR’s PhD must be designed and conceived as an integral part of the overall FATIGUE project. The successful candidate will be a team player, prepared to work closely with the Project’s senior staff and other ESRs. By the end of the third year the ESR will be expected to complete a publishable chapter for the volume constituting one of the major deliverables of FATIGUE. This chapter can be a part of the PhD dissertation, which, most likely, will be completed at a later date. This is an outstanding opportunity to be part of a network of leading scholars working on one of the most pressing political issues of the contemporary period. In addition to PhD supervision, the successful candidate will benefit from a wide-ranging training programme, which will encompass:

  1. An introductory workshop on the current state-of-the-art with regard to delayed transformational fatigue in Central and Eastern Europe and the rise of populism and anti-establishment politics;
  2. Two workshops on interdisciplinary Area Studies methods;
  3. An overseas research trip to one of the partner universities in the FATIGUE consortium; d) A secondment to a non-academic training partner;
  4. A research-to-policy/stakeholder engagement workshop.

The ESR will help organise and present their research at a major international conference on the themes of the FATIGUE research programme.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Undertake postgraduate research in support of the agreed doctoral research project.
  • To work closely with the academic supervisors to ensure the compatibility of the individual project with the overall goals of FATIGUE.
  • Present and publish research to both academic and non-academic audiences.
  • Attend and participate in academic and non-academic conferences, events and seminars.
  • Attend and participate in all training events and supervisory meetings.
  • To be seconded to other network partners as necessary to fulfill the grant obligations. 
  • Prepare progress reports and similar documents on research for funding bodies, as required.
  • Contribution to the delivery and management of the wider Programme, including attending and participating in programme committee meetings.
  • Undertake any other relevant duties as directed by the Programme Director. 

Person Specification

  • A good Undergraduate degree and a postgraduate Master’s degree in social science or history.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication, including presentation skills.
  • Highly proficient English language skills.
  • Excellent organisational skills, attention to detail and the ability to meet deadlines.
  • Ability to think logically, create solutions and make informed decisions.
  • Willingness to work collaboratively in a research environment.
  • A strong commitment to your own continuous professional development.
  • Ability to travel and work across Europe.

Eligibility Requirements

All candidates must meet the following requirements to be considered for this post:

  • Early-Stage Researchers (ESRs) shall at the time of recruitment by the host organization be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and not yet have been awarded a doctoral degree. Full-time equivalent research experience is measured from the date when a researcher obtained the degree which would formally entitle him or her to embark on a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the researcher is recruited.
  • At the time of recruitment by the host organization, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of their host organization for more than 12 months in the three years immediately prior to the recruitment date. Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account. 

How to apply

Application must be must submitted online.

The application must include:

  • A cover letter explaining your motivation for applying.
  • A Curriculum Vitae setting out your educational qualifications as well as any additional scientific achievements and publications.
  • Evidence of Advanced-level English
  • A research proposal on the theme of ‘Illiberal democracy in Russia and right-wing politics in Europe’. The proposal should be no longer than 2,000 words (excluding the bibliography) and follow the guidelines
  • A copy of your Master’s certificate (or equivalent) or certificate of graduation.
  • An official transcript of the completed subjects and grades achieved in the course of the Master’s programme.
  • Two letters of recommendation from researchers familiar with your academic activities, e.g. the advisor of your Master’s thesis.

The referees must e-mail their recommendations directly to

For more information click "LINK TO ORIGINAL" below.

This opportunity has expired. It was originally published here:

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