Two PhD Candidates: Democratic Innovations and Populism: For Better or Worse?

Two PhD Candidates: Democratic Innovations and Populism: For Better or Worse?

Published Deadline Location
22 Jul 1 Sep Nijmegen

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Job description

The Chair group of Political Science at the Nijmegen School of Management invites applications for two PhD positions. The positions are part of the research project ‘Democratic Innovations and Populism: For Better or Worse?’, led by Dr Kristof Jacobs and funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO).

The VIDI project investigates the relationship between populist attitudes amongst citizens and democratic ‘innovations’, such as referendums, citizens’ assemblies (G1000) and participatory budgeting. After all, one of the proposed reactions to populists’ feelings that they are not heard, is to implement democratic innovations. However, we do not know whether these innovations ‘work’ or not.

The empirical research will be carried out in close cooperation by two PhDs and Dr Jacobs, each of them focusing on one cluster of democratic innovations (direct, deliberative, participatory democracy). The researchers will use a multi-method approach to reveal broader patterns in this relationship (through repeated surveys) and obtain deeper insight in what drives these patterns (through face-to-face interviews). They will do so before, during and after real-life cases of the use of participatory instruments at local and national levels (i.e. actual local referendums; citizens’ assemblies, etc.). A longer version of the research proposal is available upon request.

Your task will be to collect data, conduct research, predominantly through applying qualitative and quantitative research procedures, to write scientific articles, and to complete a PhD thesis in time. You will also participate in conferences, workshops and other scholarly and valorisation activities, and contribute to teaching at Nijmegen School of Management.


Radboud University


  • A Master’s degree in Political Science or a related field.
  • Academic excellence, as demonstrated by grade transcripts and CV.
  • A solid understanding of both quantitative and qualitative research methods.
  • Excellent command of written and spoken Dutch and English.
  • The ability to work both independently and as a team player.
  • The ability to finish your PhD thesis in time, i.e. strong skills in project management, flexibility, proactive behaviour and excellent academic writing skills.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: you will be appointed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4 year contract).

  • Employment: 40 hours per week.
  • The gross starting salary amounts to €2,325 per month, and will increase to €2,972 in the fourth year (salary scale P).
  • In addition to the salary: an 8% holiday allowance and an 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • Duration of the contract: you will be appointed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4 year contract).
  • The intended start date is 1 January 2020.
  • You will be able to make use of our Dual Career Service: our Dual Career Officer will assist with family-related support, such as child care, and help your partner prepare for the local labour market and with finding an occupation.
  • Are you interested in our excellent employment conditions?


Radboud University has seven faculties, which together cover the full range of academic disciplines. Its teaching and research staff hail from more than fifty countries. With several brand new buildings and state-of-the-art facilities, the leafy modern campus in Nijmegen provides an open and welcoming environment with a personal touch, encouraging the sharing of knowledge among academics, across disciplines, and within and between research institutes. Radboud University firmly believes that a broad perspective is essential for generating new insights and solutions in both science and society.


Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen

The Nijmegen School of Management (NSM) is an academic centre of research and higher education at Radboud University, focusing on institutional and managerial issues concerning complex organisations in both the public and private domains. It covers seven disciplines: Business Administration, Public Administration, Political Science, Economics and Business Economics, Social and Political Sciences of the Environment, Human Geography, and Spatial Planning. The NSM strives for a multidisciplinary approach whenever possible. The NSM employs 265 FTEs, 75% of whom are academics. The NSM currently has approximately 4,500 students.

The Chair group of Political Science comprises five Chairs: Empirical Political Science, Political Theory, International Relations, Contesting Europeanisation, and Comparative Politics. It is one of the leading centres of research on populist attitudes among citizens. The Chair group offers a Bachelor’s programme in Political Science and six Master’s tracks, each leading to a Master’s degree in Political Science. The educational programme is characterised by small-scale teaching and provides a stimulating learning environment with an emphasis on the development of academic skills. Research activities fall under the responsibility of the interdisciplinary Institute for Management Research (IMR). Under the motto ‘Creating knowledge for society’, IMR focuses on academic research into the development, design and effectiveness of the public and private structures that regulate, govern or manage human interactions.


  • PhD
  • Economics
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • max. €2972 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1057955



Houtlaan 4, 6525 XZ, Nijmegen

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