PhD Candidate for the research project 'Interest representation and political attitudes'

PhD Candidate for the research project 'Interest representation and political attitudes'

Published Deadline Location
10 Oct 27 Nov 's-Gravenhage

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The Institute of Public Administration at Leiden University is looking for a

PhD Candidate for the research project 'Interest representation and political attitudes'
Vacancy number: 14144

Job description

Interest organizations are an integral part of our democracies as they mobilize societal and economic interests and represent these before government. Yet, their involvement is considered a double-edged sword. That is, they are often included in policymaking to enhance the legitimacy of this process because they offer valuable political information as well as expertise. However, there is a widespread public fear that policymakers are increasingly putting economic interests before societal interests. This perception can have harmful consequences for the functioning of democracy as the effectiveness of policymaking rests on citizens' support for this process and ultimately their willingness to accept policy outcomes. Involving interest organizations can thus pose severe risks as well as offer great potential. But how do citizens envision the role of interest organizations in policymaking and how does it affect their political attitudes?

The Institute of Public Administration seeks to recruit a PhD candidate to contribute to the project 'Interest representation and political attitudes'. The focus of the PhD project will be to explore what citizens think about the role and behavior of interest organizations in policymaking and to assess when and how interest representation affects political attitudes related to for example legitimacy, efficacy, and trust. The envisaged starting date is 1 March 2024 or sooner.

The successful candidate might utilize focus groups, survey-experiments in combination with machine-learning approaches to empirically explore these perceptions and test conditions.

Tasks and responsibilities
The PhD candidate is expected to:
  • design and implement scientific research on interest representation and its effect on political attitudes. The research methodology can consist of focus groups, experimental designs, and NLP approaches.
  • disseminate research findings by publishing scientific articles in international peer-reviewed journals and presenting research at academic conferences.
  • communicate scientific findings to evidence for practice, for instance through publications in practitioner-oriented journals or websites, the development of trainings and/or interventions for practice, and participation in practice-oriented debates about how to shape and regulate interest group involvement in decision-making.
  • participate in and support the research and dissemination activities of the broader research group.
  • take part in relevant disciplinary and/or research methods courses, based on an individual training and supervision plan (approximately 10% of the appointment).
  • contribute to the teaching programs of the Institute of Public Administration (approximately 10% of the appointment), with the opportunity to obtain the Basic Teaching Qualification (BKO).


Leiden University


Selection criteria
  • A (research) master’s degree in social sciences with excellent study results, including political science, public administration, communication science, public policy, economics, sociology, or (organizational) psychology. Students who will obtain their master’s degree before or soon after the start date of 1 March 2024 are encouraged to apply;
  • Experience with quantitative analysis and interest in (survey) experimental research design and computational science methods;
  • Interest in and affinity with communicating scientific insights to practice;
  • Excellent spoken and written proficiency in English;
  • Experience with software for statistical analysis and programming (for instance r/rstudio, python, stata) and survey research (for instance Qualtrics) or strong interest in developing these skills;
  • The capacity to work both independently as well as collaboratively with the project team;
  • Good organizational and communicative skills;
  • The capacity to work in a creative and curiosity-driven way, with a good eye for detail.

Conditions of employment

The Faculty and Institute
Science for and about society is the domain of the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs (FGGA). FGGA provides high-quality interdisciplinary education and research on social and governance issues such as terrorism, organization of public administration, climate change and economic crises.

Contemporary issues are approached from an administrative, political, economic, legal and sociological perspective. This interdisciplinary approach gives the faculty's education and research a cross-border character.

The Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs (FGGA) is one of the seven faculties of Leiden University and is based in The Hague.

The FGGA is a young, enterprising, and innovative organization that is growing rapidly. The faculty has three scientific institutes, two centers, 3500 students and 330 staff members.

Within the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs, the Institute of Public Administration is one of the largest and oldest institutes of academic research and teaching in the field of public administration in the Netherlands and is located in The Hague. The institute combines a solid international academic reputation with a central positioning among the international, national, regional, and local governance institutions of The Hague. It employs around 80 people and provides education to 1200 students. The successful candidate will will participate within the research programme Public Governance and Civil Society within the research group Democracy & Bureaucracy.

Terms and conditions
We offer a full-time appointment of initially one year. After a positive evaluation of the progress of the research, teaching evaluations, personal capabilities and compatibility, the appointment will be extended for another three years. Salary range starts from €2.770,- gross per month up to €3.539,- gross per month (pay scale P in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career program. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. For more information: Job application procedure and employment conditions.

Diversity and inclusion are core values of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop their full potential. Diversity in experiences and perspectives enriches our teaching and strengthens our research.


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 14144



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