Postdoc position: The Geopolitics of Europe-China Tech-decoupling

Postdoc position: The Geopolitics of Europe-China Tech-decoupling

Published Deadline Location
12 Mar 22 Apr Amsterdam

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Are you a political scientist with solid methodological research skills and expertise in International Relations and/or International Political Economy and/or China studies? Please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU).

Job description

This postdoc position is part of the Vidi project “Globalization Unravelling? The Geopolitics of Europe-China Tech Decoupling” funded by NWO (the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek). In this project, we analyse and explain the geopolitical drivers behind emergent decoupling between Europe and China in the realm of technology. The project has three ‘workstreams’ to which you will contribute. In the project we place contemporary geopolitical competition over technology in a wider historical context by analysing ‘three waves of techno-nationalism’ going back to the Cold War as well as the competition with Japan in the 1980s (WS1). Against this background we will analyse how political and geopolitical drivers are shaping policies, practices and contestation around contemporary technological decoupling between Europe and China and explain (variation in) technological decoupling practices and responses in Europe and across different tech domains (WPS2). In addition, the project develops novel theorisation around technonationalism and the emergent topic of decoupling and recoupling in a globalized world (WS3).

You will be part of a team consisting of the Principal Investigator (PI), a PhD, and a research assistant.

Your responsibilities
  • Be involved in the coordination of the project and its team
  • Collect and analyse data on geopolitical drivers and dynamics of technological competition and decoupling both historically and contemporary
  • Conduct field work in Europe (and perhaps China/US)
  • Contribute to the development of the research agenda and theory around techno-nationalism and decoupling/recoupling in a globalized world
  • Organize workshops with academic and societal stakeholders
  • Contribute to (joint) publications on the findings of the project


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


  • PhD in Political Science, Public Administration, Sociology, or a closely related field, expertise/background in International Political Economy and / or China studies and/or European studies is a plus
  • excellent advanced qualitative research skills and at least basic quantitative research skills
  • a proven track record in publishing in high-quality international refereed journals
  • proficiency in academic English (written and spoken)
  • willingness to work in a team and take on some coordinating duties

Additional qualifications considered a plus:
  • competence and willingness to work with (social) network methodologies (e.g. SNA, DNA) and/or with large data bases (e.g. Bloomberg, Orbis)
  • experience in conducting and analyzing (elite) interviews
  • apprehension of Mandarin (written and or spoken)
  • relevant teaching experience and enthusiasm to teach

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 1 year.

A stimulating position in a highly committed team within a societally-engaged university and a vibrant international city. The position entails the optional extension from 0.8fte to 1.0 fte to gain more teaching experience (see below). The position also offers you the possibility to become an active member of the China in Europe Research Network (CHERN).

The job profile is based on the university job ranking system researcher (UFO profile Onderzoeker 3 or 4) and is vacant for 0.8 FTE for the research. In consultation with the selected candidate, the contract can be extended to 1.0 FTE by adding teaching tasks.

Depending on the previous experience of the candidate, the remuneration on a full-time basis amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of € 3.226 (scale 10.0) up to a maximum of € 5.929 (scale 11.11). The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a total duration of 3 years.

The intended start date is preferably no later than 1st of September 2024

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 31,000 students. We employ over 5,000 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

Faculty of Social Sciences
The Faculty of Social Sciences examines the major social problems of our time from multiple perspectives. From bullying at school to dealing with transnational immigration, from the rise of populist politicians to creating a self-reliant society. Only at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam you will find all the academic disciplines needed to understand these 'wicked problems': alongside the traditional disciplines such as sociology, anthropology and politics, we also research and teach the new social sciences such as communication science and management & organization science. We do not settle for easy answers in our teaching and research. Our researchers and students are critical thinkers and doers who work together to devise surprising solutions to the problems of today.

Working at the Faculty of Social Sciences means working with colleagues from a range of academic disciplines in an inspiring and personal work and study environment with excellent research facilities. We employ more than 350 staff members, and we are home to around 3,000 students.


  • Postdoc
  • Behaviour and society
  • €3226—€5929 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 3869


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

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