Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Political Science, with a focus on survey and field research in Sub-Saharan Africa

Ref PAR 2022/1208

The University of Gothenburg tackles society’s challenges with diverse knowledge. 56 000 students and 6 600 employees make the university a large and inspiring place to work and study. Strong research and attractive study programmes attract scientists and students from around the world. With new knowledge and new perspectives, the University contributes to a better future.

The Department of Political Science is an open and socially engaged institution, in the middle of the city and in the middle of the debate. In 2022, the ShanghaiRanking’s Academy of World Universities ranked the department number 1 in Sweden, 5 in Europe and 19 in the world in political science. We are very research-active and offer a lively research environment with several thematic seminar series and internal workshops. Our research revolves around elections, democracy, corruption, forms of government, globalization, the environment and politics, as well as European issues. The department hosts research programs such as the Center for Collective Action Research (CeCAR), the QoG Institute, Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem), Governance and Local Development Institute (GLD) and the Swedish Electoral Research Program. We have education at all levels, undergraduate advanced level and postgraduate level, as well as independent courses. Teaching is given in both Swedish and English. In total, about 1,400 people study with us. The Department of Political Science has around 160 employees.

The Governance and Local Development Institute (GLD) is directed by Professor Ellen Lust. GLD aims to explain variation in governance and local development in an effort to promote human welfare globally. Read more about the research program on our website at http://www.gld.gu.se/

GLD, in collaboration with other departments at GU, Linköping University, Chalmers University of Technology, and Harvard University, is undertaking a large project that aims to identify how competing development programs alter African communities’ opportunities to exit the poverty cycle. The project draws on mixed methods, including the use of satellite images analysed via AI, case studies, focus groups and public opinion surveys.

GLD’s role is to conceptualise community-level power structures that impact these poverty traps and to consider to what extent and how World Bank and Chinese aid programs help to break poverty traps. We will do so by focusing on the nature of poverty traps at individual- and community-levels and the impact of existing aid programs in the country. GLD will employ surveys (based on the LGPI, a GLD-developed survey tool); conduct case study interviews with village heads, development chairs, local elders, and the international donor community; and review existing documents, all with the aim to generate a deeper understanding of why donors operate in specific communities and whether this aid defuses poverty traps.

The Department of Political Science and the Governance and Local Development Institute invites applications for a post-doctoral fellow to conduct research within the framework of the project “Combining Satellite Images and Artificial Intelligence to Measure Poverty between 1982-2020.” This is a 2-year position, full-time in residence postdoctoral researcher, with a flexible starting date in 2022.

Subject areas

Social Sciences, including political science, economics, sociology, development and related fields.

Subject area description

Political science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, nation, government, and politics and policies of government on a national and international perspective.

Job assignments 

The employment as a postdoctoral fellow aims to give the employee an early opportunity to develop his independence as a researcher after completing his doctoral degree and to create the conditions for further qualifications. The person employed as a postdoctoral fellow must mainly conduct research. Teaching can be included in the work duties, but to a maximum of one-fifth of the working time.

As a postdoctoral researcher with GLD, you will be expected to spend your time on GLD- or project-oriented tasks including: Assisting in research design and implementation, including the survey, interviews and other fieldwork as necessary; Overseeing survey training and implementation, with fieldwork expected; Analyzing data; Collaborating with Professor Ellen Lust and other researchers in the program, as relevant, to disseminate findings through articles and presentations.

There will be excellent opportunities for intellectual development and mentoring as well as for developing an independent research agenda within the overall context of the project. There are ample opportunities for developing a strong academic network.

Eligibility

Eligible to be employed as a postdoctoral fellow is someone who has a doctorate in political science or a closely related subject at the latest at the time the employment decision is made. In the first instance, those who have completed their degree no more than three years before the end of the application period should be considered. Even those who have completed their degree previously can be considered if there are special reasons.

For more information regarding eligibility please visit The appointment procedure GU 2022/38

Assessment

You must have a doctoral degree in preferably political science or related discipline. We are looking for you with previous experience of research in connection with the research area described above.

Applicants must have excellent written and oral proficiency in English. Competency in Chichewa or Chitumbuka is meritorious.

The ideal candidate has a solid understanding of the theories relating to poverty traps, local governance, the consequences of aid, and sub-Saharan Africa. You should have a track record of independently producing scientific articles of high quality and a record of accomplishments in one or more of the following project research areas: development, governance, service provision, non-state actors, or survey methodology and related empirical methods. Experience implementing surveys and/or experiments in the developing world is preferred. Demonstrated knowledge of programs such as R and/or Stata and experience working with unusual data sources (e.g., textual analysis, big data sources, GIS) is meritorious.

To be successful in this position, you must have an eye for detail, good organizational skills and be able to solve problems. You need to have very high communication and collaboration skills, while also having a knack for independent work.

Great emphasis is placed on personal suitability for the position. We will make an overall assessment and the applicant who is considered to be best qualified to carry out and develop the tasks described above will be appointed to the position.

Employment 

The employment is limited (temporary) for 2 years, full-time and is currently placed at the Department of Political Science. Starting date - as early as possible or as agreed.

For more information please visit The appointment Procedure, GU 2022/38

Contact information for the post 

If you have questions regarding the employment, or details about the projects in which this position is organized, please contact Ellen Lust, ellen.lust@gu.se 

If you have any questions regarding the employment procedure, please contact Helena Jensen, Helena.Jensen@gu.se

Unions 

Union representatives at the University of Gothenburg can be found here: https://www.gu.se/om-universitetet/jobba-hos-oss/hjalp-for-sokande 

Application 

To apply for a position at the University of Gothenburg, you have to create an account in our recruitment system. Submit your application via the University of Gothenburg’s recruitment portal by clicking the “Apply” button. It is your responsibility to ensure that the application is complete as per the vacancy notice, and that the University receives it by the final application deadline. 

We kindly ask you to write your application in English as the application may be reviewed by English-speaking staff. In the selection process, English will likely be spoken in the interview and to any references.

The application should include the following:

  • Statement of how the applicant’s research agenda would contribute to the GLD Institute, included in a broader cover letter
  • A C.V. (including a list of publications)
  • One English-language writing sample (may be a previously published work or one in progress)
  • A list of at least three references (with contact information) from whom letters of recommendation can be solicited

Applications must be received by: 2022-12-01

Information for International Applicants

Choosing a career in a foreign country is a big step. Thus, to give you a general idea of what we and Gothenburg have to offer in terms of benefits and life in general for you and your family/spouse/partner please visit:

https://www.gu.se/en/about-the-university/welcome-services

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The University works actively to achieve a working environment with equal conditions, and values the qualities that diversity brings to its operations.

Salaries are set individually at the University.

In accordance with the National Archives of Sweden’s regulations, the University must archive application documents for two years after the appointment is filled. If you request that your documents are returned, they will be returned to you once the two years have passed. Otherwise, they will be destroyed.

In connection to this recruitment, we have already decided which recruitment channels we should use. We therefore decline further contact with vendors, recruitment and staffing companies.