Fellowship Opportunities (SINATRA)

The Centre for Security, Diplomacy and Strategy (CSDS) of the Brussels School of Governance (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) is seeking to recruit one postdoctoral fellow and one PhD fellow on United States(US)-China great power competition and its implications for Europe. These fellowships will be part of a European Research Council (ERC) project entitled ‘Sino American Competition and European Strategic Autonomy’ (SINATRA), led by Prof. Luis Simón.

SINATRA examines to what extent the European Union (EU) is able to autonomously make decisions regarding its relations with the US and China. To do that, it presents a comprehensive theory to explain to what extent and under what circumstances external or internal actors have the upper-hand in informing European policy choices in Sino-American competition. Specifically, the project seeks to examine how the US and China conjugate inducements and coercion to influence EU policies – paying particular attention to their efforts to leverage intra-European divisions – and how powerful European actors try to repel external wedging efforts and preserve European cohesion.

The empirical analysis examines the degree of European cohesion and autonomy in three areas of external policy in which the EU enjoys exclusive competences (trade and FDI), where it shares competences with the member states (technology and infrastructure); and where member states are in charge (foreign and security policy). This distinction allows us to evaluate variation in the degree of European autonomy across policy areas.

The project relies on a mixed methods approach, combining qualitative research methods (elite interviews, case study research) with quantitative text analysis and computational social science.

Postdoctoral fellowship

You are invited to submit the following:

– A copy of their CV, including a full list of publications

– A motivation letter, where the candidate outlines their research agenda and how they plan to contribute to the ERC project (max 3 pages, including bibliography)

As a successful applicant, you must:

– hold a PhD in international relations, political science or economics with excellent study results

– be fluent in English (proficiency in Dutch and/or other official languages of the EU will be considered an asset)

– have a thorough knowledge of international affairs, public policy or European studies

– experience in computational social science/quantitative analysis as well as coding in R and Python is a plus (but not a must)

We particularly welcome you with expertise around one or more of the following themes:

– Economic statecraft and great power competition.

– Sino-American economic competition, with a particular emphasis on trade, investment and infrastructure.

– Geoeconomics and European strategic autonomy.

– China’s strategy and economic influence Europe; China’s efforts to influence the policies of the EU and/or its member states in areas like trade, investment, infrastructure.

We offer employment as a full-time post-doctoral researcher.

Contract: full-time research grant for one year, renewable on an annual basis for a maximum of three years. Extension of the contract is subject to the agreement of the doctoral committee. Remuneration is at the level of a full-time researcher at a Flemish university and includes contributions for social security.

You are expected to base yourself in Brussels to work at VUB premises. Office space and equipment will be provided along with a budget for travelling and other research-related expenses.

You will be expected to devote most of working the time to research; additional tasks will include occasional teaching activities, event organisation and contributions to the overall development of CSDS (including the support of other major research programmes). As a researcher you will prepare papers, attend conferences and produce research publications.

PhD fellowship

Within the above framework, a PhD project proposal is invited to explore one or more of the following themes:

– Economic statecraft and great power competition.

– Sino-American economic competition, with a particular emphasis on trade, investment and infrastructure.

– Geoeconomics and European strategic autonomy.

– China’s strategy and economic influence Europe; China’s efforts to influence the policies of the European Union and/or its member states in areas like trade, investment, infrastructure.

As a successful applicant, you must:

– hold a Master’s degree in international relations, social sciences or law with excellent study results

– be fluent in English (proficiency in Dutch and/or other official languages of the EU will be considered an asset)

– have a thorough knowledge of international affairs, public policy or European studies

– experience in computational social science/quantitative analysis as well as coding in R and Python is a plus (but not a must)

We offer employment as a full-time doctoral researcher.

Contract: full-time research grant for one year, renewable on an annual basis for a maximum of four years. Extension of the contract is subject to the agreement of the doctoral committee. Remuneration is at the level of a full-time research assistant at a Flemish university and includes contributions for social security. Secondary employment is not allowed.

You are expected to base yourself in Brussels to work at VUB premises. Office space and equipment will be provided along with a budget for travelling and other research-related expenses.

As a PhD researcher, you will be expected to devote most of the working time to research; additional tasks will include occasional teaching activities, event organisation and contributions to the overall development of CSDS (including the support of major research projects). You will prepare papers, attend conferences and produce research publications during the PhD.

Important Notice: Please be advised that the application deadline for both vacancies is Monday, April 8, 2024. All applications should be submitted via email to jobs_bsog@vub.be.

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