PhD Fellowships in Caspian Studies at Dublin City University

Deadline: 6 March 2015 (17:00 GMT)
Open to: Master degree holders in Politics or a related discipline
Fellowship: recruitment and training of each researcher for up to three years (employment contract, monthly living allowance, social security cover, a mobility and family allowance)


The Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions, named after the double Nobel Prize winning Polish-French scientist famed for her work on radioactivity, support researchers at all stages of their careers, irrespective of nationality. Researchers working across all disciplines, from life-saving healthcare to ‘blue-sky’ science, are eligible for funding. The MSCA also support industrial doctorates, combining academic research study with work in companies, and other innovative training that enhances employability and career development.

In addition to generous research funding, scientists have the possibility to gain experience abroad and in the private sector, and to complete their training with competences or disciplines useful for their careers. More information about various funding schemes and requirements for applying is available HERE.

The project Around the Caspian: a doctoral training for future experts in development and cooperation with focus on the Caspian region (CASPIAN 2015-19) is an Innovative Training Network that has received €3.8 million under a Marie Sklodowska Curie scheme funded by the Research Executive Agency of the European Commission with the goal of training the next generation of experts on the Caspian region. The full partners of this project are Dublin City University, Ghent University (Universiteit Gent), Tallinn University of Technology (Tallinna Tehnikaülikool), Oxford Brookes University, University of Saint Andrews, Centre for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra (Universidade de Coimbra) and the Forschungsstelle Osteuropa Bremen.

There are 15 36-month, full-time PhD researcher positions (subject to a positive mid-term evaluation) available at the participating universities. Precisely 4 PhD fellowships are available at Dublin City University (Coordinator of the programme). The topics are the following:

  1. Resilient authoritarianism in Central Asia: between international dynamics and domestic constraints;
  2. Weak or absent opposition parties, electoral processes and sources of power around the Caspian region;
  3. Women and Parliament in Autocratic states: competing for access to political positions in the Caspian region;
  4. Civil society actors and political participation in Central Asia and Iran: dynamics of democratization and political co-option.

The training component of the fellowships will have three main parts:

  • The researchers will have to undergo extensive academic training and will attend regular network events and will have access to a network of universities where to receive complementary training;
  • In the course of their fellowship, they will be encouraged to spend a period in one of their non-academic partners to obtain work experience and learn how to use academic skills for non-academic sectors;
  • The researchers will also be encouraged to spend a research period in one of their non-EU university partners to gain an alternative vision for the Caspian region.

Eligibility of the applicants

  • Should have a Masters degree in Politics or a related discipline completed by the application deadline at the latest;
  • Should be organized, field-oriented, and able to work and manage research independently;
  • Should have excellent knowledge of and writing skills in English. Knowledge of relevant regional language(s) is an advantage;
  • Should be able to cope maturely with hardships, practical problems and unforeseen circumstances that may emerge during the research and on research locations in general;
  • Should be prepared to travel often: although they will be based at the International Conflict Resolution and Reconstruction at Dublin City University during the assignment period, candidates are expected to spend a sizeable amount of time away for fieldwork, secondment to a private partner and/or a to a non-EU university, and/or for conferences and meetings related to the project;
  • Finally, familiarity with, and previous field experience in, the former USSR or/and Eastern Europe will be considered substantial assets.

Candidates should not have spent more than a maximum of 12 months in the Republic of Ireland in the last 36 months (up to the deadline).  Candidates must also quality for Early Stage Researcher status. This means, inter alia, that they must not already have a PhD and must have spent less than 4 years in a research / academic post since graduating with their Masters degree.


A salary in accordance with Marie Curie payment scales and a sufficient research and travel budget is provided. Find more information on the funding HERE.


Candidates should apply by e-mail to Dr Donnacha Ó Beacháin, Director of Research, at [email protected] (mention ‘CASPIAN application’ in heading/subject space) before Friday, 6 March 2015, 17:00 GMT.

The application must be in English and the application package should contain the following items:

  • A letter of application outlining the candidates’ interest for and, if applicable, experience in, the Caspian region;
  • A detailed CV including, if applicable, a list of relevant publications;
  • A 2-page project proposal on one of the topics mentioned at the description;
  • The names and contact details of 3 reference persons who can comment on the applicants’ capabilities and abilities.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview either in person at University’s department, or through Skype if the candidates are based outside of Ireland or Great Britain. The submission deadline can be extended if not too few suitable candidates apply. Given the expected high number of applications, the University regrets that will be unable to provide individual feedback to non-selected candidates.

For more information on the type of research conducted at the Institute for International Conflict Resolution and Reconstruction (IICRR), please refer to the following page.

Find the call for applications HERE.

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