PhD fellowships - Caspian Studies

The Institute for International Conflict Resolution and Reconstruction at Dublin City University is looking for 4 PhD researchers in the framework of the project Around the 'Caspian: a doctoral training for future experts in development and cooperation with focus on the Caspian region' (CASPIAN 2015-19). This 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.

A 36-month, full-time PhD researcher position (subject to a positive mid-term evaluation); a salary in accordance with Marie Curie payment scales and a sufficient research and travel budget; start of assignment not later than 1 September 2015. The selected PhD students will respectively work on the research projects, and complete a PhD thesis, on:
  • topic 1. Resilient authoritarianism in Central Asia: between international dynamics and domestic constraints
  • topic 2. Weak or absent opposition parties, electoral processes and sources of power around the Caspian region
  • topic 3. Women and Parliament in Autocratic states: competing for access to political positions in the Caspian region
  • topic 4. Civil society actors and political participation in Central Asia and Iran: dynamics of democratization and political co-option
These planned research projects focus on the societal impact and the effect on identities, social organization and the daily economies of rapid economic change in specific provinces and urban areas in the Caspian region, using mixed research methodologies. 

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 our 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 our non-EU university partners to gain an alternative vision for the Caspian region.
Eligible candidates:

• 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.
Number of positions available : 4
Research Area: Politics or a related field
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.
Candidates should apply by e-mail to Dr Donnacha Ó Beacháin, Director of Research at (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). a letter of application outlining the candidates’ interest for and, if applicable, experience in, the Caspian region; 

b). a detailed CV including, if applicable, a list of relevant publications; 

c). a 2-page project proposal on one of the topics mentioned at the description; 

d). 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 our department, or through Skype if the candidates are based outside of Ireland or Great Britain. The submission deadline can be extended if no of too few suitable candidates apply. Given the expected high number of applications, we regret that we 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

For more information on the Marie Sklodowska Curie Research Fellowship Programme, please refer to:
Required languages
  • English (excellent written and verbal).
  • Knowledge of a relevant regional language(s) is an advantage.
Eligible candidates should:
• have less than 4 years (full-time equivalent) of research experience after their Master's degree (this means that, from the moment they have completed their Master's, they may have held a research position, but for a total of less than 48 months),
•  not have been resident or carried out activities in Ireland for more than 12 months in the past three years prior to the recruitment date.