Research assistant ‘EXCEPTIUS: Exceptional powers in time of Sars-Cov-2 crisis


Faculty of Arts


University of Groningen

The Faculty of Arts is a large, dynamic faculty in the heart of the city of Groningen. It has more than 5.000 students and 700 staff members. The Faculty offers a wide range of degree programmes: 15 bachelor's programmes and over 35 master's specialisations. Vibrant research is facilitated by the Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG), the Centre for International Relations Research, the Centre for Digital Humanities, and Globalisation Studies Groningen. The vacancy is at the department of International Relations & International Organization (IRIO). As member of the Centre for International Relations Research, you will become part of a first class and international research environment.

Job description

The graduate research assistant will be part of “EXCEPTIUS: Exceptional powers in time of Sars-CoV-2 crisis” funded by the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw -
The management of the Sars-CoV-2 pandemic has led European governments to take exceptional political measures imposing restrictions on democratic processes, the rule of law, fundamental rights and civil liberties as well as international commitments. Although all European gouvernments claim to rely on the latest evidence when deciding which measures to implement, the modalities and impacts of exceptional decision-making have considerable variations across gouvernments, even between those that exhibit similarities in terms of political institutions and political culture. EXCEPTIUS is a 2 years European transdisciplinary project aiming at identifying the modalities, impacts and determinants of emergency decision-making in Europe through a comparative cross country analysis. The pandemic offers an opportunity to contribute interdisciplinary knowledge to the study of democratic resilience, by assessing why some democratic systems prove more resilient to exogenous shocks and which types of political reforms increase such resilience
The project is led by Dr Clara Egger of the Centre for International Relations Research, in collaboration with Prof. Dr Kees Aarts of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, and with the support of the UMCG and of the University-wide theme Sustainable Societies. The project is supported by an International Board, involving scholars and civil society organizations. Data collection is done in partnership with national team leaders coming from 15 European universities.

Within the project team, the following key tasks are expected:

1. Data collection on modalities of exceptionalism at the subnational level in the Netherlands: As government decisions are published, commented, and most of times, archived, a procedure for systematically capturing the information will be defined based on web-scraping and entity extraction techniques. To ensure the validity of the data, the coding will be rectified manually by the research assistant which will code decisions taken at the subnational level in the Netherlands on a daily basis.
2. Communication and implementation activities: In collaboration with the PI, you will coordinate and collaborate with international research partners and contribute to the dissemination of the results on national and regional media (incl. the drafting of policy briefs, opinion pieces for the media).


You are intellectually curious and enthusiastic about working in an international team across disciplinary and methodological boundaries.

You have:

- an interest and track record in the comparative studying of democratic regimes in Europe and theorising the effects of crises on democratic stability and legitimacy
- strong command of the Dutch political system and institutions (at the national and subnational levels)
- strong command of quantitative research methods (including the design, feeding and cleaning of a dataset)
- a MA in a relevant social science discipline, such as Political Science, Sociology International Relations or Economics
- an excellent command of English and Dutch.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 06 maanden.

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

- a salary, depending on qualifications and work experience, with a minimum of € 1,914 to a maximum of € 2,723 (salary scale 5) gross per month for a full-time position
- a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income and an 8.3% year-end bonus; favourable tax agreements may apply to non-Dutch applicants
- a temporary appointment of 0.5 FTE for a specified period of 6 months. A full-time appointment for three months can be considered.

The conditions of employment comply with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU). For more detailed information about working conditions and working for the University of Groningen, please check:

We aim at a starting date of 1 October 2020.

Job Application

Do you want to become a member of our team? Please send your application to us, by submitting the following documents in English or Dutch:

- a letter of motivation
- a curriculum vitae (including date and place of birth, copies of MA-degree, and a transcript of the grades obtained)
- two references letters demonstrating the applicant’s research and methodological skills
- a list of publications (if relevant)
- one sample writing demonstrating your command of research and methodological skills.

You can submit your application until 22 September 11:59pm / before 23 September 2020 Dutch local time by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

Only complete applications submitted by the deadline will be taken into consideration.

The selection interviews will take place on 25 September 2020.

We are an equal opportunity employer that values diversity. We have adopted an active policy to increase the number of female scientists across all disciplines of the university. Therefore, women are encouraged to apply. Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP), and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers,

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

Dr Clara Egger

In your application, please always include the job opening ID T032220

Digital application form