Postdoc Comparative politics/Data science (1.0 FTE)


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 postdoc researcher 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 gouvernments 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 Society. The project is supported by an International Board, involving scholars and civil society organisations. Data collection is done in partnership with national team leaders coming from 15 European universities.
Within the project team, four key tasks are expected:

1. Data collection on modalities of exceptionalism: As gouvernment decisions are published, commented, and most of times, archived, a procedure for systematically capturing the information will be defined by the postdoc in collaboration with the PI based on web-scraping and entity extraction techniques. To ensure the validity of the data, the coding will be rectified manually by native speaker research assistants hired by each national partner and harmonised across countries’ by the postdoc researcher in collaboration with EXCEPTIUS PI and Board.
2. Data collection on the impacts and determinants of exceptionalism: In collaboration with the PI and national team leaders, the postdoc researcher will be in charge of identifying suitable data sources to assess the political impacts and determinants of exceptionalism.
3. Data management and visualisation: in collaboration with the PI and the project data steward, the postdoc will ensure that the data management follows the open science and FAIR principles.
4. Communication and implementation activities: In collaboration with the PI, you will coordinate and collaborate with international research partners, monitor the progress of the project and contribute to the high-level publication and dissemination of the results (incl. the drafting of policy briefs and the organisation of policy workshops).

There will be opportunity to develop your own research compatible with project responsibilities.


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
- familiarity with the Dutch political system desirable
- excellent and demonstrable skills in digital research methods, including web-scrapping and entity extraction techniques
- excellent and demonstrable skills in quantitative research methods
- a PhD in a relevant social science discipline, such as Political Science, Sociology, International Relations or Economics
- an excellent command of English; a good knowledge of Dutch or a willingness to learn Dutch would be valuable.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 23 maanden.

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

- a salary, depending on qualifications and work experience from a minimum of € 2,790 to a maximum of € 4,402 (salary scale 10) 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
- an appointment on a temporary basis for 23 months, depending on the starting date.

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:

• a letter of motivation
• a curriculum vitae (including date and place of birth, copies of MA-degree, and a transcript of the grades obtained, a copy of the PhD certificate) and names and contact details of two academic referees
• if the PhD defense will be after the application, please send information on the defense date or a confirmation from your PhD adviser (or professor) on the expected defense date
• a full list of publications
• two sample writings (published papers or working papers under review) showing an excellent command of the project research methods; it is desirable that at least one paper is single authored
• a 1-2 page description of your research plans for the coming 3 years (excluding bibliography).

You can submit your application until 17 September 11:59pm / 18 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 23 and 24 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 220292

Digital application form