Vacant PhD position

No current vacancies

Would you like to do a PhD on the legitimacy of the European Union after the financial crisis? Join PLATO, a European training network of leading research universities and professionals from the policy advice, consulting and civil society sectors.

Who you are

  • MA degree in political science, sociology or related social science discipline
  • Original research idea and project proposal (guidelines)
  • Strong academic abilites
  • Team-minded
  • Excellent language and communication skills
  • Networking capabilities

PLATO is an EU-funded PhD network coordinated by Prof. Chris Lord at ARENA Centre for European Studies, University of Oslo. PLATO brings together 15 PhD researchers (Early Stage Researchers, ESRs) employed by nine university partners from across Europe to undertake a common multidisciplinary investigation into crisis and the legitimacy of the Union. The doctoral researchers work together with senior researchers from across the network.

ESR15 position Vienna (deadline expired)

One fully funded position is available at the Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS) in Vienna on legitimacy crisis and European elections (ESR15).

The PhD project concentrates on the legitimation of European integration, the EU, and EU politics and policies. A particular focus is on political preferences, as assessed by the dynamics of support and rejection of the European project, and political behaviour, as defined by the choice of integrationist and Eurosceptic parties and electoral platforms in elections to national parliaments and the European Parliament. For more details, see the Call for Application (pdf).

The candidate will be employed at IHS and enrolled in a PhD programme, while at the same time being part of PLATO's integrated research team and research project. PLATO’s Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) follow the same mandatory training programme. The successful ESR15 candidate would join a group of 14 PhD researchers, who started in Sep/Oct 2017. We would be particularly interested in a candidate who is already enrolled in a PhD programme; who has made some progress but who would be willing to pursue a project along the lines of the current call. This would allow the new ESR15 to be quickly integrated in PLATO's group of PhD researchers, who met at the project's kick-off conference.

The preferred start date of the position is 1 May 2018, and no later than 1 July 2018. The position is funded full-time for 30 months.

ESR15: Legitimacy crisis and European elections, Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna (Austria)

Deadline: 16 April 2018

We offer

  • International faculty at the forefront of research
  • Tackling key policy issues for Europe
  • Professional career development
  • Transferrable skills
  • Work experience from the policy advice, consulting or civil society sector
  • Fully funded PhD position with generous allowances

What PLATO offers

PLATO provides a unique opportunity for internationally oriented, ambitious and team-minded early stage researchers to follow an intensive PhD programme that pools resources from excellent European research institutions and leading scholars in the field.

The ESRs’ career perspectives and employability will be expanded also beyond academia. Each ESR will undertake one three-month stay at a partner university and one four-week secondment to gain first-hand work experience from the policy advice, consulting or civil society sector. PLATO moreover provides a quality framework for supervision and individual career development plans offered by the global leader in the professional development of researchers, Vitae.

Read more on PLATO's training programme and possible career paths.

Our network

  • 28 professors/senior researchers at nine university partners
  • 11 training partners from the policy advice, civil society and consulting sector, media and career development

A multidisciplinary faculty of scholars as well as professionals from other sectors give PLATO's early stage researchers exceptional access to resources and opportunities across the network. Among PLATO’s training partners are several leading European think tanks, a consulting firm for trade associations, as well as civil society organisations promoting democracy and citizen participation.

The MSCA-ITN funding scheme offers attractive salary and working conditions, including family allowance depending on the candidates' status at the time of recruitment.


A common research agenda

PLATO is a fully integrated, thematic research school with its own research question. PLATO aims to go well beyond the state-of-the-art by building a theory of legitimacy crisis in the EU from a uniquely interdisciplinary understanding of how democracy, power, law, economies and societies all fit together with institutions within and beyond the state to affect the legitimacy of contemporary political order.

The 15 individual PhD projects speak to this overall research question, but explore different aspects of the EU's legitimacy after the financial crisis; how it plays out in different policy areas and how it is perceived by different actors.

The successful candidate should submit a research proposal (guidelines for the project proposal) that covers what is already in the project description. However, it should also go further. It should set out an original yet feasible way of researching the specific ESR15 project.

Early Stage Researcher (ESR)

  • The ESR category is defined by EU-funded Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks (ITN)
  • An ESR cannot have resided in the country of recruitment for more than 1 year in the last 3 years. FAQ mobility rule (
  • An ESR is in the first four years of her/his research career and does not have a doctoral degree. FAQ career stage (


PLATO’s ambitious and demanding training programme will require highly motivated ESRs, who will be required to perform above the average PhD student. The 15 PhD researchers work together as an integrated team within a carefully designed research programme aimed at jointly developing theory and methods.

In assessing the candidates, particular emphasis will be placed on originality and creativity of the proposal, academic qualifications, and the individual project’s fit within the overall research programme. Candidates must have excellent writing skills as well as English language skills. Teamwork will be given emphasis, as PLATO is looking for dynamic and enthusiastic candidates collaborating well with other members of a team.


If it is not evident from the application that the two criteria are met, please include an explanation as part of your application.

Two specific eligibility conditions apply to this funding scheme, the Innovative Training Networks (ITN) of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions (MSCA) in the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme:

  • Mobility rule: The recruited researchers cannot have resided in the country where she/he is recruited for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the date of recruitment and not have carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in that country.
  • Career stage: The recruited researchers must at the date of recruitment be in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of her/his research career and not have a doctoral degree. This four-year period is measured from the date of obtaining the degree, which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.

If it is not evident from the application that the above criteria are met, please include an explanation as part of your application.

Further details can be found in the European Commission's Participant Portal, where a number of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the specific funding scheme are assembled.


See the Call for Application (pdf)


PLATO - Frequently Asked Questions

For questions on the specific ESR15 positions, please contact Katrin Auel or Guido Tiemann (IHS Vienna). For questions related to the PLATO project overall, please contact PLATO Project Manager Marit Eldholm (ARENA).