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PhD Positon COVIDEU Project - The Impact of COVID-19 on Public Support for the EU

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences – Political Science

Vacancy details of PhD Positon COVIDEU Project - The Impact of COVID-19 on Public Support for the EU
Publication date 3 September 2021
Closing date 8 October 2021
Level of education University
Hours 38 hours per week
Salary indication €2,434 to €3,111 gross per month
Vacancy number 21-697

The Department of Political Science is looking for a PhD candidate to work in the COVIDEU project which investigates the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on public support for the European Union. The project is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation and conducted by Theresa Kuhn (University of Amsterdam) in collaboration with Heike Klüver (consortium leader, Humboldt University Berlin), Sara Hobolt (LSE), Toni Rodon (Pompeu Fabra) and Michał Krawczyk (Warsaw). The PhD candidate will be employed at the Duitsland Institut Amsterdam and will be part of the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR) programme group Challenges for democratic representation.

The COVID-19 crisis is one of the biggest challenges the European Union has ever faced. While the pandemic is a truly transnational challenge that can best be dealt with jointly, it has the potential to tear the EU apart. The COVIDEU project therefore investigates how this crisis has influenced citizens’ Eurosceptic attitudes, their solidarity with fellow Europeans and the electoral performance of Eurosceptic parties. We combine insights from political behaviour, social psychology and political communication to analyse how people compare national and EU policy responses and take cues from domestic governments, political parties and the media when forming opinions about the EU.

What are you going to do

We study the impact of the pandemic through six work packages that are clustered into three pillars. In the first pillar, we investigate how the policy measures adopted by national governments and EU institutions have affected eurosceptic attitudes, European solidarity and the performance of Eurosceptic parties. In the second pillar, we examine how political actors, namely governments, political parties and social movements have influenced EU support. Finally, in pillar three, we study how media framing and fake news have influenced public support. To answer these questions, the team relies on an original multi-method approach combining survey, observational and geocoded data with natural, survey and field experiments as well as innovative natural language processing technologies.

You will:

  • conduct PhD research on the impact of COVID-19 on public support for the EU, including conducting a survey experiment and collecting data on covid-related border closures and mobility restrictions, under the supervision of Dr. Theresa Kuhn;
  • be affiliated with the AISSR and participate in its organized PhD training. The academic work is to result in a doctoral thesis that will be defended at the Faculty of Social Sciences with the goal of obtaining the degree of PhD';
  • collaborate with the international project team and actively participate in project meetings;
  • take active part in the research environment at the AISSR, including research seminars and the political science PhD club, among others;
  • teach Bachelor-level courses, depending upon availability and as is suitable for the PhD schedule;
  • assist with administrative responsibilities related to the project (ca. 10% of the time), such as the organization of workshops, conference, or other project events;
  • make Amsterdam (or a location within daily commuting distance) your primary residence for the duration of the PhD project. The AISSR will assist with finding adequate housing and with applying for visa and residence permit.

What do we require

You have the following credentials:


  • a Master’s degree or equivalent in political science or closely related discipline in the social sciences, such as sociology, communication science or psychology. The degree must have been obtained by the start of your employment;
  • excellent oral and written communication skills in English;
  • a strong command of advanced quantitative social science research methods, e.g. quantitative text analysis, causal inference, survey experiments, as well as willingness to further develop these skills;
  • advanced programming skills in STATA or similar statistical software;
  • independent thinking and critical analytical skills;
  • the ability to work independently;
  • the ability to collaborate in a diverse team and in close cooperation with the daily supervisor and other members of the research group;
  • strong interpersonal skills;
  • The ability to finish the PhD project in time: i.e. strong skills in project management, flexibility, a proactive approach and excellent academic writing skills;
  • The willingness to move to Amsterdam or a location within daily commuting distance for the duration of the contract.


  • strong oral and written communication skills in Dutch, German or Polish;
  • expertise in public opinion research, political psychology and EU politics;
  • experience as research assistant in the field;
  • experience with collecting and analysing quantitative survey data.

Our offer

  • The opportunity to conduct cutting-edge research in a dynamic and vibrant research environment and to work together with an international team of top scholars.
  • Research stay at another participating university (LSE, Humboldt University Berlin, Pompeu Fabra Barcelona, Warsaw University).
  • Financial support for academic conferences and summer schools.
  • The opportunity to follow a wide range of graduate courses in social sciences and research methods.
  • Being located in the heart of Amsterdam, one of Europe’s most exciting cities with an outstanding research environment.

The position concerns a temporary appointment of 38 hours per week for a maximum term of four years. The initial appointment is for one year, starting on 1 January 2021. Following a positive assessment after 12 months and barring other unforeseen circumstances, your appointment will be extended by a maximum of 36 months, at the end of which a doctorate should be conferred. You will follow a curriculum with other AISSR PhD candidates. You will also have the opportunity to attend training courses and both national and international conferences and workshops.

Your salary will be €2,434 gross per month in the first year and will increase to €3,111 in the fourth and final year, based on full-time employment We offer an extensive package of secondary benefits, including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8.3%. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.


Do you have questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:

Please follow the links to learn more about the Challenges to democratic representation research group,  PETGOV research group, the Department of Political Science, and the AISSR.  

Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

To apply, please submit the following four documents combined into a single PDF document with your name and the vacancy number in the document title:

Please include:

  • a CV;
  • a maximum two-page cover letter that outlines your preparation and motivation to pursue this degree; Please be as specific as possible in describing how you meet the selection criteria. If you do not meet all of the criteria yet, please explain how you will acquire the required skills;
  • (unofficial) undergraduate and graduate transcripts;
  • the contact details of two academic references who know you well.

Please do NOT include any other materials at this stage. No other materials will be reviewed by the committee.

The deadline for applications is 8 October 2021. Additional materials such as recommendation letters, writing samples, and/or a short draft PhD proposal will be requested only for short-listed candidates. Do not send these materials with the initial application. The committee expects interviews to take place (via zoom) in the first half of November 2021.

No agencies please