Vacancies for Academic Staff

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Department: Department of Political Science
Regime Full-time

Let’s shape the future - University of Antwerp

The University of Antwerp is a dynamic, forward-thinking university. We offer an innovative academic education to more than 20.000 students, conduct pioneering scientific research and play an important service-providing role in society. We are one of the largest, most international and most innovative employers in the region. With more than 6.000 employees from 100 different countries, we are helping to build tomorrow's world every day. Through top scientific research, we push back boundaries and set a course for the future – a future that you can help to shape. The University of Antwerp is ranked 7th globally on the Times Higher Education Young Universities Rankings 2023.

The research group Politics & Public Governance (P&PG) is part of the Department of Political Science (Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Antwerp). P&PG studies how politics and public governance respond to (a) the increasing diversity of citizens and society and (b) the multi-level and multi-actor nature of policymaking and policy implementation. By combining a political science and a public administration perspective, our research wants to understand the nature of contemporary politics and public governance, its causes, effects, the role of trust and, ultimately, its democratic legitimacy. To this end, P&PG studies political and public governance institutions, their evolution, and how institutional mechanisms shape actors’ scope of action, positions, decisions, and behaviour. Public administration research at the University of Antwerp is ranked 22nd (1st in Belgium) on the Global Shanghai Ranking for PA 2022.

P&PG is also part of the GOVTRUST Centre of Excellence (University of Antwerp), an interdisciplinary research consortium focusing on “Trust and Distrust in Multi-level Governance.” GOVTRUST combines the high-level scientific expertise of three faculties (Law, Social Sciences, and Economics) and five disciplines (political science, communication science, law, behavioural economics, and public administration) to jointly conduct frontline interdisciplinary research on the dynamics, causes, and effects of trust and distrust in multi-level governance systems. In particular, GOVTRUST studies the trust relations between political, administrative, regulatory, and judicial actors as well as trust in and of citizens and society.

The research group Politics & Public Governance and the GOVTRUST Centre of Excellence are jointly looking to hire two new team members.

Two PhD positions (100% scholarship) for a four year-project on the design and effects of alternative forms of policy and regulation in the fields of environmental protection and welfare/care.

We are looking to hire two team members to join our new GOBAREG project team, which will involve 6 professors, a postdoc, a valorisation manager, and four PhD researchers. The successful applicants will conduct research within the project ‘Legitimate Alternative Regulation in Regulatory Regimes’ (GOBAREG). The GOBAREG project studies how alternative forms of policy and regulation in the environmental and welfare sector, aiming for more sustainability and quality, can be designed and implemented in a legitimate way. These alternative forms of policy and regulation seek to enhance innovation and reduce compliance costs, while protecting citizens from harm. More specifically, the project zooms in on the following questions. How are citizens,  private organisations, as well as politicians, civil servants, supervisory authorities,  and judges shaping and interpreting these policies and regulations, and how is their behaviour influenced by them? To what extent do these alternative forms of policy and regulation stimulate innovation and flexibility, while still ensuring compliance? And how do trust and cooperation between all these actors play a role in this?  GOBAREG applies an innovative interdisciplinary, mixed-method design, including surveys, interviews, behavioural experiments, focus groups, and observation studies in two in-depth case studies of social regulation (in the fields of environment and welfare). The project is a collaboration between different disciplines at the University of Antwerp and Hasselt University and has a strong valorisation element,  involving close collaboration with a broad array of stakeholders. In consultation with the project promoters, and considering the background and preferences of the candidates, each of the hired PhD researchers will work on a specific focus area within the project, including the way different stakeholders shape policies and regulations and the abilities of government actors to govern these policy fields.


  • Conducting research leading to a PhD in an interdisciplinary and interuniversity team.
  • Contributing to the research design, data collection, data analysis, and reporting of research findings
  • Reporting findings through publishing scientific articles in international journals related to the research project.
  • Collaboration with the partners and researchers in the GOBAREG project consortium, and interacting with societal stakeholders involved in the project.
  • Conducting research within a vibrant national and international research environment, participating in the (inter)national research community and presentation of research findings at (inter)national conferences


  • You hold a Master's degree in Public Administration, Public Management, Political Science, Law, Economic Sciences, Sociology, Social-economic Sciences, or another relevant field. Students in the final year of their degree can also apply.
  • You have outstanding study results.
  • You are quality-oriented, conscientious, creative, efficient, and cooperative, and you are sufficiently entrepreneurial to structure and complete a research project in time.
  • You are strongly motivated to research the way public and private actors and citizens interact, and have good capacities for analysis and synthesis.
  • You know how to apply (quantitative or qualitative) research methods in social sciences. Knowledge about or experience in statistical analyses, experiments or case study methodology is an asset.
  • You have strong communication and presentation skills. You should be able to work independently but also as part of a team.
  • You have an excellent knowledge of English. Proficiency in Dutch is an asset for at least one of the two positions, as we hope to make a mixed research team in terms of language and nationalities.
  • Your academic qualities are in line with the participating faculties and the requirements stipulated in the university research policies.

What we offer

  • A doctoral scholarship for four years (two years, with renewal for a further two-year period after a positive evaluation). The intended start date of the scholarship is from November 15th, 2023 onwards but no later than March 1st, 2024.
  • Your monthly scholarship amount is calculated according to the scholarship amounts for doctoral scholarship holders on the pay scales for Contract Research Staff (Dutch: Bijzonder Academisch Personeel, BAP).
  • You will receive ecocheques, Internet-connectivity allowance, and a bicycle allowance or a full reimbursement of public transport costs for commuting.
  • You will work at the UAntwerp City Campus in a dynamic, stimulating, and professional work environment in the research group Politics & Public Governance or Government & Law and in the interdisciplinary team of the GOVTRUST Centre of Excellence.
  • You will receive substantive and methodological training.
  • Find out more about working at the University of Antwerp here.

Want to apply?

  • You can apply for this vacancy through the University of Antwerp’s online job application platform up to and including October 5th, 2023 (by midnight Brussels time). Click on the 'Apply' button, complete the online application form and be sure to include a copy of your academic CV, a motivation letter and a recent scientific text you wrote in English (e.g. your master thesis). You are encouraged to include letters of recommendation and/or reference persons.
  • A pre-selection will be made from amongst the submitted applications. The remainder of the selection procedure is specific to the position and will be determined by the selection panel.
  • The selected candidates are invited for an interview. The interviews will take place in October 2023.
  • If you have questions about the online application form, please check the frequently asked questions or email
  • For questions about the profile and the description of duties, please contact Prof. Koen Verhoest (, or Prof. Peter Bursens (, or Dr. Sophie Op de Beeck (

The University of Antwerp is a sustainable, family-friendly organisation which invests in its employees’ growth. We encourage diversity and attach great importance to an inclusive working environment and equal opportunities, regardless of gender identity, disability, race, ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation or age. We encourage people from diverse backgrounds and with diverse characteristics to apply