Published: 6. 12. 2016

Ph.D. position on EU post-crisis legitimacy (Ph.D. network PLATO – ESR8)

Institute of Sociology, Czech Academy of Sciences (IS CAS) in cooperation with Faculty of Social Sciences of the Charles University invites applications for one PhD fellowship on Legitimacy Crisis and Anti-Corruption (post-crisis strengthening of accountability to rule-of-law standards) as part of the PhD network ‘The Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the European Union’ (PLATO).

Applicants should hold a master degree in political science, public policy, sociology, public administration or a related social science discipline.

The position is announced for a period of 3 years with no teaching obligations. starting date for the PLATO fellowship is 1 September 2017.

IS CAS is a leading social science public research institute based in Prague. The IS CAS actively conducts empirical research, applying modern qualitative and quantitative research methods, and cultivates the development of sociological theory and methodology. Multidisciplinary research at the Institute combines the use of information, concepts and methods drawn from sociology and related scholarly fields - economics, law, political science, demography, social geography, and gender studies. The IS CAS also comprises the Czech Social Science Data Archive, leading CEE institution in storage and analysis of quantitative and qualitative social science data and the Public Opinion Research Centre (CVVM). Additionally, the IS CAS PLATO team conducts multidisciplinary research covering: mixed methods research in political sociology and political science focused on comparative democratization and Europeanization, including development of own cutting edge methodologies for comparative research on civil society; analysis of risk and security perception and acceptance; and public policy analysis in the process of Europeanization.

PLATO Ph.D. network

PLATO is an EU-funded Ph.D. network coordinated by Prof. Chris Lord at ARENA Centre for European Studies, University of Oslo. It unites nine university partners across Europe in recruiting a group of 15 excellent young researchers to do a common multi-disciplinary investigation of the EU’s post-crisis legitimacy, together with leading senior researchers.

PLATO will be a fully integrated, thematic research school with its own research question. The aim is to go 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 the contemporary political order. What you need to know about PLATO's research in preparing applications for a PhD position (pdf).

PLATO will offer state-of-the-art academic training as well as training in core professional skills, research leadership and entrepreneurship, and dissemination; a quality framework of supervision; work experience from the policy-advice, consulting or civil society sectors at European level; and professional individual career development. For more on PLATO's research and training program as well as the common call for 15 Ph.D. candidates (Early Stage Researchers, ESRs), please see: www.plato.uio.no 

Job description

Ph.D. project: Legitimacy Crisis and Anti-Corruption (ESR8)

EU institutions may be seen as legitimate in so far as they provide external support for rule of law standards in individual states. The rule-of-law can, in turn, be understood as the opposite of arbitrariness and of decisions that are based on the corrupt favoring of individuals, rather than rules and standards that apply to all. Corruption has adverse effects across numerous areas of public policy. In so far as the crisis was caused by the influence of private finance over the political system and the financing of political parties, responses to the crisis may depend on adoption and especially implementation of effective and legitimate anti-corruption policies. The EU has incorporated anti-corruption measures into the European semester and banking union. Yet, even where they are similar in design, the implementation and in particular the effectiveness of anti-corruption measures is likely to vary across member states. The causes of corruption can be local – focusing on structural issues and/or behavior of political actors (costs of implementation), however much their effects spill across fiscal and financial systems. This research will employ mixed methods approach (qualitative and quantitative methods, including among others in-depth interviews with political actors, anti-corruption agencies, ombudsmen and NGO’s) to investigate: (a) what changes to their anti-corruption policies and standards countries have made in response to the crisis; (b) how far those changes have been coordinated, encouraged or required by the EU; (c) the extent to which citizens perceive these changes as effective, legitimate and driven by domestic/European efforts.

For this project, a possible primary discipline is political science/sociology; a secondary discipline could be public policy.


The Ph.D. fellow will be part of a research group led by the Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Department of political sociology.

Mandatory secondments:

  • Four-week internship at European Citizens Action Service, Belgium to gain practical experience from the civil society sector;
  • Co-supervision will be offered by a senior scholar at another PLATO partner university, to be selected by the network based on the submitted proposal. A three-month academic secondment will be undertaken at this university to cooperate with co-supervisor and other PLATO ESRs;

Ph.D. Programme:

The successful candidate will be enrolled in the Ph.D. program of the Faculty of Social Sciences (or another relevant programme) at the Charles University the work will result in a doctorate in sociology. The recruited candidate will have to be confirmed by the relevant bodies of the Charles University.  The employment and PLATO funding are contingent on the enrolment in the postgraduate program of the Faculty of Social Sciences. Admitted candidates will be responsible for fulfilling all requirements of the postgraduate program along with their PLATO responsibilities.


  • Two important eligibility conditions apply to Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action (MSCA) Innovative Training Networks (ITN):
  • Candidates cannot have resided and carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the Czech Republic for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to 1 September 2017. If it is not evident from the application that this criterion is met, please include an explanation as part of your application.
  • Candidates must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of her/his research career and not already be in the possession of a doctoral degree.
  • Further qualifications for the position:

Master’s degree in political science, public administration, sociology, public policy or equivalent social science degree. The master’s thesis must have been submitted before the application deadline. A prerequisite for taking up the position is the successful completion of a master’s degree. 

Strong academic record 

English language proficiency. If you are not a native English speaker, or if the language of instruction at your previous university was not English, we will ask you to provide evidence of strong English language skills. Please include English language test results in your application if this applies to you. English language tests should not be more than two years old at the time of application.

We offer

  • In addition to the benefits of taking a team Ph.D. as part of PLATO, IS CAS offers:
  • Salary for 36 months, annual gross salary of 28,000 euro, plus family allowance (if applicable at the time of recruitment)
  • Academically stimulating working environment
  • Vibrant, integrated and international research community


In assessing the candidates, particular emphasis will be placed on the quality and originality of the project proposal as well as the individual project's fit within the overall research program. Academic qualifications, writing skills, language proficiency and other qualifying experience will also be of key importance.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interviews in the period 6–17 March 2017. Job offers will be made by the end of April 2017.

Application procedure

Applications must be submitted on paper to the following address: Institute of Sociology SAC, DR. Zdenka Mansfeldová, Jilska 1, 110 00 Prague 1, the Czech Republic. Applications must include the following documents:

  • Letter of motivation
  • Research proposal (2,000-3,000 words) (Guidelines for the project proposal)
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Copy of MA degree diploma(s) (including certified English translation)
  • Copies of academic transcripts (in English)
  • CV with a full summary of education, practice, academic and non-academic work experience, language proficiency, positions of trust, and other qualifying/extra-curricular activities. The period of enrolment (admission-completion) in the Master's study program must be specified
  • Writing sample in English (i.e. MA thesis, published articles, etc.).

The application and all supporting documents must be provided in English.

Application deadline

31 January 2017




Dr. Zdenka Mansfeldova, 1st Deputy Director

Institute of  Sociology, Czech Academy of Sciences

E-mail: zdenka.mansfeldova@soc.cas.cz

Pavla Vamberova, M.A., PLATO  ESR8 Managing Assistant

Institute of  Sociology, Czech Academy of Sciences

E-mail: pavla.vamberova@soc.cas.cz