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PhD Candidate: Empirical Political Science

Why do some citizens perceive public broadcasting news as biased? As a PhD Candidate, you aim to answer this question by combining insights from media …

ongeveer 2 maanden geleden


Houtlaan, Nijmegen, Gelderland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
€ 2434 - € 3111 per maand


Why do some citizens perceive public broadcasting news as biased? As a PhD Candidate, you aim to answer this question by combining insights from media research and communication science as well as political science. This way, your research helps us understand how public media can better fulfil their role to create a shared public sphere that is essential to democracy.

The Empirical Political Science Chair group at the Nijmegen School of Management invites applications for a PhD position on the research project: Biased media or biased citizens? Perceived and actual bias in public service media. The project investigates why some citizens perceive public broadcasting news as biased. Well-functioning public media are essential for democracy because they create a shared public sphere. Public media have a dual task of providing citizens with both factual news and a balanced representation of different viewpoints on topical issues. This task provides a crucial counterbalance in a media environment that increasingly enables citizens to select information in line with their political views and remain in their own information 'bubbles'. Indeed, public broadcasting news reaches citizens from widely varying social and political backgrounds. Yet, current debates about fake news, 'alternative facts' and left-wing bias threaten to undermine this role of public media. The Netherlands is no exception as evidenced by heated debates about the bias of public news broadcaster NOS.

This project therefore aims to answer the question why some citizens perceive public broadcasting news as biased. Such perceptions can arise for two reasons. First, public newscasts are actually biased and this is noticed by citizens. Second, public newscasts are framed as biased, and this framing resonates with citizens. To comprehensively analyse both mechanisms, we use content analyses of NOS news programmes (Study 1) and bias accusations in traditional and social media (Study 2); and survey experiments to test which citizens perceive more public media bias, and why (Study 3 & 4). Combining insights from media research and communication science as well as political science will allow us to address these questions.

The research project is carried out in collaboration with the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR), the leading research institute of communication science in the Netherlands. Your task will be to collect data, conduct research, predominantly through applying qualitative and quantitative research procedures, to write scientific articles, and to complete a PhD thesis in time. You will also participate in conferences, workshops and other scholarly and valorisation activities, and contribute to teaching at the Nijmegen School of Management. The position is for 4 years and involves mainly PhD research, and about 5% teaching.

In this position you will be training to become an academic researcher while working on your own PhD project under the supervision of Political Science staff. You will be supervised by Prof. Carolien van Ham and Dr Erika van Elsas (RU) and Prof. Claes de Vreese and Dr Katjana Gattermann (ASCoR/UvA). You will be part of a team at the Department of Political Science and enroll in the PhD programme at the Institute for Management Research (IMR).


  • You have a Master's degree in Political Science or a related field.
  • You have academic excellence, as demonstrated by grade transcripts and CV.
  • You have a solid understanding of both quantitative and qualitative research methods.
  • You have an excellent command of written and spoken Dutch and English.
  • You are able to work both independently and as a team player.
  • You have strong skills in project management, flexibility, proactive behaviour and excellent academic writing skills so that you will be able to finish your PhD thesis in time.


  • Employment for 1.0 FTE.
  • The gross starting salary amounts to €2,434 per month based on a 38-hour working week, and will increase to €3,111 in the fourth year (salary scale P).
  • Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief, by which 30% of their salary is tax free.
  • You will receive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • You will be employed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4 year contract).
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Care Services. Our Dual Career and Family Care Officer can assist you with family-related support, help your partner or spouse prepare for the local labour market, provide customized support in their search for employment and help your family settle in Nijmegen.
  • Working for us means getting extra days off. In case of full-time employment, you can choose between 29 or 41 days of annual leave instead of the legally allotted 20.
Additional employment conditions Work and science require good employment practices. This is reflected in Radboud University's primary and secondary employment conditions. You can make arrangements for the best possible work-life balance with flexible working hours, various leave arrangements and working from home. You are also able to compose part of your employment conditions yourself, for example, exchange income for extra leave days and receive a reimbursement for your sports subscription. And of course, we offer a good pension plan. You are given plenty of room and responsibility to develop your talents and realise your ambitions. Therefore, we provide various training and development schemes.

Additional information

For questions about the position, please contact Dr. Erika van Elsas, Assistant Professor Empirical Political Science at erika.vanelsas@ru.nl.