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  3. PhD Candidate: International Responses to Unconstitutional Regime Change

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PhD Candidate: International Responses to Unconstitutional Regime Change

Since 1990, there have been 59 cases of coups d’état and mass uprisings resulting in an unconstitutional regime change; i.e., a change in government that …

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


Since 1990, there have been 59 cases of coups d’état and mass uprisings resulting in an unconstitutional regime change; i.e., a change in government that occurs outside the constitutional structures in place for political turnover. While we know a great deal about the domestic causes and consequences of coups and mass uprisings, we know surprisingly little about how international actors - foreign states and international organizations - respond to these pivotal moments. Why do international actors often struggle to strategically respond to unconstitutional regime change? What determines foreign policy in the wake of an unconstitutional regime? In this PhD project, you will study how international actors responded to unconstitutional regime change in two differing contexts - Tunisia and Mali. Through extensive fieldwork in both countries, you will not only identify how different foreign actors responded to events on the ground, but also investigate the main determinants of their responses.

You will be responsible for carrying out the core fieldwork for this project, which will include semi-structure interviews with high-level elites in both Tunisia and Mali (roughly 4-6 months in each country). Following the completion of the fieldwork, you will be expected to write up your findings for publication in highly-regarded academic journals and in the form of a PhD manuscript. At different points throughout the project, you will also have the opportunity to engage in knowledge valorisation activities, such as briefings to policymakers. Supervision will be provided by Dr Haley Swedlund (co-supervisor) and Prof. Bertjan Verbeek (supervisor).

Mainly during the second and third years of your PhD, you will be expected to participate in some teaching activities, including for example assisting in teaching a relevant course related to your expertise.


  • A Master’s degree in political science, international relations, or a related field. Experience in foreign policy analysis and/or public administration would be a plus.
  • A strong working knowledge of conducting qualitative interviews, particularly with elites and/or in difficult or conflict-affected settings.
  • Excellent command of written and spoken English and French.
  • The ability to think outside the box and respond to unique field-related challenges.
  • The ability to work both independently and as a team player.
  • Strong skills in project management, flexibility, proactive behaviour and excellent academic writing skills, so that you will be able to finish your PhD in time.


  • Employment for 1.0 FTE.
  • The gross starting salary amounts to €2,395 per month based on a 38-hour working week, and will increase to €3,061 in the fourth year (salary scale P).
  • You will receive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • You will be appointed 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 Haley Swedlund, Associate Professor at +31 24 361 59 07 or haley.swedlund@ru.nl.