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  3. PhD Candidate “comparative political economy” at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, 1.00 fte, 4 years

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PhD Candidate “comparative political economy” at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, 1.00 fte, 4 years

The PhD candidate will be involved in the third work stream of the SWFsEUROPE project. In collaboration with the PI, the PhD candidate will conduct research …

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Grote Gracht, Maastricht, Limburg
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 uur
€ 2222 - € 2840 per maand


The PhD candidate will be involved in the third work stream of the SWFsEUROPE project. In collaboration with the PI, the PhD candidate will conduct research that explains why some European countries have established a SWF (including other functionally equivalent state-sponsored investment vehicles) and others have not. The objective is to understand the state’s changing relationship with finance and financial markets, and the legitimacy of state-sponsored investment funds in different advanced political economies over time. Following a diverse-case method this work stream will produce six case studies of the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Italy, and Ireland. Each case will be considered in a contemporary and recent historical frame, going back through at least the latter three decades of the twentieth century. Research will entail archival research as well as conducting semi-structured interviews with key informants. In consultation with the PI, the PhD candidate will have the opportunity to expand on his/her ideas and the details of the project based on his/her expertise. The PhD candidate will also develop university teaching skills and gain valuable experience by contributing to the teaching programs at Maastricht University.


Social scientists with knowledge and research experience in ‘comparative political economy’ broadly defined, with a Master’s degree (or currently completing one) are encouraged to apply. This includes, but is not limited to, candidates with backgrounds in political science, sociology, geography, and economic history. Skills relevant to the post are: ability to conduct and analyze ‘elite’ interviews; ability to analyze and interpret archival material; ability to present research findings at academic conferences; experience with university teaching and/or motivation to acquire such skills. Excellent communication and writing skills in English are a prerequisite. Candidates must also be proficient in at least one, but preferably more, of the following languages: German, Dutch, Italian, and French.


We offer a dynamic and challenging job in an internationally-oriented organisation where young people receive an advanced education and scholars conduct exciting research. The PhD candidate will have the unique opportunity to carry out research within one or more of the four themes within the research programme. S/he will be part of an international network of top universities and renowned scholars within the field.

We offer a 4 year full-time appointment as PhD candidate. The first year will be a probation period, after a positive assessment the position will be extended with another 3 years. Your workload will be the normal workload for the position of PhD candidates. Currently this implies 80% research activities en 20% teaching activities.

Remuneration will be according to standard salary levels for PhD candidates starting with a salary of € 2.222,-- with a yearly growth to € 2.840,-- gross a month (based on a full-time appointment).

Each year the standard salary is supplemented with a holiday allowance of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%.

You have to be willing to move to (the vicinity of) Maastricht. If you do not already live in Maastricht (or its direct surroundings) you will be eligible for an allowance for moving costs. If you do not already live in Maastricht (or its direct surroundings) you might be eligible for an allowance for alternative housing. Other secondary conditions include e.g. a pension scheme and partially paid parental leave.

You will be provided with shared office space and a PC.

Additional information

Applicants are invited for a 4 year PhD position within theproject “Legitimacy, Financialization, and Varieties of Capitalism: Understanding Sovereign Wealth Funds in Europe”.TheSWFsEUROPE project is funded by the European Research Council, and led by principle investigator (PI) Adam Dixon.

Research project
The number and size of state-owned institutional investors—known conventionally as sovereign wealth funds (SWF)—has grown substantially in the last two decades. As many originate from the Global South and from illiberal political economies (e.g. China), there is an unsettled debate regarding their legitimacy and place in the global political economy. Some suggest they represent the (re)emergence of state-led capitalism subject to geopolitical motivations that threaten free markets. For others, SWFs represent a source of long-term patient capital capable of mitigating market short-termism. Either way, SWFs challenge the norm, particularly in the Global North, that financial markets are spaces of exchange for non-state actors. In three complementary and interdisciplinary work streams, the SWFsEUROPE project will explain the evolving and variegated pattern of ‘sovereign fund capitalism’ globally and in Europe—a major destination of SWF investment. The objective is to refine and extend our understanding of the relationship between states and global finance in the 21st century.

Starting date: preferably 15 August 2018 (or as soon as possible thereafter).

Further information on the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and its Graduate School is available on: http://www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/fasos

Any inquiries about the position or the project may be addressed to Adam Dixon: a.dixon@maastrichtuniversity.nl

Maastricht University’s Terms of Employment are laid down in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Furthermore, local university provisions apply as well. For more information please see the website: www.maastrichtuniversity.nl / Support / UM employees.


Interested candidates are invited to supply us with:

  1. A letter of motivation stating the candidate’s qualifications and reasons for interest in the position.

  2. A CV.

  3. A grade transcript of previous education at Master level.

  4. A writing sample (e.g. published article, thesis chapter, blog post), preferably single-authored.

Maastricht University is committed to nurturing an inclusive culture and a welcoming atmosphere. This inclusiveness strategy has resulted in a very diverse representation of nationalities and cultures. We strongly believe that diversity (including, but not limited to nationality, age and gender) of the staff and student population will increase the quality of UM education & research. Fostering diversity and inclusivity creates an academic community where individual talents thrive, and values and differences are cherished. We strongly encourage you to apply if you are qualified for this position.

The deadline for submitting your application is 28 March 2018

All applicants will be notified within one month following the deadline as to whether or not they have been selected for an interview with the search committee. Short-listed candidates will be asked to write a research proposal of 1,000 words (further details will be supplied) and provide two academic references.

Please send your application electronically to the Secretariat of the department Technology and Society Studies: pzfasosvac-philotss@maastrichtuniversity.nl


Maastricht University is renowned for its unique, innovative, problem-based learning system, which is characterized by a small-scale and student-oriented approach. Research at UM is characterized by a multidisciplinary and thematic approach, and is concentrated in research institutes and schools. Maastricht University has around 16,300 students and 4,300 employees. Reflecting the university's strong international profile, a fair amount of both students and staff are from abroad. The university hosts 6 faculties: Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Faculty of Law, School of Business and Economics, Faculty of Humanities and Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience.

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASoS) has about 250 staff members, and about 1,600 students. More than 76% of the students are non-Dutch (64 different nationalities). All programmes are offered in English and some are also offered in Dutch. FASoS offers two 3-year bachelor’s programmes: Arts and Culture and European Studies. It also offers eight different 1-year Master’s programmes and two 2-year research master’s programmes. Research is organised around four programmes: Politics and Culture in Europe; Science, Technology and Society Studies; Arts, Media and Culture; and Globalisation, Transnationalism and Development. The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is housed in the historic city centre of Maastricht.

Our Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences offers the opportunity to pursue a PhD in the interdisciplinary field of arts and social sciences. You receive a coherent program of introductory courses, intensive supervision and frequent discussion with the senior researchers inside and outside the Faculty. The Programme can be characterized by its international and interdisciplinary nature and the emphasis on cultural and societal issues of the modern world.

The School focuses on four themes:

1. Politics and Culture in Europe.

2. Maastricht University Science, Technology and Society Studies.

3. Globalisation, Transnationalism and Development.

4. Arts, Media and Culture.