PhD in Caspian Studies at Center for Social Studies, University of Coimbra

Deadline: 10 April 2015
Open to: candidates with less than 4 years (full-time equivalent) of research experience after their Master’s degree
Scholarship: recruitment and training of each researcher for up to three years (employment contract, monthly living allowance, social security cover, a mobility and family allowance)


The Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions, named after the double Nobel Prize winning Polish-French scientist famed for her work on radioactivity, support researchers at all stages of their careers, irrespective of nationality. Researchers working across all disciplines, from life-saving healthcare to ‘blue-sky’ science, are eligible for funding. The MSCA also support industrial doctorates, combining academic research study with work in companies, and other innovative training that enhances employability and career development.

In addition to generous research funding, scientists have the possibility to gain experience abroad and in the private sector, and to complete their training with competences or disciplines useful for their careers. More information about various funding schemes and requirements for applying is available HERE.

The project Around the Caspian: a doctoral training for future experts in development and cooperation with focus on the Caspian region (CASPIAN 2015-19) is an Innovative Training Network that has received €3.8 million under a Marie Sklodowska Curie scheme funded by the Research Executive Agency of the European Commission with the goal of training the next generation of experts on the Caspian region. The full partners of this project are Dublin City University, Ghent University (Universiteit Gent), Tallinn University of Technology (Tallinna Tehnikaülikool), Oxford Brookes University, University of Saint Andrews, Centre for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra (Universidade de Coimbra) and the Forschungsstelle Osteuropa Bremen.

There are fifteen 36-month, full-time PhD researcher positions (subject to a positive mid-term evaluation) available at the participating universities. Two fellowships are available at Center for Social Studies, University of Coimbra, Portugal. They are looking for candidates with a background in International Relations or Peace and Conflict Studies and with an interest in the Caspian region (Russia, Caucasus, Central Asia, Iran).The candidates are expected to enroll on the 4-year Doctoral Programme “International Politics and Conflict Resolution”, offered by the Faculty of Economics, in collaboration with the Centre for Social Studies, of the University of Coimbra. The fellows will have to complete a PhD thesis related to one of the following topics:

  • Topic 1: Foreign policy dynamics in the Caspian: security and energy at center stage of stability building in the wide regional context;
  • Topic 2: Main causes, dynamics and actors of peace and violence in the Caspian region.

Click here to find more information on the research topics.

Please note that the training will incorporate three parts:

  1. Academic training: the students will have to undergo an extensive academic training, in the framework of the PhD Programme in International Politics and Conflict Resolution, offered by the Faculty of Economics, in collaboration with the Centre for Social Studies, of the University of Coimbra. Based at the Centre for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra they will also attend regular network events and will have access to a network of excellent universities where to receive complementary training.
  2. Private sector training: in the course of their fellowship, our fellows will have the chance to spend  a period in one of our partners to get a work experience and learn how to use academic skills for non-academic sectors.
  3. Worldwide vision on the Caspian region: fellows will be encouraged to spend a research period in one of our non-EU university to gain an alternative, and non-Eurocentric, vision on the Caspian region.


Candidates of any nationality and residence are eligible to apply as long as they meet the following criteria:

  • Minimal qualifications: candidates must be eligible for doctoral studies in Portugal and have a Master in a relevant topic completed by Spring 2015;
  • Maximum seniority allowed: candidates must have less than 4 years (full-time equivalent) of research experience after their Master’s degree. This means that, from the moment they have completed their Master’s, they may have held research position but for a total of less than 48 months;
  • Mobility clause: candidates must not have been resident or carried out activities (work, studies) in Portugal for more than 12 months in the past three years;

Candidates must be available to assume these fellowships as a full-time position, in a regime of exclusivity, and be available to move to Portugal and set up residence in Coimbra.


  • Employment type: Fixed Term (3 years) – Full-time, in regime of exclusivity;
  • Duration: 12 months, renewed automatically up to 2 times, depending on the good performance of fellows and their developed activities as defined in their Career Development Plan, and on the Team Coordinator’s assessment;
  • Period: available from 1 September 2015 to 31 August 2018;
  • Salary: living allowance, mobility allowance and family allowance, in line with Marie Sklodowska Curie Scheme Regulations, subject to statutory income tax and social security contributions and other charges applicable;
  • Other benefits: additional funds for research and training expenses, including the payment of the PhD fees; travel costs for the participation in meetings, summer schools and other project’s activities; attendance of international conferences; fieldwork trips and travel and accommodation costs during the Secondment.


To apply send an application package containing:

  • A letter of intent/motivation (in English; 2 pages maximum);
  • Detailed Academic Curriculum Vitae;
  • PhD project proposal, indicating clearly the topic it is applying to (2 pages maximum);
  • Two letters of recommendation;
  • Copies of degree certificates and of other relevant documents for eligibility purposes;
  • Two publications (max.) in English, one of which might be a chapter from the Master’s thesis.

Applications can be handed in personally at CES’ facilities, or sent by postal mail, with stamp due  until the final deadline 10 April 2015, to the following address, with clear indication of call and name of the applicant:

Centro de Estudios Sociais

Ref.: CES-CASPIAN/1/2015
Colégio de S. Jerónimo, Apartado 3087
3000-995 Coimbra, Portugal

Read the complete application call.

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