University of Southern Denmark

Postdoctoral fellowship for Research Project “DelibRef”

2024-05-01 (Europe/Copenhagen)
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Applications are invited for a 3-year Postdoctoral fellowship to be based at the Department of Political Science and Public Management at the University of Southern Denmark, Odense. 

The position will be part of a newly funded research project entitled “Let the people rule, but let them talk first. How deliberative referendums can benefit representative government (DelibRef)”, led by Associate professor Davide Morisi and funded by the Carlsberg Foundation.

The planned starting date for the position is 1 September 2024. The position is available for a fixed term of 36 months and comes with a competitive, full-time salary.

The Project

DelibRef focuses on the impact of referendums on representative government at both local and national level in different countries. The project involves a small team, including the principal investigator Davide Morisi, a Postdoctoral fellow, a PhD candidate, and student assistants. The Postdoctoral fellowship will be related to the entire project, with a particular focus on Subproject 2.

The main question driving DelibRef is how can referendums benefit representative government from a citizen perspective? The project addresses this question by focusing on deliberative referendums, a key innovation that so far has been mostly confined to theoretical debate. Deliberative referendums combine the benefits of deliberation with the powerful voting device of referendums, making them a scalable intervention with potentially large societal impact.

In Subproject 1 we will conduct field experiments in at least one mid-size municipality in Denmark, and, ideally, another mid-size municipality in another country. In the experiment, a group of residents will discuss a policy proposal concerning a relevant issue in a sort of mini-public, and will then vote in a fictional referendum on the proposal. Another group of citizens will simply vote on the proposal without being part of the mini-public. We will then test the effect of deliberative referendums on different outcomes, including trust in institutions and political participation at the local level.

In Subproject 2 we will conduct survey experiments in six countries/states in Europe, Latin America, and the U.S. Using the method of the Citizens’ Initiative Review (CRI), in each country/state we will select small citizen juries that deliberate on a ballot initiative. We will then conduct survey experiments with nationally representative samples in which some respondents will receive the outcome of the citizen juries before voting on the ballot initiative, while others will simply vote without receiving any information. The respondents will then reply to different outcome measures similar to those included in Subproject 1. 

The project includes a scientific advisory board with internationally recognized scholars, in addition to a series of outreach activities, such as research visits, international conferences and workshops. For further details on the project, see a brief description here.

Selection criteria and key responsibilities

To qualify for the position, you need to have a completed (or close to completion) PhD in Political Science or related disciplines.

The ideal candidate will have: 

  • Strong quantitative methods skills
  • Good knowledge of software for data analysis (Stata and/or R)
  • Experience with surveys and/or experimental designs
  • Documented potential to publish in peer-reviewed journals at an internationally recognized level
  • Interest in the fields of political behaviour and democratic representation (including deliberative and direct democracy)
  • Proficiency in English

Key responsibilities include the following:

  • Designing surveys and/or experimental studies
  • Analysing research results, and writing research papers targeted at internationally recognized peer-reviewed journals
  • Disseminating research results through research papers, academic blogs, international conferences, workshops, and outreach activities
  • Participating in regular meetings of the project
  • Contributing to the organization of events and activities within the project
  • Contributing to the organization of research visits by members of the Advisory board
  • Participating in the intellectual life at SDU and DaWS, including discussion groups, seminar workshops, and events.

About the Department and the Danish Centre for Welfare Studies

As a Postdoctoral fellow, you will become a member of the Department's Public Administration, Welfare and Politics unit, and the Danish Centre for Welfare Studies (DaWS). Established in 2005 as a cross-disciplinary research center, DaWS is an internationally recognized and dynamic research group. We emphasize scientific curiosity, high-quality research, and team spirit. Ongoing research at DaWS covers topics such as political economy, public policy, comparative politics, and administration, and outcomes and effects of welfare policies as well as the history and developments of the welfare state. The research group covers a broad range of themes and methods.

The Department of Political Science and Public Management believes in fostering a stimulating and inspiring environment for both faculty members and students. The department's ambition is therefore to recruit, develop, and retain talented scholars committed to both academic excellence and departmental development. Furthermore, the department wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

For more information about the department organization, research, strategy and teaching, please visit the website.

Enquiries about the project and the position can be addressed to the Principal Investigator, Davide Morisi, email:

For further information about the Danish Centre for Welfare Studies, please contact the Director, Klaus Petersen, email:

For further information about the Department, please contact the Head of Department, Signe Pihl-Thingvad, email:

Application and assessment process

Appointment to the position requires a PhD or equivalent and will be in accordance with the salary agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations.

Researchers who have not worked in Denmark before taking up this position may be eligible for a special tax scheme that reduces Danish income tax for up to 7 years. You can find more information about this tax scheme here

An application must include:

  • A cover letter mentioning how your profile would fit the project (max. 2 pages)
  • A CV (max 2 pages)
  • A research proposal mentioning ideas for how to test the effects of referendums in a comparative perspective (max. 2 pages)
  • Certificates/Diplomas (MA and PhD degree)
  • A complete list of publications
  • Up to 2 of the most relevant publications or unpublished chapters of the PhD thesis. Please upload a pdf for each publication. NOTE: If publications have been co-authored, co-author statements must be a part of this pdf and must include information like in this example. The statement is just for your inspiration.

The cover letter and the research proposal must be written in English. All non-Danish documents must be translated into English.

Documents should not contain a CPR number (civil registration number) – in this case, the CPR number must be crossed out.

Applications that are incomplete may be rejected without any substantive evaluation.

Assessment of applications will be done under the existing Appointment Order for universities. Applications will be assessed by an academic assessment committee that determines whether applicants are qualified to be a postdoctoral fellow according to the Scholarly Qualification Matrix. The committee may request additional information, and if so, it is the responsibility of the applicant to provide the necessary material. The committee reserves the right to arrive at a decision solely based on the material submitted.

Shortlisting may be used in the assessment process.

When the assessment committee has submitted its report, the applicants will receive the part of the evaluation that concerns them. The assessment report will subsequently be forwarded to the Head of Department who will assemble an appointment committee. The appointment committee will manage and complete a series of job interviews with especially promising applicants. On the basis of the applications, the written assessments, the job interviews, and a deliberation within the appointment committee, the Head of Department determines which candidate(s) will be offered the position.

Applications must be submitted electronically using the link "Apply now". Uploaded files must be in Adobe PDF (unlocked). The application and CV must not exceed 10 MB.

Read the guideline for applicants

Job details

Postdoctoral fellowship for Research Project “DelibRef”
Campusvej 55 Odense, Denmark
Application deadline
2024-05-01 23:59 (Europe/Copenhagen)
2024-05-01 23:59 (CET)
Job type
Save job

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SDU welcomed the first students onto the campus in Odense in September 1966, and things have been developing by leaps and bounds ever since.

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