PhD: Evolution of Russian foreign policy in the context of its war against Ukraine

University of Groningen
January 11, 2024
Offerd Salary:€ 2,770
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
Working type:N/A
Ref info:N/A
PhD: Evolution of Russian foreign policy in the context of its war against

Ukraine (V23.0789)

Job description

Applications are invited for a fully-funded four-year PhD position in the field of International Relations, focusing on the evolution of Russian foreign policy in the context of its war against Ukraine. Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 represents a watershed moment in the country's foreign policy as well as its internal state-society relations. The war has caused a complete breakdown of Russia's already foundering relations with Europe and the US, an acceleration of its turn towards China, India and other Global South states, and the ramping up of authoritarianism at home. Despite several of these trends being underway at least since 2014, this turning point caught many academics, analysts and governments by surprise and the question of what drives Russia's foreign policy behaviour has thus once more emerged as a prominent topic in political, societal and academic debates, though not always in a rigorous or informed manner. There is therefore a need for further scientific, methodical and evidence-based investigation of the topic, especially of its evolution since the full-scale invasion, which has turned several ‘received wisdoms' upside down. The overall research question the PhD project will investigate is thus: How has Russian foreign policy and the key factors, contexts and actors shaping it evolved in the context of its war against Ukraine?

Under the joint supervision of Dr David Cadier and Dr Adrian Rogstad, and with Prof Tom Casier as the professor of record, the successful candidate will develop their own specific focus within these broad parameters, depending on their own interests and research experience. A particularly welcome research focus would be the evolution of Russia's foreign policy identity, role conception and status seeking. Other possible foci can pertain to the domestic, political, institutional, bureaucratic, discursive or ideational contexts in which Russia's foreign policy is formulated (reconfiguration of these contexts, emergence of new or empowerment of existing actors, dynamics, factors, constituents, etc) and/or to Russia's foreign policy towards specific states or regions (such as China, India, Europe or the Global South).

Organization Since its foundation in 1614, the University of Groningen has established an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative university offering high- quality teaching and research. Its 34,000 students are encouraged to develop their own individual talents through challenging study- and career paths. The University of Groningen is an international center of knowledge: It belongs to the best research universities in Europe and is allied with prestigious partner universities and networks worldwide.

The Faculty of Arts – which includes the Department of International Relations and International Organisation (IRIO) – is located in the historic heart of the city of Groningen. You will be enrolled in the Graduate School for the Humanities and affiliated with IRIO. With around 1,000 students and 70 academic staff, IRIO is the largest IR department in the Netherlands and one of the largest in Europe. You will work most closely with the Global Politics of Europe chair group, consisting of 19 staff members (including both supervisors) and four PhD students. The chair group, department and wider faculty contain several experts on Russian foreign policy, EU-Russia relations, and wider European security politics. You will also have the opportunity to join one of the National Research Schools, which offer training and funding opportunities for PhD students in the Netherlands, and be able to participate in wider networks in which the supervisors are embedded.


To be competitive for the position, prospective candidates must have:

  • a master's/research master's degree in a relevant social science or humanities discipline (International Relations, Political Science, Russian and East European Studies, History, etc.) with high academic merit—an average grade of 8.0 or above on the Dutch scale (or international equivalent, with some flexibility possible)
  • excellent analytical skills and capacity to do innovative research
  • a clear and well-articulated motivation for pursuing PhD research
  • excellent interpersonal skills
  • excellent command of written and spoken English
  • good Russian language skills and willingness to pursue further language training if needed.
  • The following would be assets for prospective candidates:

  • training in/experience of social-scientific and/or policy-oriented research, whether as part of previous degrees or professional experience
  • familiarity with Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA) as an analytical approach and with its core concepts, theories and debates, including more critical FPA approaches
  • familiarity with specific research methods such as discourse analysis, process tracing, etc.
  • previous academic publications or other output demonstrating writing skills (policy papers, media articles, etc.)
  • professional experience, especially demonstrable experience of working in teams and/or in relevant fields such as think tanks, research institutes or policy making
  • competence in other languages
  • experience of fieldwork in Russia.
  • Knowledge of Dutch is NOT required.

    Organisation Conditions of employment

    In accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, we offer

  • a salary of € 2,770 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,539 gross per month in the final year, based on a full-time position
  • a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income
  • an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance
  • a temporary 1.0 FTE appointment for a specified period of four years. The candidate will first be appointed for twelve months. After six months, an assessment will take place of the candidate's results and the progress of the PhD project, in order to decide whether employment will be continued
  • excellent work-life balance
  • the PhD candidate is expected to conduct a total of 0.4 FTE teaching during the second, third and fourth year of their appointment
  • willingness to move and reside in the Netherlands.
  • For more detailed information about working conditions and working for the University of Groningen, please check: https: // www. us/

    The appointment will commence as soon as possible, no later than May/June 2024.


    Your application packet (see submission instructions below) should include:

  • a motivation letter—max 1,000 words—clearly stating your motivations for applying and how your skills and experience demonstrate your suitability for the position according to the criteria above
  • a research proposal of 1500-2000 words (excluding reference list) outlining and explaining your idea for a PhD project within the broad parameters above. Areas to address include specific topic and research question(s), conceptual and methodological approaches, envisaged field research and/or sources for empirical data, and whether the planned output would be a monograph or articles
  • a brief, up-to-date curriculum vitae that focuses on aspects that are directly relevant to the position and that includes a list of publications (if any)
  • copies of MA diploma and list of grades
  • a writing sample in English (ideally a master's thesis or other academic/research publication)
  • names and contact information of two academic references (Please do not submit letters of reference. Referees will be contacted if necessary)
  • You may apply for this position until 10 January 11:59pm / before 11 January 2024 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

    Interviews will take place on 31 January 2024.

    The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage: https: // www. strategy/diversity-and-inclusion/

    Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): https: // www. and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers: https: //

    We provide career services for partners of new faculty members moving to Groningen.

    Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.


    For information you can contact:

  • Dr David Cadier, david.cadier
  • Dr Adrian Rogstad, adrian.rogstad
  • Lisanne Coolen, for practical information concerning the application process, l.coolen
  • Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.

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