PhD researcher for a project on ‘misfit in opinions about immigrant integration and its political consequences’

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
October 01, 2023
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
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Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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PhD researcher for a project on ‘misfit in opinions about immigrant

integration and its political consequences'

(ref. BAP-2023-590)

Last modification : Tuesday, August 29, 2023

The doctoral student will be employed at the Center for Sociological Research (CeSO) and the Center for Social and Cultural Psychology of KU Leuven. The project is a collaboration between prof. Cecil Meeusen and prof. Karen Phalet. The main host institution for the project is the Institute for Social and Political Opinion Research (ISPO) at the Center for Sociological Research (CeSO) of the KU Leuven. ISPO performs scientific research on social attitudes and political behaviour in European societies among both majority and ethnic minority populations. The Institute has a long tradition in the Belgian National Election Study, coordinates the data collection of the European Social Survey and plays an internationally leading role in applied quantitative methodology and social data science. ISPO incorporates the latest cutting edge social-science methodology in its social and political research and is expert in comparative analysis and cross-national research. Substantially, ISPO is specialized in social stratification, intergroup relations, welfare attitudes, political and social attitudes, and voting behaviour.


The selected candidate is expected to prepare a PhD that fits within the research project ‘The integration conundrum: An intergroup relations perspective on majority support for inclusion versus exclusion of immigrant minorities'. The project addresses ‘the integration conundrum' as an important cause of public concern and political contention in today's Europe and zooms in on the acculturation views of the majority: do majority citizens expect minorities to engage mainly or exclusively with the mainstream culture, with the heritage culture, or do they expect them to combine both cultures? The project aims to discover when and how intergroup fit and misfit on integration will politicize and drive support for policy and political action. The project will combine distinct sources of acculturation (mis)fit and will examine their unique and joint impact on intergroup conflict and its political fallout on both sides of the ideological struggle over immigrant integration. As such, the project aims to explain support for policies and actions that challenge the exclusion of immigrants and promote social change towards more equal and inclusive intergroup relations.

For this project, survey data were collected among a random sample of the Belgian majority population (N = 1600). These survey data can be enriched with new (digital, geospatial, text and administrative) data sources and complemented with embedded experiments. The data is to be analysed with advanced statistical methods.

The researcher will team up with a large research group consisting of several PhD students, postdoctoral fellows and supervisors, working on related topics. In addition, the researcher will be involved in existing national and international research networks in the field of intergroup relations. The PhD candidate will be stimulated to present research output at international conferences and participate in seminars and (methodological) training activities. An international fellowship and participation in teaching activities are among the possibilities.

  • You have obtained a master's degree in a relevant discipline (sociology, social psychology, political science, social science,…) or a relevant interdisciplinary area (such as ethnic and migration studies, cultural diversity and intercultural relations,...). We welcome applicants who have just completed their degree or will graduate in the coming months;
  • You can present excellent study results, whereby you have at least completed your academic study with distinction;
  • You have knowledge of research methods and techniques, whereby strong interest in quantitative methods is a must;
  • You possess a solid knowledge of statistical software (such as SPSS and/or R);
  • You are willing to actively train yourself in the field of social data science;
  • You can work in a team;
  • You have excellent knowledge of the English language;
  • You are quality-oriented, accurate, honest, creative, collaborative and you can work efficiently;
  • You have an analytical mind, excellent communication skills and a good pen;
  • You take initiative to develop your own research project autonomously and complete it in time.
  • Offer
  • A fully-funded full-time position for a PhD fellow for 1 year, which can be extended upon positive evaluation;
  • Opportunities for further professional development (e.g., by taking additional courses, participating in workshops, seminars and conferences, working on transferable skills);
  • An inspiring and challenging international and academic environment at a leading European research university;
  • The intended start date is as soon as possible.
  • Interested?

    For more information please contact Prof. dr. Cecil Meeusen, tel.: +32 16 32 32 58, mail: [email protected].

    We ask for a CV and a motivation letter tailored to the content of the project. The interviews will take place at the end of September, beginning of October 2023.

    KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at [email protected].

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