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Postdoctoral Researcher on the Adaptive Capacities of States to Transboundary Crises

Wetenschappelijke functies
Omvang (fte)
Den Haag
Geplaatst op
30 april 2024
12 mei 2024 Vacature gesloten

The Institute of Public Administration, Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs, has a vacancy for a

Postdoctoral Researcher on the Adaptive Capacities of States to Transboundary Crises working within the NWO Open Competition States in Shock project ( 1,0 fte)

NWO Open Competition project States in Shock

The Institute of Public Administration at Leiden University is hiring a post-doctoral researcher to conduct research on the effects of structural changes on policymaking processes within ministerial departments, as part of an NWO Open Competition project

Project description
In the past twenty to thirty years, national states have endured a series of transboundary crises that shook the very foundations of their sovereignty. Despite the imminence of these threats, national states grapple with how to respond to these transboundary crises. One of the key questions in this project is how national public administrations can respond to these and future crises and external shocks. And to what extent can states successfully adapt to an environment that harbors such complex threats? Responses often come too late, if they come at all. And often attempts to adapt remain mere symbolic acts by policymakers, as policymakers struggle to keep up, fight ‘the last war’, or are taken simply by surprise when another crisis hits. This is problematic as any attempt to adapt almost always comes at a considerable loss of transparency and citizens’ trust in the competence, openness, and fairness of their governments. To see the effects of transboundary crises on the policymaking capacities of national public administrations, this project aims to assess to what extent the administrative changes that have taken place within public organizations as a response to external shocks are indeed signs of adaptation to newly risen environmental conditions or whether these changes have been merely symbolic. Building on an existing dataset of intra-ministerial structural changes, the researcher will conduct analyses of policymaking within ministerial department before and after external shocks have been observed.

The project the researcher will work serves multiple goals and employs several angles, the three central objectives being as follows:

  1. The first objective is to examine whether and how different transboundary crises affect the administrative systems of different national states. One and the same transboundary crisis can impact state administrations differently. Across different states, we are going to estimate the effects of several transboundary crises with varying temporal dynamics and frames on the structure and organization of national state administrative systems.
  2. The second objective of this research project is to comparatively analyze the effects of national political institutions and conditions on national states’ capacity to respond to transboundary crises. The project examines to what extent national states’ political institutions and conditions have a (mediating) effect on the capacity of national states’ policymakers to adapt to different compound crises.
  3. The final objective of this research project is to examine to what extent the changes within the state administrative systems in the wake of transboundary crises are substantial or symbolic. By comparing the structure, organization, and functioning of state administrative systems before and after changes have taken place, we intend to establish to what extent state responses to compound crises are truly adaptations that make societies more resilient to future crises.

The post-doctoral researcher in this project will mainly focus on the third objective. Of course, given the course the subproject takes and depending on the interests and skills of the postdoctoral researcher, work may also be done for the entire project. The work will be done in a (inter)national team consisting of senior and post-doctoral researchers based at Leiden University, the University of Potsdam, and Sciences Po Paris, our partner institutes in this project.

Agent-based simulations
This research subproject aims to utilize agent-based simulation models to examine how structural changes within organizations affect information flow, agenda setting, prioritization, and decision-making outputs. The complexity of organizational dynamics often obscures the direct and indirect impacts of structural adjustments, making traditional analytical methods insufficient. Agent-based simulations offer a nuanced approach to model these dynamics and observe the emergent behaviors resulting from structural changes. So, we are particularly interested in (1) how modifications in the organizational structures of ministries influence the flow of information across different levels of ministries; (2) the effects of structural changes on agenda setting and prioritization within ministries; (3) the impact of these changes on the quality and efficiency of decision-making processes; and (4) to identify patterns and trends that emerge from different structural configurations in organizational settings.

The research is expected to reveal critical insights into how structural changes, particularly changes that are observed following external shocks can impact various aspects of their operation, particularly in terms of information flow and decision-making, with the aim of distinguishing substantial from symbolic changes. It should identify which structural elements are most influential and under what circumstances, providing a basis for further research and practical applications in organizational design and management.

What you will do

  • Coordinating and conducting research within the NWO project and the broader consortium;
  • Submitting research results for publication in academic journals;
  • Presenting papers at international conferences and meetings of the consortium;
  • Actively disseminating research findings and engaging stakeholders in research activities;
  • Organizing and participating in seminars, workshops and conferences of the programme.

What you bring

  • A PhD in public administration, political science, political economy, public health, sociology or another discipline that is relevant for the Institute of Public Administration;
  • Excellent research qualities demonstrated by, for example, (international) publications;
  • Proficiency with agent-based simulation techniques and quantitative methods and skills;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in English and the ability to effectively communicate with external audiences;
  • Proficiency in Dutch is considered an asset;
  • Superb interpersonal skills and the ability to work constructively in a team.

Where you will work
The Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs is one of the seven faculties of Leiden University. The faculty has an international profile, is developing strongly and consists of various institutes and centers such as the Institute of Public Administration, the Leiden University College, the Institute of Security and Global Affairs and the Center for Professional Learning at various locations in The Hague.

The Institute of Public Administration in The Hague is one of the largest and oldest institutions for scientific research and education in public administration in the Netherlands. It combines a strong international academic reputation with a central position among international, national, regional and local government institutions, including those in The Hague. The institute has received various national and international research grants including several VENI and VIDI grants from the Dutch National Science Organization, and grants for collaborative work from the EU (including ERC grants). In addition, the staff is also active in contract-research and teaching, which involves local and national government but also other public organizations from within Europe. The Institute of Public Administration consistently receives high ratings in peer reviews for both its teaching and research programmes.

More information about the Institute of Public Administration can be found at https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/governance-and-global-affairs/institute-of-public-administration and about Leiden University at www.leiden.edu.

What we offer
We offer a full-time (1.0 fte, 38 hours per week) position for 24 months with a preferred start date of 1 September 2024. Salary ranges from € 4.332,- to € 5.929,- gross per month on a full-time basis (pay scale 11 depending on qualifications and experience) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3%). Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. For more information, see the website.

What we find important
Leiden university is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups. Promoting an inclusive community is central to Leiden University’s values and vision. Leiden University aims to be an inclusive community in which all students and staff members feel valued and respected, and are able to develop to their full potential. Diversity in experiences and perspectives enriches our teaching and strengthens our research. High-quality education and research means inclusive education and research.

Want to apply or find out more?
For general information about the content of this position, please contact Kutsal Yesilkagit (a.k.yesilkagit@fgga.leidenuniv.nl).

Applications for this vacancy can be submitted via the blue button in our application system.

  • A cover letter stating your motivation for this position;
  • A curriculum vitae including a complete list of publications;
  • A publication (or working paper);
  • At this stage, it is not necessary to submit references or recommendation letters.

Only applications received before 12 May 2024 will be considered.

To help us get to know each other better, we follow a number of steps in the application procedure. For more information, see Application process and working conditions - Working at Leiden University - Leiden University (universiteitleiden.nl). A pre-employment screening (references, diplomas, certificate of good conduct (VOG)) may be part of the selection procedure.

The selection procedure will take place in May – June 2024.

Acquisition following this advertisement is not appreciated.

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