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Interdisciplinary PhD position Young Academy Groningen (V23.0118)

Job description

We are looking for talented students who wish to design their own PhD research project on an interdisciplinary topic within the scope of the research expertise of Young Academy Groningen members (please visit One PhD Scholarship position is available to conduct research within the project theme of project 1 listed below. Candidates can also apply on another topic on the intersection of the fields of expertise of two or more YAG members (herein called project 2). As a PhD scholarship student, you will develop your own research project in consultation with the associated supervisor(s). You will conduct independent and original academic research and report results via peer-reviewed publications, conference presentations, and ultimately a PhD thesis. The PhD thesis has to be completed within four years. Being part of a cutting-edge research programme, you will receive research training as well as a varied educational training program including transferable skills and future (academic or non-academic) career training for after the PhD trajectory, in the context of our Career Perspective Series.

Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the supervisors of the project for further details and clarifications on the research project and on the application process.

Project 1. Geographies of Discontent: Understanding Protest and Regional Resentment in the Northern Netherlands

Dr Léonie de Jonge (YAG, Faculty of Arts, Assistant Professor in European Politics & Society)
Dr Koen Salemink (Faculty of Spatial Sciences, Assistant Professor in Cultural Geography)
Dr Sander van Lanen (YAG, Faculty of Spatial Sciences, Assistant Professor in Cultural

Project description:
This project combines cultural geography and political science to examine spatial patterns and drivers of feelings of discontent, and how these feelings translate (or not) in protest events with a specific focus on the Northern Netherlands (i.e. the provinces of Drenthe, Friesland and Groningen). This region is characterized by both diverse and specific problems linked to peripherality, earthquakes and large-scale renewable energy projects. As such, it forms an ideal environment to examine the geographies of regional discontent. The broader aim of the project is to better understand geographical differences in discontent, protest, and their underlying mechanisms.

Western democracies are currently witnessing a growing sense of social discontent, characterized by declining levels of trust in governments and institutions, and rising support for populist and extremist movements. These trends have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the so-called ‘refugee crisis’, and the ongoing nitrogen and energy crises in the Netherlands. These developments contributed to rising anti-government sentiments and (at times violent) protests.

Such feelings of discontent and protest incidents are traditionally concentrated in places that allegedly ‘don’t matter’. In the Netherlands, this territorially-rooted discontent, also known as ‘place resentment’, manifests itself in feelings of resentment of the periphery towards the center (i.e. the Randstad). Yet, we know little about the exact nature of this regional resentment. For instance, national media tend to represent rural resentment rather homogeneously, while rural scholars maintain that rural places and communities are very diverse, and urban scholars call for attention to ‘peripheries within the center’. This begs the question whether one can speak of an urban-rural divide, especially since cultural geographers redirect our attention to studying urban-rural, intra-rural, and intra-urban divides.

Regardless of the exact nature of the divide, there is growing evidence that spatial patterns of regional and rural resentment can be discerned. This raises the following questions, which form the backbone of this project: what are the main drivers for regional discontent? How, when and where does it manifest itself? How do these drivers of discontent differ through space, and when and how do they turn into protest activities? And why do some issues result in (violent) protest, while others do not?

Interdisciplinary Focus
This project studies regional resentment and discontent at the intersection of political science and cultural geography. Political science provides us with theories to understand processes behind regional resentment and radicalisation. Cultural geography offers frameworks to understand why and how this resentment concentrates in particular places. This project combines both disciplines to shed new light on pressing societal questions that have been raised by both disciplines, but for which the disciplines individually can only offer partial explanations. This interdisciplinary approach can help explain how place and geographical context affect protest and political preferences and offer new insights on “place resentment”.

Project 2. A PhD Project that crosses the disciplines of two Young Academy Groningen members

If you have your own project idea that you would like to submit, please contact YAG members to discuss your ideas and the possibilities of submitting a joint proposal. (Note: This cross-disciplinary project must list at least two supervisors, of whom two are Young Academy Groningen members).


Project 1
The ideal candidate would need to have several if not all of the following qualities:

  • an Master’s degree (MA/MSc) in one of the disciplines that form the backbone of the project (i.e. either in political science, cultural/ human geography, or other relevant social science), with a keen interest in the key disciplines
  • a clear research interest in the topic of the project (i.e. is intrinsically motivated)
  • is willing to develop skills in either political science or geography (e.g. willingness to be trained in geographical information systems or acquire knowledge and expertise on relevant political science methods and literatures)
  • is committed to work autonomously in an interdisciplinary team setting
  • a demonstrably excellent written and spoken command of English (written and spoken command of Dutch is a definite asset).

Project 2

The ideal candidate is ambitious, highly motivated and wishes to make a career in research. He or she has a thorough training in research skills, speaks and writes English fluently, and has considerable experience in the project area being proposed (ideally at Masters level.)


Conditions of employment

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

  • a salary of € 2,541 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,247 gross per month in the final year
  • a full-time position (1.0 FTE)
  • a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income
  • an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance
  • minimum of 29 holidays and additional 12 holidays in case of full-time employment.

The appointment will commence in September 2023


The application package consists of the following separate documents:

1. a brief letter of motivation (max. 1 page)
2. a CV, including contact details of two academic referees
3. a brief proposal (1 page), outlining the preferred disciplinary focus, research method and data to be analysed
4. a scan of your diploma including transcripts
5. other relevant documents.

The documents 1-4 are compulsory and please note that incomplete application packages or applications sent by email will not be taken into account. If necessary – because of the limited upload options, please combine different documents into one pdf.

You may apply for this position until 2 April 11:59pm / before 3 April 2023 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

More information
For more information about project 1, it is highly recommended to contact the supervisors of the project:
Léonie de Jonge:
Sander van Lanen: s.van.lanen
Koen Salemink: k.salemink

For practical information regarding the application procedure you can contact: youngacademy

Interviews with selected candidates will be held on 14 April and (if necessary) on 19 April 2023.

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

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For information you can contact:

  • For practical information regarding the application procedure, youngacademy

Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.