PhD Position on Return Migration Governance at the University of Rabound

Do you have an interdisciplinary research profile? And do you have proven experience with qualitative research methods? In the context of an international HORIZON EUROPE project on return migration governance, Radboud University is looking for a PhD researcher with thematic and conceptual expertise related to return migration governance. 

You will be expected to contribute to the research objectives of a project called Decentring the Study of Migrant Returns and Readmission Policies in Europe and Beyond. This project aims to decentre the dominant and policy-driven understanding of return migration governance by bringing multiple perspectives into play and by studying complex interactions between the actors involved. Specifically, you will be asked to critically study the multi-scalar EU return migration infrastructures in relation to three case countries: the Netherlands, Lebanon and Jordan. This four-year doctoral project particularly addresses the question to what extent EU’s return migration governance and its implementation by Member States intersect with South-South return migration practices. The focus is therefore on two sets of interrelated questions:

  • What are the relevant laws and policies through which the EU seeks to govern return migration? What are the practices through which return migration is implemented, negotiated, navigated and contested. And how do the EU’s legal and policy infrastructures for return migration relate to these operational infrastructures?
  • Through which laws, policies, and practices do ‘regional’ host states in the EU’s southern neighbourhood seek to govern the return of migrants and refugees? And how are the capacities and political will that determine the legal, institutional, and operational infrastructures for return migration in the EU’s southern neighbourhood shaped by the EU’s external migration policies?

The particular data collection involves both desk research as well as ethnographic work in the selected case countries. You will be expected to write and defend a PhD thesis at Radboud University based on your conceptual and empirical insights. Moreover, you will be expected to play an active role in the international research consortium consisting of 16 partners from both European and non-European countries. Your teaching load may be up to 10 percent of your working time.


  • You hold a Master’s degree in a relevant social scientific field (e.g. migration law, political science, geography, anthropology, sociology, or migration studies).
  • You have proven knowledge of return migration governance. Knowledge of EU legal and policy frameworks is considered to be an advantage.
  • You have great motivation to work with an interdisciplinary research team (including experts on law, geography and political science).
  • You have excellent analytical and writing skills.
  • You have excellent communication skills that will enable you to contribute to the everyday operations of the international consortium.
  • You have proven experience with qualitative research techniques and fieldwork, and a willingness to engage in substantial ethnographic fieldwork.
  • Fluency in English is required and knowledge of the Dutch and Arabic language would be an advantage.

Rabound University

Your PhD research is positioned at the intersection of three departments at Radboud University: the Centre for Migration Law (CMR)Centre for Conflict Studies (CICAM) and Geography. You will closely collaborate with your supervisors: Prof. Tineke Strik, Dr Nora Stel and Dr Joris Schapendonk.

The Centre for Migration Law (CMR) is part of the Faculty of Law. The CMR research focus is on European and national migration law characterized by its international and interdisciplinary approach and its strong empirical component. Rabound conducts legal analyses as well as research on the effects of migration law and policies.

CICAM and the Geography group are both embedded in the Nijmegen School of Management (NSM). NSM enables students, institutions and companies, societal actors and governments to play their part in a transformation towards sustainable societies. In doing so, it is committed to Radboud University’s mission of contributing to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all.

The Radboud University team is part of an international research consortium, led by Uppsala University. Research frameworks and research results will be coordinated and discussed with all consortium members, including partners from Germany, Turkey, Iraq, Canada, Greece, the UK, Afghanistan and Nigeria.

The Nijmegen School of Management enables students, institutions and companies, societal actors and governments to play their part in a transformation towards sustainable societies. In doing so, it is committed to Radboud University’s mission of contributing to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all. In the context of Rabound’s ‘Responsible governance for sustainable societies’ mission, the School of Management’s address scientific and societal challenges from a good governance perspective. Our work focuses on the topics Beyond Economy, Climate, Inclusivity, Safety, and Democracy. By building, questioning and extending the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), Rabound acknowledges their interrelatedness and focus on a number of grand challenges within society. Rabound contributes to innovation and sustainable growth on topics such as inequality, gender, decent work and poverty. Furthermore, they address environmental and climate challenges, seeking to contribute towards resolving them. At the Nijmegen School of Management, academic research and teaching are carried out in challenging educational programmes. These programmes are offered in the areas of Business Administration; Economics and Business Economics; Geography, Planning and Environment; Political Science; and Public Administration. Academic research takes place within the Institute for Management Research (IMR). Research is carried out within the above-mentioned domains and in interdisciplinary research groups: the Hotspots. The Nijmegen School of Management currently has 400 staff and some 5,000 students.

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