PhD Scholarship in Politics and International Relations

One PhD Scholarship in Politics and International Relations, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh.

This award is for a PhD studentship examining the topic of complicity in human rights violations from the perspective of political theory. This full-time, fixed-term position is available for 3 years, from September 2016 to August 2019.

The studentship is associated to the European Research Council Starting Grant entitledIlluminating the “Grey Zone”: Addressing Complex Complicity in Human Rights Violations, led by Dr Mihaela Mihai. The project is broadly located in the literature on transitional justice and focuses on how societies can overcome a past of injustice and violence. It goes beyond the entrenched focus on victims and perpetrators and examines the “grey zone” of collaborators, bystanders and beneficiaries of injustice.  Moreover, it seeks to establish whether artworks are better equipped than state orchestrated processes (truth commissions, criminal trials, reparations, etc) to problematise the murky area of complicity. In addition to the theoretical exploration, four empirical cases are analysed: authoritarianism plus military occupation (Vichy France), apartheid (South Africa), totalitarianism (Romania 1945–1989) and military dictatorship (Argentina 1976–1983). Details on the project can be found here:

The scholarship holder is expected to engage in independent research for his/her PhD and to assist the PI in her research on GREYZONE. Further, he/she is expected to assist the PI in organizational and administrative tasks related to the project. The scholarship holder will also gain valuable professional experience over the course of the project.

Award value

Annual stipend of £15,067 for 3 years. The successful candidate will be liable for the tuition fee for the PhD programme, details on fee rates are here. However, he or she would be eligible to apply for school scholarships to cover the tuition fees, more information is available here.


We are looking for someone with an outstanding academic record who has done a Masters thesis in political theory (or related field) and has experience doing research. We expect candidates to have earned a 2.1 or higher (or international equivalent) in their previous degree programmes. English is a pre-requisite, while fluency in one of the languages relevant to the project’s case studies is desirable, but not essential. Any nationality may apply. All applicants must satisfy the English language entry requirements for the programme, details here.

Application Procedure

Applications should containing the following:

  • A cover letter of 1 page describing one’s research background and expertise
  • A two-page PhD research proposal outlining one’s potential contribution to the project
  • A CV, including names of 3 referees
  • A sample of writing, preferably a copy of the MA/MSc thesis
  • Transcripts and proof of existing qualifications

The material should be emailed to with the subject line:  GREYZONE PhD Scholarship Application. Queries about the studentship/research project should be sent to Dr Mihaela Mihai:

The deadline for submitting this application is 1 February 2016. The shortlisted candidates will be interviewed in person or via Skype.

Important Information

In addition to applying for the scholarship, candidates must also formally apply and be accepted to the appropriate PhD programme at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Social and Political Science. Further information on the application process can be found here.