Vacancy: PhD researcher for the Centre for Migration, Diversity and Justice (CMDJ)

The Centre for Migration, Diversity and Justice (CMDJ) at the Brussels School of Governance, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) is inviting applications for one full-time doctoral researcher in the field of migration and diversity policy research. Prospective PhD candidates are hereby invited to submit project proposals on the themes described below. The deadline for submitting applications is 30 April 2023.

PhD Research on Migration and Diversity
The Centre for Migration, Diversity and Justice (CMDJ) focuses on the multi-level governance of migration, immigrant integration, equality and diversity policies from the local level to the EU and UN. The candidate for the PhD position may develop a research proposal for one of the following two research lines: (1) City Governance of Migration, Diversity and Anti-Racism; or (2) EU-Africa Cooperation in the Field of Migration. Proposals should relate to the broad themes and questions outlined, but do not need to cover all areas of research.

Research Line 1: Cities and the governance of migration, diversity and anti-racism 

Cities are the places where migration and diversities happen. They receive the majority of migrants, and have been on the forefront of migration, diversity and anti-racism governance. This is of relevance given that an increasing polarization often stalls policy-debates at EU and national levels. Realizing this, the EU increasingly supports cities on these policy fronts, thereby trying to stimulate mutual learning. The potential PhD candidate may develop a comparative research proposal that focuses on the politics and policies of migration, diversity or anti-racism in European cities, possibly with a focus on multi-level governance (highlighting interaction, conflicts and cooperation between different policy levels). 

Research Line 2: EU-Africa cooperation on migration 

Africa has become a focal point for the EU migration policies. This cooperation has intensified over the years and been bolstered by new financial tools such as the ‘European Union Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa’ (EUTF). It has been well established in the literature that African states are not passive recipients of the EU’s policies and priorities. The potential PhD candidate may develop a research proposal on EU-African cooperation in the field of migration, ideally with a focus on the agency and behaviour of African actors. We welcome research proposals that contribute to a comparative understanding of migration politics and policy in (West-) Africa. 


The successful candidate is required to:

  • Hold a Master’s degree in political science, law, international relations, public policy, sociology or relevant social sciences with excellent study results.
  • Be fluent and have excellent communications skills in English. Knowledge of additional languages are an asset, especially French for research theme 2.
  • Have a thorough knowledge of the relevant academic literature.
  • Have experience in conducting document analysis and research interviews.
  • Have the ability to communicate with stakeholders, among others high-level officials.
  • Be flexible, self-motivated and perseverant.
  • Knowledge of (West-) Africa(n politics) is an asset for research theme 2.
  • Be able to work independently, with good self-management and planning skills.


The selected candidate will be employed as a full-time doctoral researcher at the VUB. For more information about facilities and benefits of employment at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, please visit under the heading ‘Working for the VUB’).

Contract: full-time research grant for one year, renewable on an annual basis for a maximum of four years. Extension of the contract is subject to the agreement of the doctoral committee. Remuneration is at the level of a full-time research assistant at a Flemish university (i.e. approximately € 2.400 net per month) and includes contributions for social security. Secondary employment is not allowed.

Successful candidates are expected to work at the VUB premises in Brussels. Office space and equipment will be provided along with a budget for travelling and other research-related expenses.

IMPORTANT: The effective award of the doctoral scholarship is subject to your successful enrolment as a doctorate student at the university.

At VUB, you are guaranteed an open, involved and diverse workplace where you are offered opportunities to (further) build on your career.

As well as this, you will enjoy various benefits:

  • Full reimbursement for your home-work commute with public transport according to VUB-policy, or compensation if you come by bike;
  • Cost-free hospitalisation insurance;
  • The space to form your job content and continuously learn via VUB LRN;
  • Excellent facilities for sport and exercise;
  • Ecocheques;
  • Delicious meals at attractive prices in our campus restaurants;
  • An open, family-friendly work environment where attention is paid to work-life balance, and exceptional holiday arrangements with 35 days of leave (based on a fulltime contract).

Office space and equipment will be provided along with a budget for travelling and other research-related expenses.

How to apply

The PhD candidate will be selected on the basis of the quality of the project proposal, her/his expertise, work experience and qualifications. The following application documents are to be consolidated into a single PDF file sent by email to (subject heading: ‘Migration, Diversity and Justice PhD call’).

  • A one-page motivation letter explaining the candidate’s interest in pursuing a PhD on the research topic
  • curriculum vitae listing all academic qualifications, relevant research experience and previous publications (if any)
  • project proposal featuring a literature review and problem statement, a research question and proposed hypotheses/assumptions, a methodological outline and an indicative work plan, condensed into no more than 3000 words
  • A copy of the highest-obtained diploma and transcript of academic grades
  • A copy of a publication (master thesis, academic report or a paper from a university class)
  • Candidates must also provide the names and contact details (email address and phone number) of two referees.

The deadline for applications is 30 April 2023. Short-listed candidates will be informed by early June and interviews with the highest-ranked candidates are expected to take place in the weeks thereafter. The successful candidate can start as of 1 October or as soon as possible thereafter.

Eligibility criteria

Candidates cannot have performed any works in the execution of a mandate as an assistant at VUB, paid from operating resources, over a total (cumulated) period of more than 12 months.

Further information

For more information please visit:

For further inquiries, please contact prof dr Ilke Adam, .

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel is committed to creating and supporting a diverse work environment and is an equal opportunity employer.