This is a call for applications for one full-time doctoral positions in the framework of a joint research action (Action de recherché concertée – ARC) at Université libre de Bruxelles. The project is an interdisciplinary inquiry dealing with social rights and European citizenship since the 1960s from the perspective of history and political science. It is coordinated by Amandine Crespy (Centre d’étude de la vie politique, Cevipol) and Nicolas Verschueren (Mondes modernes et contemporains, MMC) at the Institut d’études européennes of ULB.

The selected candidate will start on 1st October 2022 and be funded by a ULB doctoral grant until 1st October 2026.

Objectives of the project: Social rights in the European Union (1960-2020): from market to social citizenship and back?

This project aims to investigate the developments of the social dimension of European citizenship since the 1960s through the lenses of political science and history. The empirical focus will lie with the granting of transnational social rights related to social security and welfare (understood as a protection against social risks related to work, unemployment, healthcare, pensions, and poverty) to individuals. The main hypothesis guiding the research is that of a progressive enlargement of rights from an original focus on the Common market in the 1960s to an embryonic social citizenship in the 2000s, followed by a new shrinking of rights onto a new kind of market citizenship catalysed by the latest recession and its political consequences over the last decade. The team will make a contribution to existing research in three respects: 1. Documenting the movement of construction and deconstruction of social rights over time; 2. Substantiating the conceptual and empirical distinction between market and social citizenship; 3. Documenting the resulting social stratification between categories of people enjoying more or less rights (national citizens, non-national EU citizens, non-EU citizens).

Within this framework, PhD candidate has the leeway to propose original doctoral research ideas which can contribute to achieve the objectives described above. Projects will be adjusted and tailored in dialogue with the respective supervisors, namely Amandine Crespy and Nicolas Verschueren.


The workload related to the doctoral mandate is focused on the completion of a doctoral dissertation.

PhD candidate will be part of the project team (a post-doctoral fellow will also be hired in October 2023) and will be expected to contribute to individual and joint publications, and to help with organisational tasks linked to the activities of the project.

The foreseen funding relies on research grants from ULB which do not foresee teaching duty. Opportunities may be available on a voluntary basis.

Working environment and conditions

This multidisciplinary project will be anchored at the ULB’s Institut d’études européennes (Avenue F.D. Roosevelt, 39 – 1000 Bruxelles) where the workspace of both PhD candidates will be located. The Institut d’études européennes constitutes a vibrant research environment due to the several ongoing collaborative projects with a large network of other universities, including a H2020 project on EU responses to dissensus on liberal democracy (RedSpinel), an Erasmus Mundus Doctoral Programme (GEM Diamond), and a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence on Inequalities in the EU (EUqualis).

The individual research grants for SOCITEU are provided for four years (1st October 2022- 1st October 2026) for an amount of 2101, 68 € net/month (2.173,48 € for year 3 & 4 of doctorate + indexation on inflation level).

SOCITEU foresees dedicated funding for hardware, software, proofreading, event organisation, and travel costs for all members of the project.


Candidates are expected to:

  • Hold a Master’s degree granting access to doctoral programmes (120 credits) in either political science or contemporary history or a directly related field (international relations, sociology)
  • Have expertise and/or interest in European politics and social issues in Europe
  • Exhibit a strong academic record and possible experience in research
  • Prove their ability to work in an international/multilingual environment
  • Have an excellent command of English and French
  • Show their ability to work in a team, to meet deadlines and to combine autonomy with respect of guidelines

How to apply

The following application documents are to be consolidated into one single PDF file sent by email to Nicolas Verschueren ( no later than 15 September 2022.

  • A motivation letter explaining the candidate’s general interest for the project (no longer than 800 words) and mentioning explicitly if the application concerns the position in history or in political science
  • A curriculum vitae listing all qualifications and relevant experience
  • A brief research proposal for the foreseen doctoral dissertation explaining how it fits with the objectives of SOCITEU (no longer than 1200 words)
  • Name, affiliation, e-mail and phone number of two referees who can be contacted if necessary
  • A copy of the passport/ID as well master’s degree certificate

A limited number of pre-selected candidates will be invited to an interview which will take place (in person or online) in September 2022. Short-listed candidates will be asked to make a brief presentation outlining their motivation and prospective contribution to the project.

Questions and inquiries may be sent to Nicolas Verschueren for the position in history, or to Amandine Crespy for the position in political science.

Photo by Eric Prouzet on Unsplash