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Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS) Positions for Early-Stage Researchers, 2017

The Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS) invites applications for its PhD program BIGSSS-departs (doctoral education in partnerships). It is part of the COFUND scheme funded by the European Commission under the Framework for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020. BIGSSS is an international Social Science inter-university graduate school, located at the University of Bremen and Jacobs University Bremen, Germany.


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BIGSSS-departs provides close supervision of dissertation work in a demand-tailored education and research environment. It supports doctoral fellows in achieving early scientific independence, and provides funds for conducting, presenting, and publishing their research. The language of instruction is English. Successful applicants will pursue a topic in one of BIGSSS’ research areas that are organized in three thematic fields:
A. Global Governance and Regional Integration
B. Welfare State, Inequality, and Quality of Life
C. Changing Lives in Changing Socio-Cultural Contexts

BIGSSS-departs Early-Stage Researchers dedicate themselves to:

  • Conducting a specific dissertation project,
  • Following a 42-month structured curriculum, including a six-month stay abroad at an external aca-demic partner institution or with an external non-academic partner.
  • For the stay abroad, BIGSSS has established a network of prestigious international social science partner organizations (Duke University, Manipal University, Moscow Higher School of Economics, Institut d’études politiques de Paris/Sciences Po, Taras Shevchenko University, Universitá degli studi di Milano, University of Edinburgh, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Bertelsmann Stiftung, Edna Pasher PhD & Associates).


The duration of the time-limited work contract is 42 months, with no possibility for extension in the program context. The employment is governed by the Fixed Term Research Contracts Act, §2 (Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz – WissZeitVG), with a pay rate according to the regulations of the COFUND. program. The salary includes social insurance and health insurance with a monthly income of €2250 (before deductions). Funds for additional research costs such as travel, conference participation, in?house events, and outreach events will be available. Fellows commit themselves to their own dissertation projects and the full academic program of the BIGSSS curriculum. Additionally, BIGSSS encourages all accepted fellows to dynamically integrate in research activities at various Bremen Social Science institutes.


  • For the program starting in September 2017, we seek candidates with strong academic abilities and a Master’s degree (or equivalent) in political science, sociology, or psychology. Potential candidates with a degree in related social science disciplines are also welcome.
  • Applicants must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and not yet have been awarded a doctoral degree. All accepted researchers are asked to move to Bremen for the program as presence at the institution is required. Applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Germany for more than 12 months in the 3 years prior to the date of their recruitment. Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account. All nationalities are welcome to apply.
  • Applications have to demonstrate a thematic fit between the dissertation proposal and the potential supervisor’s research area. Applicants are requested not to contact faculty members directly but to consult the BIGSSS-departs admissions website for a list of recent research areas and supervisors, as well as detailed guidelines for research proposals.


Applications must be submitted online.

The call is open until January 31, 2017.

BIGSSS strives to increase the share of women in the university and hence also strongly encourages women to apply. Disabled persons will be given preferential treatment in case of otherwise equal qualification.