2 PhD positions: digital/social media and political knowledge (4 years)

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
June 11, 2023
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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2 PhD positions: digital/social media and political knowledge (4 years)

(ref. BAP-2023-293)

Last modification : Friday, May 12, 2023

The Leuven School for Mass Communication Research and The Institute for Media Studies of the Faculty of Social Sciences at KU Leuven are recruiting two full-time (100 %) PhD candidates (4 years) for an interdisciplinary project on the effect of digital interventions on political knowledge. The selected candidate will collaborate with a number of other PhD and postdoctoral researchers within this large-scale research project.


Political knowledge is an important pillar of a healthy democracy. However, rapid changes in the digital information environment have contributed to a growing number of uninformed, misinformed or selectively informed citizens. This project not only aims to better understand the causes of missing, incorrect, or selective political knowledge, but also investigates the effects of possible solutions. More specifically, it studies a number of key strategies to reduce the negative consequences of young people's lack of or poor use of media and information. The envisioned PhD projects will focus on (1) social media influencers and their role in enhancing or reducing young people's knowledge about politics as well as (2) the role of fact-checking interventions in protecting young people from political dis- and misinformation.

As a PhD candidate you will carry out the following tasks:

  • Conduct research in the field of communication science and political communication with a focus on digital interventions. The project specifically addresses the role of 1) social media influencers (PhD position 1) and fact-checks on social media (PhD position 2)
  • Help setting up and conducting quantitative (and qualitative) research among young people (e.g., experiments, mobile experience sampling studies)
  • Disseminate research findings at (international) conferences and publish in international journals
  • Assist in project management tasks
  • Profile

    The candidates we are looking for will have the following qualifications and skills:

  • Master's degree in communication science, political science, sociology, or psychology
  • A keen interest in digital/social media, political communication, and disinformation
  • Experience with quantitative data analysis and (digital) research methodologies
  • Knowledge of the Belgian political system
  • Excellent communication and writing skills in English (mandatory) and Dutch (recommended)
  • High organizational skills and ability to work independently
  • High motivation to work in a team
  • Offer
  • 2 full-time PhD positions for a period of 4 years
  • A dynamic research context at a renowned university (Faculty of Social Sciences, KU Leuven)
  • Interested?

    When applying, please clearly indicate which of the two projects you are applying for (PhD position 1: social media influencers or PhD position 2: fact-check interventions).

    Interviews will take place in June. Intended project start date: early September 2023 or as soon as possible thereafter. For more information about the PhD position 1 (social media influencers), please contact Prof. dr. Desiree Schmuck ([email protected]). For more information PhD position 2 (fact-check interventions), please contact Prof. dr. Michaël Opgenhaffen ([email protected]).

    KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at [email protected].

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