PhD Scholarship 'Database interoperability and European security politics (DATAUNION ERC)'

Vrije Universiteit Brussel
March 15, 2023
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
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Working Time:Full time
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PhD Scholarship 'Database interoperability and European security politics


Category: PhD

1 - Working at the VUB

For already 50 years, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel has stood for freedom, equality and connectedness. These values are strongly present on our campuses, in our students as well as our staff. At the VUB, you'll find a diverse collection of personalities: pure innovators and especially people who are 100% their authentic selves. With about 3.500 employees , we are the largest Dutch-speaking employer in Brussels , an international city with which we are all too happy to be connected, and around which our four campuses are located.

Our education and research are grounded in the principles of free research with an eye on human progress. We disapprove of every purely authoritative argument and guarantee the free formation of judgement that is necessary for this basic principle to be incorporated in the community.

The VUB is autonomous and managed democratically. As such, we guarantee fundamental freedoms within our university, as well as the right of the university community to be involved in making and checking university policy.

The mission of the university includes:

  • the development, the transfer and the application of high-standing academic education and scientific research, free from any prejudice;
  • community integration of this in a spirit of social compassion;
  • critical development of everyone in light of the responsibilities borne in the community.
  • 2 - Position description

    The Faculty of Law and Criminology , Department Metajuridica , is looking for a PhD-student with a doctoral grant.

    More concretely your work package, for the preparation of a doctorate , contains:

    Your work will be part of the European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant project ‘The European Data Union: European Security Integration through Database Interoperability' (DATAUNION, project number 101043213), led by Prof. Rocco Bellanova.

    The DATAUNION project explores the ongoing implementation of several EU database interoperability initiatives, and studies how the construction of a “European Data Union” shapes European integration in the field of security. More specifically, the DATAUNION project aims at providing a better understanding of the role of digital technologies in three dimensions of European integration:

  • security practices;
  • institutional governance;
  • fundamental rights.
  • Empirically, the project focuses on the ongoing implementation of EU-wide initiatives such as:

  • the interoperability of large-scale EU databases for example:
  • the Schengen Information System-SISII;
  • the Visa Information System;
  • etc.
  • the integration of Europol's information systems;
  • the networking of passenger information databases.
  • The project develops an innovative multi-modal approach bringing Critical Making to the study of security practices to retrace how database interoperability is implemented on the ground. This approach combines more traditional humanities and social sciences' methods such as semi-structured interviews, documentary and discourse analysis, with the use of digital technologies as a research tool (“Critical Making” and digital methods). As such, the DATAUNION project brings together approaches from Critical Security Studies, Science and Technology Studies and Critical Data Studies.

    More concretely your research, for the preparation of a doctorate, contains:

  • developing an appropriate conceptual framework in conversation with the theoretical approaches at the heart of the DATAUNION research project;
  • empirical research focusing on the operational implementation of a EU interoperability initiative;
  • active participation in the project team research activities;
  • submit your research for consideration in scientific journals (2 articles);
  • attending scholarly conferences to present the results of the project;
  • developing your original research towards the completion of a PhD thesis.
  • This position presupposes the ability to engage into a conversation with a multidisciplinary team, involving researchers coming from disciplinary backgrounds as diverse as Law, International Relations or Science and Technology Studies.

    For this function, our Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering Campus (Elsene) will serve as your home base.

    3 - Profile

    What do we expect from you?

    You have a Master degree and a background in International Relations, EU studies, Surveillance Studies, Science and Technology Studies, Media Studies, Design or other relevant disciplines.

  • You have a background in International Relations, EU studies, Surveillance Studies, Science and Technology Studies, Media Studies, Design or other relevant disciplines.
  • You are highly motivated to engage with diverse conceptual perspectives and in transdisciplinary conversations.
  • You are fully fluent in English and you have excellent academic writing skills. Knowledge of other official European languages could be an advantage.
  • You have a strong interest for European security and border policies and the relation between technologies of surveillance and fundamental rights.
  • You are driven by intellectual curiosity and a passion for engaging in fieldwork and exchanges with diverse actors.
  • You have experience with qualitative methods. Knowledge or experience with fieldwork research, participative methods or digital methods could be an advantage.

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

  • We encourage all qualified applicants, including minorities, women, people with disabilities, and members of other groups underrepresented in academia to apply. We are committed to creating an environment of mutual respect, inclusiveness, equal opportunities with room for situated experiences, diverse perspectives, and ideas to flourish. Complementarity and not homogeneity is what we are looking for.

  • 4 - Offer

    Are you going to be our new colleague?

    You'll be offered a full-time PhD-scholarship , for 12 months (extendable up to max. 48 months, on condition of the positive evaluation of the PhD activities), with planned starting date 01/04/2023.

    You'll receive a grant linked to one of the scales set by the government.

    IMPORTANT: The effective result of the doctorate scholarship is subject to the condition precedent of your enrolment as a doctorate student at the university.

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

    As well as this, you'll 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).
  • 5 - Interested?

    Is this the job you've been dreaming of?

    Send us ONLINE and at the latest on 24/02/2023 :

  • your CV, including the names and contact details of two references who may be approached by the selection committee;
  • your letter of motivation, including a short research proposal (max 1000 words);
  • one writing sample (e.g. a chapter of your master thesis, a working paper or a research article);
  • the highest degree you've attained (not applicable for VUB alumni).
  • Do you have questions about the job content? Contact Rocco Bellanova at [email protected] (with the object: 'Inquiry PhD position DATAUNION').

    Would you like to know what it's like to work at the VUB? Go to www. and find all there is to know about our campuses, benefits, strategic goals and your future colleagues.

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