Ph.D. Research Positions: Democratic Constitutional Design: Negotiating Civic Engagement, Institutional Control and the Common Good.

The EDDA Research Center — School of Humanities at the University of Iceland invites applications for a PhD scholarship. Applications are invited from highly qualified and motivated applicants to join the research project “Democratic Constitutional Design: Negotiating Civic Engagement, Institutional Control and the Common Good” as Ph.D. candidates. The project is funded by The Icelandic Research Fund. The post is fixed-term for 3 years starting no later than 1 September 2019. Three Ph.D. positions are available. The three successful applicants will become core participants in the project while working on their dissertations.

Field of work

“Democratic Constitutional Design: Negotiating Civic Engagement, Institutional Control and the Common Good” examines the lessons about democratic constitutional design that can be drawn from the Icelandic constitutional process 2009-2013 and seeks to apply these lessons in a theoretical framework studying democratic participation and civic engagement in general. Special attention will also be paid to ongoing constitutional revision efforts. The project will work closely with the Office of the Prime Minister monitoring the implementation of a program to complete a revision of the constitution over two parliamentary terms, 2018-2025.

The Icelandic Constitutional Council attracted international attention for its (ultimately unsuccessful) attempt to engage the public in its effort to write a new Icelandic constitution. It won wide public support in Iceland and inspired other countries to seek public engagement in constitutional revision. A Proposal for a new constitution was submitted to Parliament in 2011.

The project combines a thorough study of the Constitutional Council’s work with a discussion of deliberative and epistemic democratic theory that both inspired its work and was affected by its results, in an effort to monitor and explore ongoing attempts by the Icelandic government to engage the public in constitutional revision. The main achievement of the Constitutional Council may be the fact that it created a draft constitution using a fully open, inclusive and transparent process, thereby permanently affecting dominant ideas about constitutional design.

The project leaders are Jón Ólafsson, professor of Comparative Cultural Studies, Valur Ingimundarson professor of History, Stefanía Óskarsdóttir professor of Political Science and Björg Thorarensen professor of Law at the University of Iceland.

The PhD candidates will work collaboratively with the research group at the University of Iceland to accomplish the aims of the project. He or she is expected complete a dissertation in the framework of the project as well as take part in various research activities that will be undertaken as a part of its research program. They will also prepare research publications, present papers at appropriate scholarly conferences and meetings and assist with the administration of the project and organization of events.

Qualification requirements

The project is interdisciplinary and welcomes applicants with background in Philosophy, Political science, History, Law or Cultural studies (and related fields).

Applicants must have a first class Master’s degree in one of the above mentioned subjects and must be able to demonstrate good skills in both written and spoken English. Proficiency in Icelandic is an advantage.

Successful candidates will be enrolled in the doctoral program in the Faculty of History and Philosophy, the Faculty of Political science, the Faculty of Law or the Faculty of Icelandic and Comparative Cultural studies at the University of Iceland, depending on educational background, at the University of Iceland.

Application to the selected Ph.D. program is separate from the selection of candidates to join the project. The successful candidates will be guided through the application process.

How to apply

Application deadline is 2 May (midnight GMT).

The application should include:

  • CV
  • Statement of purpose (1 ̶ 2 pages)
  • Certificates of Education (BA/BS and MA/MSc degree)
  • Two reference letters with contact information

For further information please contact Eiríkur Smári Sigurðsson, Director of Research, School of Humanities,

All applications will be answered and applicants will be informed about the appointment when a decision has been made. Applications may be valid for six months.

Salary will be according to the current collective wage and salary agreement between the Association of University Teachers (Félag háskólakennara, and the Ministry of Finances.

Appointments to positions at the University of Iceland are made in consideration of the Egual Rights Policy of the University of Iceland.  

The University of Iceland has a special Language Policy.

For more information, please open this link.