PhD Researcher - Interaction Between Geopolitics and Social Service Provision in Georgia

Vacancy PhD researcher (100%)

Research project on the interaction between geopolitics and social service provision in Georgia


Last application date: September 20, 2023

Department: PP04 – Department of Social Work and Social Pedagogy (Ghent) / United Nations University – CRIS (Bruges)

Contract: Limited duration (4 years: 1 + 3 contract) – Doctoral fellowship

Degree: master's degree in social work or an equivalent degree in Social Sciences (i.e., pedagogical sciences, sociology, political sciences, geography, conflict and development, history)

Occupation rate: 100%

Vacancy Type: Research staff


Job description

For a research project on the interaction between geopolitics and social service provision, we are recruiting a full-time PhD researcher. The project is broadly interested in how and when social work practices reproduce geopolitics (both its powers and discourses), and in providing a deeper understanding of the interaction between global and local scales in the context of social welfare provisions. Within this scope, this PhD research will focus on social services developed by Georgian civil society organizations that target (vulnerable) women and mothers. In practice, the research aims first at mapping the field of global and local actors involved in providing these services; the existing funding streams; the discourses around gender and motherhood that are circulating; and the target groups of the services. Second, this study seeks to gain first-hand insights based on observations of and/or participation within the daily work of selected civil society organizations in Georgia.


Employment offer

  • The selected candidate will be offered a 1 + 3 contract. The first one-year contract will be renewed with a three-year contract subject to a favourable evaluation of the previous term.
  • Remuneration is at the level of a full-time research assistant at a Flemish university (i.e., approximately € 2.500 net per month, depending on the familial situation and work experience). See for salary schemes: Salary scale Research staff member (WP) — Ghent University (
  • The research is guided jointly by supervisors Prof. Ine Lietaert (Department of Social Work and Social Pedagogy), dr. Giacomo Orsini (Department of Social Work and Social Pedagogy) and Prof. Dr. Fabienne Bossuyt (Department of Political Science) and should result in a PhD thesis in Social Work.
  • The PhD candidate will be included in and supported by the Department of Social Work and Social Pedagogy (,  the United Nations University – CRIS (Bruges) ( and the Ghent Institute for International and European Studies ( The candidate will follow the PhD training programme of the doctoral schools at UGent (for more information on UGent PhD trajectory; and will take up some teaching and administrative assignments in both departments. Office space and equipment will be provided together with a budget for travelling and other research-related expenses.
  • The appointment will preferably start by the 1st of January 2024.


Profile of the candidate

We are looking for an enthusiastic and highly motivated researcher with the following profile:

  • Holding a master's degree in social work or an equivalent degree in Social Sciences (i.e., pedagogical sciences, sociology, political sciences, geography, conflict and development, history). The degree requirements need to be fulfilled at the start of your appointment.
  • thorough knowledge of the relevant academic literature and affinity with the topics of critical social work/social welfare services, civil society, critical geopolitics, and/or (geo)political developments in Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus, for example, through Master’s thesis, work experiences, internships, working papers, etc.
  • familiarity with the Georgian context is considered an important asset.
  • affinity with qualitative research, including fieldwork methods.
  • willingness to conduct longer periods (up to 4 months) of fieldwork in Georgia.
  • excellent communication skills (both of written and oral English language) and organizational skills.
  • being able to work both independently and as part of a team, show initiative and flexibility.
  • willingness to move to Belgium for the duration of the scholarship and to travel to/in Georgia and Europe.


How to apply

The PhD candidate will be selected based on their profile (qualification, experiences, and expertise) and the quality of the expected one-page reflection on the research topic.

Interested candidates should send

  • their CV (including an overview of study results);
  • a one-page reflection on the research topic, illustrating their knowledge of the relevant academic literature and methods.
  • a one-page motivation letter explaining their interest in pursuing a PhD on the presented topic.
  • electronic copies of possible relevant writings and publications (e.g., master's thesis, working paper or academic article).

All submitted documents need to be written in English. The different application documents should be consolidated into one single PDF file. This file should be sent to by 23:59 on September 20, 2023, at the latest.

Shortlisted candidates will be informed by the beginning of October and will subsequently be invited for an interview. The successful candidate is expected to start on January 1, 2024, or as soon as possible thereafter.

For more information about this vacancy, contact Prof. Ine Lietaert: