Early Stage Researcher, Marie Skłodowska-Curie ITN in Solidarity in Diversity, PhD Study Position Times Higher Education, United Kingdom

Early Stage Researcher, Marie Skłodowska-Curie ITN in Solidarity in Diversity, PhD Study Position

Times Higher Education, United Kingdom

Department of Geography

Marie Curie: – See advert
Fixed Term – Full Time
Contract Duration: 36 months
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 08-Apr-2021, 6:59:00 AM

Durham University

Durham University is one of the world’s top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference to people’s lives.

The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Western Europe. A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience.

Less than 3 hours north of London, and an hour and a half south of Edinburgh, County Durham is a region steeped in history and natural beauty. The Durham Dales, including the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are home to breathtaking scenery and attractions. Durham offers an excellent choice of city, suburban and rural residential locations. The University provides a range of benefits including pension and childcare benefits and the University’s Relocation Manager can assist with potential schooling requirements.

Durham University seeks to promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for work and study that assists all members of our University community to reach their full potential. Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications from across the international, national and regional communities that we work with and serve.

The Department

The successful candidate will be based primarily in Durham, but will be expected to visit and work closely with colleagues across the SOLiDi network to deliver the multi-disciplinary objectives of this project, including a secondment at Uppsala University, Sweden.

Founded in 1928, the Department of Geography is one of the leading centres of geographical research in the world and has been ranked in the top 10 for eight consecutive years in the QS World University Rankings by Subject. The Department has a vibrant community of over a hundred postgraduates and aims to develop a range of high-level research, analytic, and communication skills that are transferable to multiple career paths. For more information: https://www.durham.ac.uk/departments/academic/geography/

Uppsala University, founded in 1477, is Scandinavia’s oldest university and one of the largest. The University is among the foremost research environments in Europe and grants around 300 doctoral degrees each year (see www.uu.se ). Our mission is to pursue top-quality research and education and to interact constructively with society. Uppsala University has 42,000 students, 7,000 employees and a turnover of SEK 6.7 billion. The Department of Social and Economic Geography engages in world class research and education within the field of human geography. Today about 50 persons are affiliated with the department.

The Role

Early Stage Researcher (ESR4) position (PhD study) – Solidarities under strain: place-based identities in turbulent times

An EU-funded Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early-Stage Researcher (ESR) position is available for study towards a PhD in place-based solidarities, identity, and diversity in the Department of Geography of Durham University, Durham, UK.

Salary range: [£33,000- £44,000]

The funding for this Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early Stage Researcher (PhD study) position provides for a remuneration starting from [£33,000]. Actual salary will depend on employer deductions, personal circumstances and the exchange rate applicable to the fellowship.  This amount includes an annual living allowance and a mobility allowance (to cover the expenses associated with working in a different country).

Allowance eligibility depends on the personal circumstances of the ESR.

Living Allowance: total amount €54,857.52 per year. This figure is inclusive of the country coefficient of 139.80%.

Mobility Allowance: total amount €7,000 per year.

Family allowance: total amount €3,000 per year (eligibility depends on supporting evidence that at the time the ESR position starts the ESR is married, in a partnership equivalent to marriage in the country it was formalised or have dependent children).

This is a full-time position (35 hours per week), fixed-term for 36 months, with a start date of 1st  September 2021 (or as soon as possible thereafter) and will require the successful candidate to register for the study for a PhD (NB applicants must NOT already have a PhD).

The rise of national populism and far-right parties in Europe poses a big threat to all forms of solidarity, especially solidarity between members of various ethnic-cultural groups. European democracies should therefore identify the conditions that can encourage and promote solidarity in diversity, taking into account the social inequalities and unequal positions of power between various groups. The EU-funded SOLiDi project has developed a training and research program to train 15 PhD researchers in relevant theories, research methods and ethics in the fields of sociology, human geography and educational sciences. The training and research program will also focus on paradigms of social change, studying how scientific insights on solidarity in diversity can be applied in different policy contexts and organisations. Ultimately, the project will provide professionals and institutions with insights and instruments for building cohesive European societies. SOLiDi is a consortium consisting of 10 universities and 23 non-academic organisations.

Situated within the wider SOLiDi project, this PhD research will focus on how solidarities have been subject to increased pressure in recent years. Over the last decade, the liberal democracies of Western Europe have been characterised by turbulence and uncertainty, placing pressure on all forms of solidarity. Building on discussions of intersectional solidarities, this project will explore the diverse forms of labour that maintain solidarities in the North East of England. Following an ethnographic approach, this project will examine how place-based solidarities, senses of identity, and forms of collectivity, are maintained and challenged in the turbulent politics of the present.


The post-holder will have specific responsibility for the following areas of research:

  • Assist with the development of research goals and objectives.
  • Meet the members of their supervisory team to discuss their research on a regular basis.
  • Perform independently scientific research within a collaborative international research consortium.
  • Prepare a doctoral thesis on the topic of solidarity in diversity.
  • Widen their personal knowledge in the research area and undertake complementary training.
  • Directly contribute ideas to the direction of the research project supported by detailed and critical reference to previously published literature.
  • Prepare regular research reports and participate in scheduled face-to-face and Skype meetings including presentation of research results.
  • Undertake regular, comprehensive and systematic literature reviews and reports.
  • Participate actively in group meetings and other network meetings.
  • Help to prepare and give research presentations to national and global conferences.
  • Write or assist with the preparation of papers for publication in global journals and conference proceedings.
  • Support the valorization of research results into tangible deliverables.
  • Actively participate in outreach activities aimed at promoting the research to a wider audience.
  • Participate in the activities of the SOLiDi network as specified in the Grant Agreement and/or required by the project coordinator, including travel to/secondments at other network institutions and international project partners’, taking part in the network meetings and in the network’s training activities.
  • Keep records of these network activities, such as secondments, visits, and leave of absence.
  • Take part in two planned secondments, one academic secondment to Uppsala University (Sweden) and one non-academic secondment with Citizen Songwriters (UK).

How to Apply

For informal enquiries please contact Dr Helen F. Wilson (helen.f.wilson@durham.ac.uk ). All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence.

More information about the SOLiDi network, the open positions, and host organizations is available on the project’s dedicated website: https://www.uantwerpen.be/en/projects/solidi/about-us/

Applications should be made online via the Durham University Vacancies Site at: https://www.dur.ac.uk/jobs/ .

Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts in the University.

What to Submit

All applicants must submit:

  • A CV, including their skills and educational and career trajectory and their place of residence and place of main activities (work, studies, etc.) in 3 preceding years (max. 3 pages, font 11 or higher)
  • A personal statement, explaining their motivation (up to 2 pages, font 11 or higher, written in English). The letter should clearly indicate the applicant’s motivation for applying for this ESR position. Applicants should clearly state, giving brief examples, how they meet each of the Essential Criteria. Additionally, the applicant must explicitly declare that they fulfil the eligibility criteria.
  • A one page outline, building on the project description (https://www.uantwerpen.be/en/projects/solidi/about-us/ ), of the research questions, approach, and research design you would take to develop this PhD project on Solidarities under strain: place-based identities in turbulent times.
  • The name and contact details of two referees who can comment on your skills, experience, and suitability for postgraduate research (referees will only be contacted for candidates invited to interview).
  • Copies of academic transcripts for the higher education qualifications held. Please note, official translations into English and equivalence certificate of the Master’s degree or equivalent will be required at the point of contract signature.

Next Steps

After the deadline for applications, the project supervisor and co-supervisor will draft a shortlist of 5 to 8 candidates. This shortlist will be discussed by representatives of all SOLiDi academic partner institutions. The shortlisted candidates will then be invited for interview. The ranked candidates will be discussed by representatives of all SOLiDi academic partner institutions, who will assess the gender and geographical balance of the selected candidates and the balance in disciplinary backgrounds across the network. Successful candidates will be notified by the end of May 2021.

The Requirements


  • A masters degree in Geography, Sociology, Social Research Methods, or cognate disciplines.
  • Have obtained outstanding academic results at undergraduate and postgraduate level.
  • A keen interest in interdisciplinary, theory-oriented empirical research.
  • Evidence of strong analytical skills.
  • Experience of working independently and as a member of a research team, and a demonstrated sensitivity to diversity.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Fluency in academic English (speaking and writing) and the ability to satisfy the English language eligibility requirements to enrol on a PhD at Durham University. It is a requirement that applicants can demonstrate that their ability to understand and express themselves in both written and spoken English is sufficient for them to derive the full benefit from the network training, and to embark on a PhD at Durham University.
  • Academic qualities that comply with the requirements stipulated in Durham University’s postgraduate entry requirements, detailed here: https://www.dur.ac.uk/study/pg/apply/
  • Willingness to travel internationally for training events, secondments and conferences.


  • A demonstrable ability or potential to produce research published in peer-reviewed journals.
  • A working knowledge of Swedish.
  • Previous experience in collaborating within interdisciplinary and/or international research teams.

There are strict eligibility and residency requirements that must be met by applicants for this position. Applicants must be either European citizens (from EU Member States or Associated Countries, but not residents of the UK), or from Other Third Countries (i.e. USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, India, China, etc.).

At the time of recruitment (i.e. first date of employment/signature of the contract) applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers. Full-Time Equivalent Research Experience is measured from the date at which the researcher obtained their masters degree.
  • Not have a doctorate/PhD.
  • Be a national of any country other than the country of the host organization to which they are applying (unless they have legally resided outside that country for at least 3 out of the last 4 years).
  • Not have resided in the country of the recruiting host for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date (and not have carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in that country) – unless as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention.
  • Candidates may apply for up to three ESR positions in the SOLiDi project, but should mention explicitly the other ESR positions for which they are applying in their personal statement.


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