Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Political Science, with a focus on Drivers and Outcomes of Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Malawi


The Department of Political Science and the Governance and Local Development Institute are looking for a postdoc to work with the Survive, Thrive, or Deprive? Drivers and Outcomes of Resilience During the Covid-19 Pandemic in Malawi project and related research. Employment will be full time for two years, residential in Gothenburg, with a flexible start date in Summer/Fall 2023.


The University of Gothenburg tackles society’s challenges with diverse knowledge. 56 000 students and 6 600 employees make the university a large and inspiring place to work and study. Strong research and attractive study programmes attract scientists and students from around the world. With new knowledge and new perspectives, the University contributes to a better future.

The Department of Political Science is an open and socially engaged institution, in the middle of a vibrant city. In 2022, the ShanghaiRanking’s Academic Ranking of World Universities placed the department number 1 in Sweden, 5 in Europe, and 19 in the world in political science. We are very research-active and offer a lively research environment with several thematic seminar series and internal workshops. The Department’s research revolves around elections, democracy, governance, corruption, development, forms of government, globalization, the environment and politics, as well as European issues. The department hosts research programs such as the Center for Collective Action Research (CeCAR), the QoG Institute, Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem), Governance and Local Development Institute (GLD) and the Swedish Electoral Research Program. We have education at all levels, undergraduate advanced level and postgraduate level, as well as independent courses. Teaching is given in both Swedish and English. In total, about 1,400 people study with us. The Department of Political Science has around 160 employees.

The project, Survive, Thrive, or Deprive? Drivers and Outcomes of Resilience During the Covid-19 Pandemic in Malawi, examines why some individuals and communities respond better than others to crises, and the longer-term effects of crises on governance and welfare. Examining community governance in Malawi during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, it aims to answer three questions: 1) What explains when and how communities implement and enforce policies to mitigate the pandemic's negative effects? When/why does this impact poverty and inequality? 2) How do community factors and individuals' characteristics affect how individuals manage crises? and 3) How has the pandemic altered community social ties and authority?

During the project we will implement face-to-face (F2F) household and elite surveys as well as conduct case studies and focus groups. The newly collected data will be combined with F2F surveys with households and elites conducted in 2019 before the pandemic and three telephone surveys conducted during the pandemic. Together, this data will allow us to yield theoretical understandings of resilience, health crisis response, and authority while supporting policymakers and development specialists to alleviate poverty and other negative consequences of crises.


Subject areas

Social Science, including political science, economics, development, global studies, public health, crisis management, and related fields.

Subject area description

Political science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, nation, government, and politics and policies of government on local, national, and international levels.

Job assignments

The employment as a postdoctoral fellow aims to give the employee an early opportunity to develop their independence as a researcher after completing their doctoral degree and to create the conditions for further qualifications. The person employed as a postdoctoral fellow must mainly conduct research. Teaching can be included in the work duties, but to a maximum of one-fifth of the working time.

As a postdoctoral researcher with GLD, you will be expected to spend your time on GLD- or project-oriented tasks including: Assisting in performing literature reviews and developing the theoretical framing within the project, the development of survey and focus group instruments, the creation of analysis plans, and the writing of academic articles. You will also collaborate with Professor Ellen Lust, Dr. Erica Ann Metheney, and other researchers in the program, as relevant, to conduct research and disseminate findings through articles and presentations. 

There will be excellent opportunities for intellectual development and mentoring as well as for developing an independent research agenda within the overall context of the project. There are ample opportunities for developing a strong academic network.


Eligible to be employed as a postdoctoral fellow is someone who has a doctorate in a relevant social science at the latest at the time the employment decision is made. In the first instance, those who have completed their degree no more than three years before the end of the application period should be considered. Individuals who have completed their degree more than three years ago can be considered if there are special reasons.

For more information regarding eligibility please visit The appointment procedure GU 2022/38


We are looking for you who have the necessary skillset to successfully carry out the job assignments as described.

The following qualities are required:

  • A PhD in political science, development economics, global studies, public health, crisis management, sociology, or related field.
  • A strong record of research on issues pertaining to the project, Survive, Thrive, or Deprive?
  • Familiarity with survey methods
  • Knowledge of qualitative methods
  • Proven familiarity of quantitative research methods
  • Proven excellence in English (written and spoken)
  • Strong record of academic writing (in English)

The following qualities, while not all required, are meritorious:

  • Previous experience in designing and implementing household and elite surveys
  • Previous experience in designing and implementing qualitative research (e.g., focus group discussions, elite interviews, etc.)
  • Previous experience in research on local governance
  • Previous experience doing research on Malawi
  • Previous work on the effects of COVID-19 at the local level
  • Proven ability to engage with the policy sphere 
  • Knowledge of the languages Chitumbuka and/or Chichewa

To be successful in this position, you must have an eye for detail, good organizational skills and be able to solve problems. You need to have very high communication and collaboration skills, while also having a knack for independent work.

Great emphasis is placed on personal suitability for the position. We will make an overall assessment and the applicant who is considered to be best qualified to carry out and develop the tasks described above will be appointed to the position.


The employment is limited (temporary) for 2 years, full-time and is currently placed at the Department of Political Science. Starting date - as early as possible or as agreed.

For more information please visit The appointment Procedure, GU 2022/38

Contact information for the post 

If you have questions regarding the employment, or details about the projects in which this position is organized, please contact Rose Shaber-Twedt,  

If you have any questions regarding the employment procedure, please contact Helena Jensen,


Union representatives at the University of Gothenburg can be found here: 


To apply for a position at the University of Gothenburg, you have to create an account in our recruitment system. Submit your application via the University of Gothenburg’s recruitment portal by clicking the “Apply” button. It is your responsibility to ensure that the application is complete as per the vacancy notice, and that the University receives it by the final application deadline. 

We kindly ask you to write your application in English as the application may be reviewed by English-speaking staff. In the selection process, English will likely be spoken in the interview and to any references.

The application should include the following:

  • A cover letter outlining relevant experience and qualifications
  • Statement of how the applicant’s research agenda would contribute to project on Survive, Thrive, or Deprive? at the GLD Institute
  • A C.V. (including a list of publications)
  • One English-language writing sample (may be a previously published work or one in progress). If a co-authored publication is submitted, please provide a solo-authored writing sample as well.
  • A list of at least three references (with contact information) from whom letters of recommendation can be solicited

The application must be received by: 2023-06-15 via the University of Gothenurg's recruitment system

Information for International Applicants

Choosing a career in a foreign country is a big step. Thus, to give you a general idea of what we and Gothenburg have to offer in terms of benefits and life in general for you and your family/spouse/partner please visit:

The University works actively to achieve a working environment with equal conditions, and values the qualities that diversity brings to its operations.

Salaries are set individually at the University.

In accordance with the National Archives of Sweden’s regulations, the University must archive application documents for two years after the appointment is filled. If you request that your documents are returned, they will be returned to you once the two years have passed. Otherwise, they will be destroyed.

In connection to this recruitment, we have already decided which recruitment channels we should use. We therefore decline further contact with vendors, recruitment and staffing companies.