PhD Position in Digital Sovereignty in Europe

University of Copenhagen Department of Political Science

PhD Scholarship at the Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen: Digital Sovereignty in Europe

Applications are invited for one PhD scholarship in the research project “Digital sovereignty: European visions for self-determination in a digital age” (SOVEREIGN), led by Professor Rebecca Adler-Nissen and Assistant Professor Kristin Anabel Eggeling. This is an international and open call, and we encourage interested candidates from all parts of the world and backgrounds to apply.

The position's starting date is on 1 September 2023. The anticipated end date is 31 August 2026.


The PhD student will contribute to SOVEREIGN by developing a sub-project exploring how digital and tech policies and legislation are negotiated in Brussels among the European Commission, the Council of Ministers, the European Parliament, tech lobbyists and civil society. The project requires both presence in Copenhagen and regular fieldwork and interview trips to Brussels. The project is placed in the Department of Political Science and is funded by the VELUX Foundation through a Core Group grant (2021-2016).

Enrolment will be at the Faculty of Social Sciences under Copenhagen Graduate School of Social Sciences. The main supervisor will be Rebecca Adler-Nissen and Kristin Anabel Eggeling will co-supervise.

The PhD programme provides PhD students with strong research training which opens a window of opportunity to a variety of careers within the private and public sectors. The programme includes the drafting of a PhD thesis, active participation in research networks, PhD courses, teaching, and other forms of knowledge dissemination. The PhD programme can be undertaken as a three-year full-time study within the framework of the 5+3 study programme, or as a four-year full-time study programme within the framework of the 4+4 study programme.


The position is aimed at applicants who have obtained their M.Sc. in Political Science or International Relations.

The following criteria are used when shortlisting candidates for assessment: 

  1. Knowledge of the EU and its institutions & knowledge of basic theories and debates in international relations/political science
  2. Interest in the field of tech policy and/or (digital) diplomacy
  3. Performance (grades, first research experience) in undergraduate and graduate studies  
  4. Knowledge of/experience with qualitative methods such as participant observation and in-depth interviews
  5. Readiness to work in a research team and feasibility to deliver on the aims laid out in the project proposal (abstract available upon request)

Interest and knowledge of digital technologies and the European tech agenda will be valued but are not required. Knowledge of additional EU languages will be considered an asset for field research.

Duties and responsibilities

The PhD student is expected to:  

  • Engage in and participate actively in the development of SOVEREIGN and its academic and   communication activities.
  • Conduct field research in Brussels and beyond (travel costs covered by the project).  
  • Prepare and participate in joint academic publications and workshops.
  • Contribute to and benefit from the flourishing intellectual life at the Department of Political Science, and in the PhD group, the International Relations Researcher group, and the Copenhagen Center for Social Data Science (SODAS).
  • Take the required courses and teach in accordance with the PhD programme.

Further information about the PhD study programme is available on the website of Copenhagen Graduate School of Social Sciences:

Under "Legal basis" on the website you will find information about the rules and guidelines for the PhD programme and the Danish Ministerial Order on the PhD programme at the Universities.

Information about the PhD study programme is also available on the PhD website of the Department of Political Science:


  • The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding society, and invites all qualified applicants, regardless of personal background, to apply for the positions.
  • To be awarded a PhD scholarship the applicant has to enroll as a PhD student at the Faculty of Social Sciences, cf. the rules of the Danish Ministerial order No 1039 of 27 August 2013.  
  • Please note that normally there is strong competition for these scholarships, and only a few can be awarded each term.  

Scholarship in the 5+3 or in the 4+4 PhD study programme

The 5+3 PhD study programme 
In order to be eligible for a scholarship in the 5+3 PhD study programme the applicant must have completed a two-year MSc degree programme, or have earned 120 ECTS credits at an equivalent academic level before starting his or her employment. Applicants should check the study programmes for more detailed descriptions of the entry requirements. PhD students are paid a salary in accordance with the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC). The PhD student has a work obligation of up to 840 hours over the 3-year period without additional pay. The work obligation can include for instance teaching.

The 4+4 PhD study programme
Students who have completed a BSc plus 60 ECTS of an MSc degree programme would enroll as PhD students simultaneously with their enrollment in the MSc degree programme at the University of Copenhagen. Applicants should check the study programmes for more detailed descriptions of the entry requirements. Until an MSc degree is obtained, the grant is paid partly in the form of up to 48 state education grant portions (in Danish: SU-klip). More specifically the PhD student will be paid two grant portions per month plus salary for work (teaching, presentations etc.) which totals a workload of at least 280 hours. Payment and conditions of employment are carried out in accordance with the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC). Upon completion of the MSc degree the student is transferred to the salary-earning part of the PhD studies. 

How to apply

Submit a complete application at our online portal. Click on the “Apply now” icon at the bottom of the page to apply. The documents must be in Adobe PDF or Word.

  • Cover letter (detailing your motivation and background for applying for the specific PhD project) (max 1 page)
  • PhD Project description that is in line with the focus of the position outlined above (max 12,000 keystrokes not including bibliography) 
  • CV   
  • Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and MSc)   
  • Other information for consideration, e.g., list of publications, documentation of additional language qualifications (if any)  

Please note that it is only possible to upload one document per attachment category. If more than one document must be uploaded in the same category, please make sure that they are scanned and collected into one file. 

The recruitment process

Further information on the recruitment process at University of Copenhagen can be found here:
Selected applicants are notified of the composition of the assessment committee, and each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that relates to the applicant him/herself.

An equal opportunity workplace

The University of Copenhagen is committed in its pursuit of academic excellence to equality of opportunity and to creating an inclusive working environment and therefore encourages all qualified candidates to apply, regardless of personal background, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, ethnicity etc. For more on the diverse working place environment at the University and the University’s participation in the HRS4R HR Excellence in Research, see

For the Department of Political Science Code of Conduct, please see

International applicant?

The University of Copenhagen offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including support before and during your relocation and career counselling to expat partners. Please find more information about these services as well as information on entering and working in Denmark here:

Contact information

Information about the position can be obtained from Professor Rebecca Adler-Nissen, e-mail: tel. +45 3022 4075 or Kristin Anabel Eggeling, e-mail tel. +45 6057 7611.

Information about the recruitment process is available from HR, e-mail:, please refer to ID number: 211-1368/23-2H #1

The closing date for applications is 15 April 2023 at 23:59 (CEST).

Applications received after the deadline will not be taken into account.


Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.


Application deadline: 15-04-2023
Employment start: 01-09-2023
Department/Location: Institut for Statskundskab