PhD Student in Political Science

Lund University Department of Political Science

PhD Student in Political Science, Theme: The Politics of Plastics

Faculty of Social Sciences , The Department of Political Science

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top 100 universities. The University has 40 000 students and more than 8 000 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

The Faculty of Social Sciences at Lund University is one of the leading education and research institutions in Sweden and operates both in Lund and Helsingborg.

The Department of Political Science fuses traditional roots with cutting-edge research and education. In recent years, it has very successfully competed for external research funds. Among the central research areas of the Department are democratization, diplomacy, peace and conflict studies, environmental politics and welfare studies. The strong research profile of the Department is reflected in the teaching, the educational environment also being firmly set in a global context.


The PhD programme in political science consists of 240 credits (equivalent to four years of full-time studies) and is concluded with the public defense of a doctoral thesis. The appointed doctoral students will receive a salary from the University during four years, and their primary obligation is to complete their PhD studies. The position may involve departmental duties, mainly in the form of teaching, up to 20 per cent of full-time working hours, in which case the appointment will be extended by the equivalent number of hours. The doctoral student will have access to a work space at the Department of Political Science. The terms of employment for doctoral students are regulated in the Swedish Higher Education Ordinance (HF), Chapter 5, Sections 1– 7.

The position is associated with the research project STEPS – Sustainable Plastics and Transition Pathways, funded by MISTRA The PhD position takes place within the second phase of the project and belongs to WP3 (“Governing the transition towards a sustainable plastic system”).The first programme period of STEPS has convincingly shown how a transition towards a more sustainable plastics production and consumption system involves multiple and interrelated changes in feedstock, technologies, behaviour and norms of producers and consumers, organization of production networks, and regulation. A key outcome of the first period was the identification of different transition pathways that are possible for plastics, as they highlight the need to think in parallel about (1) the challenges in overcoming the complete fossil resource dependency in the modern petroplastic industry, (2) the need for sustainable and resource efficient production based on biomass resources that several industries are competing for, (3) the requirements on recycling of all types of plastics to material with high quality, (4) and the necessity of making smart choices about where, how, and in what form to use plastics. The focus of the PhD is expected to be on the power of the current petro-plastics order, both at the international level and in the everyday omnipresence of plastics. The research is expected (but not limited) to engage, and contribute to, literatures within international political economy, global socio-technical regimes, incumbency, norms and social practices.

The research could deploy different kinds of methods, for example archive and document analysis, material-flow analysis, qualitative interviews, participatory observation, and survey analysis. Experience of plastic research, or environmental research, is a merit, but not necessary. Good knowledge of Swedish is also a merit. Within the parameters indicated above, the doctoral student will conduct independent research and will enjoy the freedom to formulate research questions, develop theoretical ideas and choose methodological approaches.

The doctoral student is expected to be present and actively participate in the research and teaching environment at the department, as well as in the everyday activities of the project, including reporting to MISTRA.

The main language of the PhD programme is English. However, non-Swedish speaking students are expected to acquire basic skills in Swedish during the period of employment. There are opportunities to participate in language courses taught at the University. The doctoral studentship will commence on 1 September 2020. The general syllabus and other information about the PhD programme in political science is available at:


The requirements for admission to third cycle courses and study programmes (in accordance with HF, Chapter 7, Section 35) are that the applicant

  • meets the general and specific entry requirements that the higher education institution may have laid down, and
  • is considered in other respects to have the ability required to benefit from the course or study programme (Swedish Code of Statutes 2010:1064).

A person meets the general entry requirements for third cycle courses and study programmes if he or she:

  • has been awarded a second cycle qualification,
  • has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second cycle, or  
  • has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad. 

Specific entry requirements

In addition to the general entry requirements, the applicant must have completed at least 30 second cycle credits within the main field of political science, or acquired the equivalent knowledge in Sweden or abroad. The applicant must also present a graded Master’s degree project of at least 15 credits in political science or other discipline deemed equivalent.

Assessment criteria

Only applicants who are eligible for third cycle studies may be appointed to a doctoral studentship. Admission is primarily to be based on the applicant’s ability to benefit from the third cycle programme. The applicants will be ranked based on an overall assessment of the quality of their submitted thesis/ theses and research plan, grades from previous studies, and their personal suitability. As third cycle studies in political science are very demanding, the applicant must be highly motivated and able to work independently under time constraints. Good collaboration and communication skills are also required, as is proficiency in both written and spoken English. Interviews will be conducted with a shortlisted number of applicants during the final stages of the admission process. The applicants may be asked to provide work samples.

The Department of Political Science particularly welcomes female applicants.

Application procedure

Applications are to be submitted electronically via the Lund University application portal. 

The application must include:

  • A cover letter in Swedish or English of max 1 000 words, which contains a brief presentation of yourself and your qualifications, as well as a brief explanation of why you are interested in third cycle studies at the Department of Political Science at Lund University.
  • A CV in Swedish or English that demonstrated your qualifications for the third cycle programme in Political Science.
  • Degree and grade certificates in Swedish or English.
  • Master’s degree project in Swedish or English corresponding to at least 15 credits in political science or another discipline deemed equivalent (in addition to the Master’s degree project, a Bachelor's degree project can also be submitted).
  • A brief research plan in Swedish or English of max 2 000 words including references.
  • Name and contact information of two personal references (letters of reference are not required in the first stage of application).
  • Other documentation of relevance to the position.

Please note: The position is subjected to the approval of the work-plan by MISTRA. The final decision on this matter is expected in mid-June.

Type of employment

Limit of tenure, four years according to HF 5 kap 7§. 

Lund University welcomes applicants with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We regard gender equality and diversity as a strength and an asset. We kindly decline all sales and marketing contacts.

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Type of employment Temporary position longer than 6 months
First day of employment 1 september 2020
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Working hours 100
City Lund
County Skåne län
Country Sweden
Reference number PA2020/1685
Douglas Brommesson, director of studies , +46 (46) 222 89 48,
Johannes Stripple, Principal Investigator, +46708197129,
Union representative
SACO:Saco-s-rådet vid Lunds universitet, +46 (46) 222 93 64
OFR/ST:Fackförbundet ST:s kansli, +46 (46) 222 93 62
Published 13.May.2020
Last application date 03.Jun.2020 11:59 PM CET