Doctoral Researcher on Judicial behavior in conflict-affected societies

Application Deadline: Thursday, January 3, 2019

PRIO invites applications for a three-year, full-time position as Doctoral Researcher. The position provides the opportunity to work in a leading international research institution with high academic standards and an interdisciplinary environment.

This position is financed as part of a grant from the Research Council of Norway to PRIO for the project “All is fair in law and war: Judicial behavior in conflict-affected societies” (DCJ project), led by Senior Researcher Helga Malmin Binningsbø.

Working within the fields of social sciences, the Doctoral Researcher to be employed in this project will conduct fieldwork-based doctoral research which focuses on judicial behavior during and after the armed conflict in Colombia. Additionally, the project team has access to quantitative data on during-conflict justice (DCJ) that the Doctoral Researcher can take advantage of if s/he wishes. The Doctoral Researcher will be responsible for a significant component of the overall project, some of the parameters of data collection and analyses are therefore given by the project design. This work will result in an article-based PhD dissertation in English.

About the project

While transitional justice has received considerable attention, we suggest that during conflict justice, systems developed for addressing injustices during conflict, fundamentally affects both the dynamics of conflict, as well as future transitional justice mechanisms post-conflict. This project examines how governments’ use of during-conflict justice processes affects the conflict dynamics and post-conflict peace. Our overarching motivation is to gain new insights on the use and possible utility of during-conflict justice for mitigating violence during conflict, de-escalating, and ending ongoing conflicts, sustaining the post-conflict peace, and ultimately strengthening state-building efforts.
In this project we propose an ambitious multi-method research design to analyze the consequences of DCJ both during and after conflict. The project will examine how justice processes impact conflict dynamics during conflict, as well as what are the likely post-conflict legacies of these processes. Using detailed data on DCJ between 1946 and 2017 we will scrutinize the interplay between DCJ and violence, as well as the likelihood of ceasefires, negotiations, and peace agreements as the conflict unfolds. We will further explore the impact of during conflict justice processes on post-conflict violence, transitional justice and the long-term effects on rule of law. The causal mechanisms underlying these relationships will be explored through in-depth fieldwork and case studies in Colombia, Nepal, and Uganda.

The project responds to the Norwegian government and NORGLOBAL-2’s ambition to gain a deeper understanding of transitional justice in peacebuilding processes. Further, the knowledge generated by this project can help the international community achieving the aims of Sustainable Development Goal 16, as it identifies the role of judicial processes in “reduc[ing] all forms of violence” and shows the need to “[p]romote the rule of law,” both during and after conflicts. Armed conflicts continue to have devastating effects on the lives of millions of people throughout the world. The failure to hold perpetrators of human rights violations and war crimes accountable contributes to a culture of impunity, which further perpetuates civil war and violence. The project’s main motivation is to provide knowledge on how to permanently end conflict and advance rule of law in conflict-affected societies.
A complete description of the project will be made available to interested candidates upon request.

Read more and download project data at

The position of the Doctoral Researcher in the team

A successful application is one that makes clear how it will contribute innovatively to the project as a whole, and candidates are encouraged to read the background material closely before writing their proposal.

The Doctoral Researcher will work with researchers at PRIO, University of Oslo, and Pennsylvania State University.

The Doctoral Researcher will have a supervisor at PRIO, and a second supervisor at the PhD-granting institution. Progress on the doctorate will be supported through regular presentations at internal seminars and involvement in appropriate research groups at PRIO, and opportunities to present work at international academic conferences and workshops. The PhD progress plan will be closely tied to the overall project plan.

PRIO is an equal opportunity employer and values staff diversity.

Required and desired qualifications

 Applicants must have the following qualifications

     Hold an M.A. or equivalent
     Strong writing skills
     Be fluent in English (oral and written)

In addition, as many as possible of the following qualifications are desirable
     Background in social sciences
     Experience with fieldwork and semi-structured interviews
     Knowledge about armed conflict in Colombia and Latin America
     Be able to use Spanish as a working language (oral and written)
     Good understanding of, and preferably experience with, quantitative research
     Experience with teamwork

The candidate will be expected to live in Oslo and will have a workplace at PRIO. The PhD degree, however, must be awarded by a degree-granting institution. Hence, the Doctoral Researcher will be responsible for applying to, and enrolling in a compatible PhD program. Different institutions may have different requirements, and candidates are encouraged to make enquiries about their eligibility for enrolling in a given program in advance. Tuition fees are not covered by the project.

Application procedure

The application is to be submitted by way of the online form linked above, and must include the following attachments (as PDF files):

1.    A cover letter in English that addresses the requirements for the position as described above;
2.    A curriculum vitae in English, including a list of publication;
3.    One academic writing example (e.g. MA thesis)
4.    Copy of certification of University degrees (Scanned and merged in one document);
5.    A PhD project description of 4-6 pages (including references) in English, outlining the following:
*    Which aspects from the DCJ proposal do you find most interesting or relevant and why?
*    How will your research fit in with overall objectives and research questions of the DCJ project? 
*    How will your research contribute theoretically to the overall objectives of the DCJ project?
*    Which research question(s) will the fieldwork in Colombia address?
*    How will you organize and manage the data collection and analysis?
*    Tentative descriptions of the articles to be included in the PhD dissertation;
*    A progress plan for your three-year doctoral research, including start and end dates and  key milestones;
6.    Name and contact details of two or more references

PRIO is located in attractive premises in central Oslo. The starting salary for a Doctoral Researcher at PRIO is NOK 471,900 (equivalent to step 54 in the Norwegian State salary system). Employees are offered a defined benefit pension plan membership in the Norwegian Public Service Pension fund.  
PRIO is an equal opportunity employer and values staff diversity.
The starting date for the position is 1 February 2019 or as early as possible thereafter.
Applications should be submitted using the online form no later than 3 January 2019:
Questions, as well as requests for the DCJ project description, can be addressed to Senior Researcher Helga Malmin Binningsbø (, or Department Manager Damian Laws (
The candidate should have an interest in PRIO’s broader mission of conducting high-quality academic research on questions relevant to the promotion of a more peaceful world. For more information about PRIO’s on-going research, see