Doctoral Researcher on Refugee Education: Building Durable Futures (REBuilD)

Please note: The deadline for applying to this position has passed.

Application Deadline: Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Peace Research Institute Oslo (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 “Refugee Education: Building Durable Futures (REBuilD)”, led by Research Professor Cindy Horst.

Working within the fields of social sciences or humanities, the Doctoral Researcher to be employed in this project will conduct fieldwork-based doctoral research which focuses on education for Somali refugees in Kenya and for returnees in Puntland. 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

Education in situations of conflict and crisis is a crucial instrument for protecting children and youth in the near-term and fostering peaceful coexistence over the longer-term. But how can education enable individuals and communities to build durable futures when there is great uncertainty about where these futures will be? Recognizing the protracted nature of contemporary displacement, the latest UNHCR education strategy prioritizes the integration of refugees into the national education systems of host countries. While this strategy may increase refugee children and youth’s access to ‘inclusive and equitable quality education’ (SDG4), it fails to recognize the limbo in which refugees find themselves: they are non-citizens who cannot access the durable futures that education promises them. 
REBuilD challenges existing paradigms of education for development, which are centered on nation-states, in three ways. First, it examines the roles of private and civil society actors as well as national governments. Second, it studies the transnational dimensions of alternative educational models, including the role of diasporas and social media. And third, it analyses the impact of models of education that focus on civic skills and identities both within and beyond the nation-state.

The central research question is: how do different models of education contribute to building durable futures for individual refugees and for their local and transnational communities? This question will be answered through interviews, classroom observations, and in-depth engagement with two of the largest refugee communities at present: those who have fled Syria and Somalia. REBuilD is a collaboration between the Peace Research Institute and Harvard University. The Consortium further includes the University of Nairobi in Kenya and the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. The project hosts four doctoral researchers – one of which will be based at PRIO and for which funding is sought. A central aim is to create innovative approaches for connecting research to policy and practice.

A complete description of the project will be made available to interested candidates upon request.

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 an interdisciplinary team of researchers at PRIO (Anthropology), Harvard University (Education), the University of Nairobi (Curriculum Studies), Cambridge University (Education) and the American University of Beirut (International Relations).
The Doctoral Researcher will have a supervisor at PRIO, and a second supervisor at the PhD-granting institution. The Doctoral Researcher will be encouraged to apply for a place in the Research School in Peace and Conflict hosted by PRIO. 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.

Required and desired qualifications

Applicants must have the following qualifications:

  • Hold an M.A. or equivalent
  • Be able to use both Somali (oral required, written desirable) and English (both written and oral) as working languages

In addition, as many as possible of the following qualifications are desirable

  • Experience with semi-structured interviews
  • Background in social sciences or humanities
  • Skills in relevant research methods and analysis
  • Experience with teamwork
  • General computing skills
  • Experience with interdisciplinary work
  • Experience with organizing meetings and seminars

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 an online form (link below), which 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 any publications you might have;
  3. One or more academic writing examples (e.g. MA thesis)
  4. Scanned copies of original transcripts from higher education;
  5. A PhD project description of 4-6 pages (including references) in English, outlining the following:
  • Which aspects from the REBuilD proposal do you find most interesting or relevant and why?
  • How will you address the REBuilD research questions?
  • What would you like to add or change within your specific project?
  • How will you organize and manage the data collection and analysis?
  • A progress plan for your three-year doctoral research

About PRIO

PRIO is located in attractive premises in central Oslo. The starting salary for a Doctoral Researcher at PRIO is NOK 458,700 (equivalent to step 53 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 January 2018 or as early as possible thereafter.

Applications should be submitted using the online form no later than 10 December 2017:

Questions, as well as requests for the REBuilD project description, can be addressed to Research Professor Cindy Horst by e-mail:, or Department Manager Amanda Cellini by e-mail or by phone: 22 54 77 00.

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