PhD Scholarship at the Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen (UCPH): Transnational Governance at the Climate-Biodiversity Frontier

Applications are invited for a PhD scholarship at the Department of Political Science. Supported by the Independent Research Fund Denmark, the chosen candidate will work on the project ‘Transnational Governance and the Politics of Transformative Change at the Climate-Biodiversity Frontier’ alongside Professor Michele Betsill (PI) and co-investigators Professor Harriet Bulkeley (Durham University/Utrecht University) and Professor Stacy VanDeveer (University of Massachusetts Boston). Enrollment will be at the Faculty of Social Sciences under Copenhagen Graduate School of Social Sciences.

The chosen candidate will work with team members to compile and analyze a novel database of transnational governance initiatives (TGIs) that address simultaneously the intertwined challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, and social justice. The project seeks to understand how TGIs are delineating the climate-biodiversity frontier as a new site for governance intervention and political contestation by answering two research questions: 1) What forms of transnational governance are emerging to simultaneously address climate, biodiversity, and social goals? and 2) How are the interconnections between climate change, biodiversity loss, and social justice framed and contested through the work of TGIs?

The chosen candidate will write their PhD thesis within the overall topic of transnational climate-biodiversity governance including, but not limited to, studies using the database. Funding is available for conference attendance and research visits such that the candidate can develop their international network and research expertise.

The position starting date is 1 September 2024, or as soon as possible afterwards.

Duties and Qualifications

The chosen candidate will be responsible for:

  • Authoring and co-authoring publications with team members (leading to an article based PhD dissertation);
  • Setting up and carrying out construction of an Excel database of climate-biodiversity TGIs;
  • Collecting and analyzing data on climate-biodiversity TGIs;
  • Participating in workshops, conferences, and other scholarly activities.
  • Teaching

We are seeking to recruit a candidate with the following:

  • Background (e.g. master’s degree) in a relevant social science field such as political science, international relations, geography, sociology, environmental social science, etc. (required);
  • Demonstrated aptitude for research (required);
  • Excellent English-language writing and speaking skills (required);
  • Proven skills in academic writing (required);
  • A willingness to take on independent responsibilities and work collaboratively as part of a team (required);
  • Familiarity with relevant methods such as descriptive and inferential statistics and/or discourse analysis (desired)

PhD Programme
The PhD programme provides PhD students with strong research training, which opens up the opportunity to a variety of careers within the private and public sectors. The programme includes 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.

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.  
  • In order 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.  

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 of time 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 enrol as PhD students simultaneously with their enrolment in the MSc degree programme. 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). The cover letter should include two or three brief descriptions of potential papers to develop as part of the PhD project.
  • CV   
  • Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and MSc/MA)   
  • Other information for consideration, e.g. list of publications, documentation of English language qualifications (if any)  

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

Application process  
On the website of Copenhagen Graduate School of Social Sciences you will find information about the application process, and enclosures to include with your electronic application:

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. You can read about the recruitment process here

The Department of Political Science
The Department is a top-ranked European Political Science department, which offers a vibrant,

collegial, and pluralist academic working environment for ambitious scholars.

The pluralism of Political Science in Copenhagen is evidenced in the various epistemological and methodological approaches as well as subfields adopted by faculty, and in a wide range of core subjects in the MSc programme. 

The Department consists of some 75 faculty members, which currently includes more than 10 tenure-track assistant professors, as well as some 25 PhD students, organized in four main research groups and a few centres. For more on the Department, please consult our webpage:

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 .

The Department of Political Science has a Code of Conduct expressing our continuous commitment to ensuring a welcoming, inclusive, professional and respectful culture at the Department for Political Science, 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
For information about the position, please contact Professor Michele Betsill, e-mail:

For information about the Political Science PhD Programme at the University of Copenhagen, please contact Head of PhD Programme, e-mail:

Information about the recruitment process is available from HR, e.mail: Please refer to ID 211-1719/24-2H #1.

The closing date for applications is 10 March 2024 23:59 (CET)

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: 10-03-2024
Employment start: 01-09-2024
Department/Location: Department of Political Science
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