The University of Tartu (Estonia) hosts doctoral candidates and PhD-holding academics in the Social Sciences at a five-month fellowship at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies, supported by the Eurasia Programme of the Open Society Foundations. Citizens of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan are eligible to participate.
The purpose of the fellowship programme is to enable scholars from the target countries to develop analytical and research skills and build international networks by participating in a five-month resident fellowship programme at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies at the University of Tartu.
The fellowship programme focuses on political and societal transition in Eurasia and Eastern Europe in a comparative perspective. Post-communist transformation processes in the region have produced a variety of political outcomes, ranging from dictatorships to hybrid regimes to consolidated democracies. The record on governance and quality of public institutions is equally mixed: while some countries are plagued by endemic corruption and inefficient governance, others have succeeded in building accountable, open and innovative public institutions. The region remains dynamic, as authoritarian regimes face public demands for democratic change, greater accountability and better performance – and sometimes react by further constraining dissent. In countries that have succeeded in building well-functioning democratic institutions, backsliding remains a possibility, as democratic institutions face economic pressures and are challenged by populists promising simple solutions to complex problems. Finally, transformation processes in Eurasia and Eastern Europe continue to unfold in a complex international environment, and are influenced by external actors pursuing different – and often competing -- interests and agendas.
The fellowship programme is premised on the idea that there are valuable lessons to be learned from a comparative analysis of political and societal transition in Eurasia and Eastern Europe, and that such analysis has the potential to lead to better policies and positive change. We invite doctoral candidates and young scholars to propose research projects relevant to this general theme. Specific sub-topics on which the host institution is prepared to provide research supervision include:
The project will support two fellows (one PhD candidate and one Post-doctoral Fellow) for a five-month period (February 3, 2020 – July 2, 2020). Fellows will be resident scholars at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies at the University of Tartu (see also Host Institution, below.) They will work on their individual research projects under the supervision of a senior academic. During the fellowship they will have the opportunity to improve their analytical skills, research methodology and writing by making use of resources, supervision and training provided by the host institution. Upon each fellow’s acceptance, relevant interests and training needs will be assessed, and an individual work plan will be agreed upon by the fellow and a host institution, detailing activities and outcomes to be achieved. The fellows are expected to write one or several research or policy papers and present this work at a conference, workshop or research seminar. Fellows will have access to training opportunities (including graduate-level courses on a range of topics) and research infrastructure such as libraries, databases and computing facilities. In addition, fellows are expected to actively participate in the academic life of the host institution, attending research colloquia, conferences, workshops, and other events organized by the Skytte institute.
The fellows will also be able to draw on the competences of the host organization’s partners as well as will be encouraged to participate in international conferences in the region and across Europe.
Following the completion of the fellowship, participants will be encouraged to remain in contact with new colleagues and the Eurasia Programme’s alumni network.
The fellows are supported by a grant from the OSF Eurasia programme, administered by the University of Tartu. The grant covers travel, visa, accommodation, health insurance and living costs during the fellowship period. Specifically, the PhD candidate will receive a monthly scholarship of 1200 euros, while the Post-Doctoral Fellow will receive a net salary of 1500 euros per month.
The fellows are expected to cover accommodation and living costs from the monthly income specified above. The host institution will provide assistance in arranging suitable accommodation (options include single room in a modern dormitory or hostel, or a small rental apartment).
Additionally, expenses for one-time roundtrip travel to Tartu will be covered along with relevant visa and insurance fees. Air tickets will be arranged and covered directly by the University of Tartu. Visa and insurance fees must initially be incurred by the Fellow but will be reimbursed upon the Fellow’s arrival to Tartu. In addition, limited funding will be available for professional travel in the region (e.g. attending a conference outside of Estonia during the fellowship period).
The programme does not provide any support to the fellows’ family members. The fellow is expected to be present in Tartu for the entire duration of the fellowship, with the exception of professional travel (e.g. conference attendance, visits to partner institutions) approved by the host institution.
The University of Tartu is a leading research university in New Europe. QS University Rankings: Emerging Europe and Central Asia 2019 ranks the UT in the top 5 best universities in the entire post-communist region. Founded in 1632 and located in the lively yet peaceful city of Tartu in South Estonia, the UT has four faculties, including Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, Medicine, and Science and Technology, and approximately 13,000 students (including over 1000 international students from 70 countries).
Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies at the University of Tartu combines top-level research with a dynamic, international learning environment at all three levels of higher education. The Institute belongs to the top 10 best departments of politics in the Nordic-Baltic region and 101-150 Politics & International Studies departments in the world (according to QS World University Rankings 2019). The Institute has built up considerable competences in Eastern European Studies. Since 2011, the Institute has been a home to the Centre for EU-Russia Studies (CEURUS) which pools relevant competences from a range of disciplines, including the Social Sciences, Economics and Law. Recent and ongoing, thematically relevant projects implemented by the Centre and the Institute include an ERA chair in E-Governance and Digital Public Services (2019-2024); Horizon 2020 Twinning project “Building Research Excellence in Russian and East European Studies at the Universities of Tartu, Uppsala and Kent” (UPTAKE, 2016-2019) and a Horizon 2020 MSCA Innovative Training Network project FATIGUE: “Delayed Transformational Fatigue in Central and Eastern Europe,” (2018-2021).
*For the purposes of this programme, a candidate degree (kandidatskaya) awarded in several Eurasian countries is considered to be an equivalent of a doctoral degree awarded in the Western system. Thus, the definition of a doctoral candidate includes those working towards their candidate degree.
The application deadline for applications was November 14, 2019 and this was the last call in the framework of OSF fellowships at the University of Tartu.
Application documents should be sent electronically to eurasiafellows [ät] ut.ee by 23:59 PM Estonian time (GMT/UTC+02:00) on November 14, 2019. All documents should be in English. Academic transcripts may be in a language other than English but should be accompanied by a translation provided (and signed) by the applicant.
Applicants for the doctoral fellowship must submit the following documents:
Applicants for the post-doctoral fellowship must submit the following documents:
Please address any questions about the programme or the application process to eurasiafellows [ät] ut.ee.
Applications will be reviewed by a three-member selection committee.
Selection criteria include:
Please note that the selection committee may decide to conduct phone or Skype interviews with short-listed applicants in order to verify English language proficiency and academic qualifications, and to discuss the proposed research.
All applicants will be notified of the results of the selection process within three weeks of the application deadline.
1. Can I apply for a doctoral fellowship track if I am a citizen of one of the target country, but currently study at an institution of higher education of non-target country?
Based on the programme’s edibility criteria, applicants should be both the citizens of the Eurasia Programme target countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine or Uzbekistan); and doctoral students enrolled in a PhD programme in one of the programme countries.
2. Can I apply for a doctoral fellowship track if I am enrolled in a PhD programme for less than 1 year?
No, an applicant should be enrolled in a doctoral programme for at least one year at the time of applying.
3. To which programme should I apply if I have not defended my PhD thesis yet, but I finished all my courses?
Applicants should apply for a doctoral programme if they are going to be PhD students during the fellowship period at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies.
Applicants for a postdoctoral fellowship should already hold a PhD degree prior to the application deadline.
4. Is there a template or some specific guidelines that I should follow to prepare my research proposal?
General guidelines as well as the specific sub-topics on which the host institution is prepared to provide research supervision are listed above in the section "Thematic focus". There are no further templates or recommendations related the format of a research proposal.
5. Do you provide any preliminary feedback on the feasibility of the research topic before the final deadline?
The institute does not provide any feedback on the feasibility of research proposal prior to the application deadline – it is a responsibility of an applicant to evaluate how well a research proposal fits with the sub-topics that are outlined in the section "Thematic focus".
6. When will the results be announced?
All applicants will be notified of the results of the selection process within three weeks of the deadline.
Profiles of previous fellows
Download Call for Applications
Please address any questions about the programme or the application process to eurasiafellows [ät] ut.ee