Early-Stage Reserarchers/PhD Candidates in Education University of Gothenburg, Department of Education and Special Education

Early-Stage Reserarchers/PhD Candidates in Education


University of Gothenburg is one of the largest Swedish universities, and is organized into eight faculties. The University’s roughly 40 different departments cover most scientific disciplines. Every academic year approximately 900 international students are studying in Gothenburg and the student body comprises approximately 70 different nationalities, providing a truly international atmosphere and a unique academic environment.


The Faculty of Education is situated in the city centre of Gothenburg, and has almost 7000 students and around 450 employees. There are four departments at the faculty.


Department of Education and SpecialEducation is the largest departement with around 200 employees, including some 22 professors and associate professors. Research at the department is dominated by studies with a focus on individual, organizational, resource management and institutional conditions for teaching and education, educational policy, and the relationship between education and working life. The activities involve a considerable amount of international cooperation.


The Department of Education and Special Education is offering two positions as:


Early-Stage Researchers/PhD Candidates in Education


commencing August 1, 2018. The positions are full-time (currently 40 hours per week) and the fixed-term contracts will be for a period of 4 years. The positions are within the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie (MSC) European Training Network (ETN) Outcomes and Causal Inference in International Comparative Assessments (OCCAM). OCCAM is a graduate school for 15 early-stage researchers (ESRs) who will investigate the effects of educational policy, focusing on trends and differences in educational achievement, the determinants of educational outcomes, and changes in educational outcomes from an international perspective. Further information on the ETNcan be found on www.etn-occam.eu. The two ESRs will be enrolled in the PhD programme in Education at the Department of Education and Special Education. For more information about the PhD Programme please visit https://ips.gu.se/english/education/phd-programme.


Job assignments


The OCCAM research program includes 15 ESR-projects which are co-ordinated under three subtopics: 1) The Integrity of Educational Outcome Measures; 2) Governance of Human and Financial Resources and Decision Making; and 3) Educational Settings and Processes. All ESR-projects will use the large scale data produced for international comparative assessments by the IEA and OECD in secondary analyses, using recent developments in quantitative research methods order to contribute well founded answers to the research questions. The two ESR-projects in Gothenburg, ESR3 and ESR11, are located under subtopics 1 and 2, respectively.


  • Linking recent and older IEA studies on mathematics and science (ESR3). The aim of this ESR-project is to develop comparable measures of trends in both outcome and explanatory variables. The research task includes evaluation of the degree of comparability across recent and older IEA studies in mathematics and science, and to use IRT-modelling (Item Response Theory) to perform concurrent calibration of the test items onto a common scale that spans over more than 40 years. This will make it possible to study long-term trends in country level student achievement. This project is one out of six under subtopic 1. 

  • Teaching quality and school segregation: perpetuating inequalities (ESR11).The aim of this project is to investigate teacher allocation to schools as a function of market mechanisms and school segregation (social composition, resources, school climate, rural and urban region). The empirical studies will chart these allocation mechanisms and investigate their effects on student achievement and equity by means of country fixed-effects analyses using PISA 2000–2015 and TIMSS 1995–2015 data. This project will contribute knowledge about the role of formal learning opportunities in the reproduction of educational inequality, and is one out of five research projects organised under subtopic 2.


The research of the two candidates will be supervised and conducted in close collaboration with both the project leaders and the research group FUR, which is one of the research environments at the department. (For more information, see http://www.ips.gu.se/english/Research/research_programmes/FUR)


Besides working on the PhD-project, the ESRs will receive international, intersectoral, and interdisciplinary research trainings including network‐wide meetings, research visits, and a secondment for six months at another partner organization that is part of the OCCAM consortium. It is expected that at least one research paper is published in cooperation with another PhD candidate in the OCCAM network.


The article-based dissertation should be written in English, and the research is to be conducted in close cooperation with the supervisors and the other members of OCCAM. The results are successively presented at international conferences and in international journals.


Salary level will follow a special salary scale for PhD candidate (Dnr P 2014/80), at the Faculty of Education, Gothenburg University. The annual salary will not be lower than 308 000SEK (approx. 32 400 €).


Requirements and Eligibility


Regulations for the evaluation of qualifications for education at a doctoral level are given in SFS 1998:80. To get a PhD position the student must at the same time be admitted to the PhD study Programme.


Admission is competitive, based on an overall assessment of the applicant’s submitted document. The selection among eligible applicants is made with consideration to their ability to acquire the education according to criteria stated in the general study plan. More specifically, particular emphasis is placed on the Bachelor and Master thesis, as well as on the enclosed declaration of research interest in relation to the project. The assessment particularly considers the applicants’ ability to independently conduct their research

  • Research interests in a) educational outcomes and their determinants; b) international comparative research and international large scale assessments; and c) quantitative research methods
  • Training in quantitative methods and attitude to rigorous empirical analysis
  • Excellent academic record, testified by the transcript of records and, if relevant, by previous research output (e.g. scientific publications)
  • Excellent English writing and communication skills; knowledge of Swedish is not required
  • Ability to work both independently and collaboratively as a team member with a strong personal commitment
  • Mobility rule: Applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity in Sweden for more than 12 months in the 3 years before the recruitment date (August 1, 2018)
  • Early-stage researcher status: Applicants must, at the date of recruitment, be in the first 4 years of their research careers and have not been awarded a doctoral degree
  • Eligibility for the PhD program:
    o   a second-cycle qualification or 240 course credits, of which at least 60 credits are for second-cycle courses; and
    o   90 credits in education, of which at least 30 credits are for second-cycle courses. Lack of course credits in education may be compensated for by equivalent knowledge of educational issues related to the OCCAM research project acquired in some other discipline such as psychology, sociology, economy, or statistics; and
    o   a second-cycle/advanced level thesis


Appointment procedure


Selection among eligible applicants is made with consideration to their ability to complete the PhD program within the prescribed time frame. Special emphasis be placed on the candidates’ results on completed courses at the advanced level, bachelor and second-cycle thesis, as well as the declaration of research interest in relation to any one of the two research projects described under the ‘Job description’- section.


University of Gothenburg supports the compatibility of work and family life and promotes gender mainstreaming in the university community. We strongly encourage persons with disability who have relevant skills and experience to apply for our open positions.


Applications and attached documents should be submitted in English as separate PDF documents and should include:

  • Cover letter
  • OCCAM confirmation on eligibility (see www.etn-occam.eu)
  • CV
  • Documentation of earlier education. Transcript of records issued by your university listing the exams/courses taken at university, grades/marks awarded and (if applicable) the final degree result
  • An electronic version of second-cycle theses and any other academic works that may be of relevance to the application. If a thesis has been written in languages other than English, a short executive summary in English (1-2 pages) needs to be included. The grade of the thesis must be clearly indicated and supported by formal university transcript.
  • Two letters of recommendation, including contact information or letters of reference (e.g., thesis supervisors)
  • A brief outline of potential research studies leading up to the dissertation (2500 words including bibliography, tables, footnotes). The description of these studies should include first ideas of potential research questions to be examined, methods to be applied, and information about current experience with these methods. The proposal needs to address the overarching topic for either the ESR3- or the ESR11-project.
  • Applicants from countries where English is not the official language must document their proficiency in English.


An admissions panel will rank the applications. The highest ranked candidates may be invited for an interview. The Head of the Department makes admission decisions. Please visithttps://medarbetarportalen.gu.se/studieadministration/sah-forskarniva/antagning-till-forskarutbildning/for more detailed information about admission to doctoral studies at the University of Gothenburg.


For further information regarding the positions, please contact

Professor Monica Rosén Monica.Rosen@ped.gu.se 
Professor Jan-Eric Gustafsson Jan-Eric.Gustafsson@ped.gu.se


For further information about the PhD programme in Education at the University of Gothenburg, please contact Anna-Carin Jonsson (anna-carin.jonsson@gu.se ), Director for the PhD Programme in Education Phone: +46 31 786 2323



Union representatives at the University of Gothenburg:http://www.gu.se/english/about_the_university/job-opportunities/union-representatives


How to apply

In order to apply for a position at the University of Gothenburg, you have to register an account in our online recruitment system. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the job advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline. Applications should be uploaded no later than 15 April 2018, please state in the cover letter which of the two positions the application concern, “ESR3” or “ESR11”.


Closing date:  15 April 2018


The University of Gothenburg promotes equal opportunities, equality and diversity.


Salaries for doctoral students are regulated in a local agreement at the University.


Applications will be destroyed or returned (upon request) two years after the decision of employment has become final. Applications from the employed and from those who appeal the decision will not be returned.

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