PhD in Food Security and Increased Market Regulation in the Global South


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The University of Copenhagen hereby announces two fully funded PhD positions (3 years) to commence in April 2021.


The two positions are part of a broader overall research project aimed at contributing new insights on how the introduction of regulation aimed at creating well-functioning markets affects the poorest groups in the Global South.

The overall research project
The World Bank, IMF, USAID and the EU have actively promoted reforms in the Global South to achieve well-functioning markets through dismantling domestic barriers to trade, aligning product requirements and introducing competition laws. The success of these reforms is normally measured by increases in trade volume and GDP. However, this way of measuring the benefits of new regulation provides an incomplete picture. For example, it overlooks that some groups of society may stand outside the domestic market economy, meaning that they are minimally affected by the market economic regulation altogether. To assess how and to what extent the ‘market economic regulations’ have affected the livelihood of the poorest groups in developing countries, using Tanzania as case country, the project seeks to answer the following research question:

How does the introduction of market economic regulation in developing countries affect the food security of the poorest groups?

Following a successful application to the Danish Research Council, we have funding for 2 positions as either postdoc (two-year) or Ph.D. (three-year). Both positions imply full-time employment on conditions similar to being in full-time employment for the Danish State.

Formal setting
The research project is headed by Professors Henrik Hansen (Co-PI, Department of Economics, Faculty of Social Sciences) and Morten Broberg (PI, Faculty of Law). Formally, the two positions will be based within the Faculty of Law, but there is no requirement that the candidates for the two positions have a background in law.


The two (postdoc/PhD) researchers will carry out fieldwork in the same locations to uncover empirically how formal and informal regulatory measures affect food security in practice.

Research position on law, economics and development (focusing on the actual impact of the market economic regulatory measures)
Regulating markets is not just a matter of adopting legal measures and implementing economic policy. Markets are the meeting place of diverse actors, objects and ideas across multiple settings. Markets are therefore also a socially and culturally defined activity, where practical conditions, e.g. economy, culture, climate, infrastructure and governance capacities, influence both how regulation is implemented and its effects.

Using a mixed methods research approach, the researcher in law, economics and development is expected to provide narrative accounts of the actual impact of the market economic regulatory measures through semi-structured interviews with key informants. Subsequently, the insights from this investigation must be combined with a socio-economic survey in the urban and rural field sites to develop statistical measures of the distribution of populations vulnerable to food insecurity, and establish factors influencing market behaviour to increase our understanding of the extent to which insights gained from the interviews are generalizable in and across regions.

Research position on law, sociology and development (focusing on the factual legal situation)
‘Market economic regulation’ may leave a deceptive impression of clarity. In reality, it is an ambiguous notion. There are numerous ways of drafting such regulation, disseminating it to authorities and the broader public, construing the provisions, and of enforcing them. We therefore need to clarify the history of the applicable market economic regulation; to map how they have been communicated to different stakeholders – including public authorities and citizens; to clarify how they are interpreted in different contexts and in this respect to compare this interpretation with the drafters’ stated intentions; and we must clarify how they are enforced. These examinations must take into account both temporal and spatial dimensions: market economic regulation may play a different role during a drought (time), and in urban and rural settings (space). For this reason, the researcher in law, sociology and development shall carry out interviews both in the centre of power (e.g. with representatives in Parliament, Competition Authority, Supreme Court), and field visits along the supply chains of the two staple crops, maize and cassava, from production to the end-users (rural and urban settings).


The researcher in law, sociology and development will be responsible for carrying out fieldwork to establish the factual legal situation and, on this basis, to determine to what extent the market economic regulation is capable of affecting food security for the poorest groups. By using ‘food security’ as measuring rod the researcher in sociology and development will be able to identify patterns that trade volume and GDP are not capable of measuring.

We welcome applications for the position from candidates in different fields of the social sciences – including also candidates who will be able to apply a game theoretical approach to the research questions (see for example Kaushik Basu’s work ‘The Republic of Beliefs’).

The PhD Programme
The PhD will be part of the wider PhD Programme offered by the Faculty of Law. The goal of the PhD Programme is threefold: to prepare candidates for a continuing career in teaching and research; to educate a new generation of scholars to produce high-quality independent research; and to equip them with the analytical and problem-solving skills required for a successful career in both the public and private sectors.   

The Faculty of Law offers supervision by highly qualified academics and provides an excellent opportunity to research contemporary legal issues in an intellectually stimulating environment. 
 

Successful PhD candidates are required to:  

  • Actively engage in the research environment at the University of Copenhagen; participate in international conferences, courses and meetings relevant to their research project; 
  • Comply with the formal requirements of the PhD programme;
  • Contribute to teaching undergraduate and graduate level courses in Danish or English offered by the Faculty of Law 
  • Conduct independent and high quality research under the supervision of a senior member of academic staff at the Faculty.

Qualifications
Applicants must have obtained a degree that corresponds to the Danish Master of Laws or equivalent qualifications. Please visit studyindenmark.dk for more information. Applicants must have obtained a minimum overall grade average of 8.2 or above at the Master’s level in accordance with the Danish grading scale (for Danish scale, see here ).


  • Applicants may submit their application before they have completed their Master’s Degree. In that case, they must have submitted their final thesis before the deadline.
  • Applicants must document an aptitude for research through the meritorious assessment of their final thesis, publications or academic recommendations in order to show that they are capable of undertaking the demanding task of writing a PhD thesis.
  • Applicants must have excellent language skills in English and have excellent communications skills. Applicants must be able to teach at an academic level in Danish or English and to follow PhD courses in English.

Terms of employment
Successful candidates will be employed in accordance with the agreement between the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations and the Ministry of Finance concerning the salary of PhD students. If you are offered a PhD position, you will receive a regular monthly salary in accordance with Danish law and you will be entitled to an annual research budget. The Faculty does not provide accommodation.


Application procedure

Click ’Apply now’ below to be taken to the online application form.  

We advise you to have the following documents ready before you begin your online application:  

  • Research project proposal: This should include the following: (1) objective(s) of the research, (2) major research questions, (3) review of relevant literature, (4) methodology to be applied in the research, and (5) a timetable that plans for all course requirements to have been met within three years. The project description must elaborate on the value of the proposed research project in terms of its relevance to existing and future research in the field. The project proposal must not exceed 6 standard pages, corresponding to approx. 12,000 characters (including curriculum, title, punctuation, figures, footnotes and references, but excluding bibliography) A substantial breach of this will result in the application being excluded from consideration.
  • Curriculum vitae (maximum 2 pages).
  • Diplomas and transcripts: Certified copies of original diploma(s) and transcripts (both Bachelor’s and Master’s degree) in the original language and an authorized English translation if they are issued in other language than English or Danish.
  • Grading scale: A certified explanation of grading scale in the original language and an authorized English translation if it is available in another language than English or Danish.
  • Letter of motivation: Explain the choice of the Faculty of Law at the University of Copenhagen as a host institution for the proposed project and outline how the project fits within the research priorities at the Faculty (maximum 1 page).
  • Documentation of English level: Documentation of English level can for instance be documented by an excellent IELTS or TOEFL test.

Submit your application electronically in English.

University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding society and therefore encourages all interested parties regardless of personal background to apply for the position.

Recruitment process  

Following the application deadline, the Associate Dean of Research will pre-select PhD applications that will proceed to the assessment stage upon the recommendation of the Selection Committee. Applicants are pre-selected for further assessment in line with the Faculty’s recruitment needs as described in this job advertisement. This is carried out based on the overall assessment of the applicant’s educational qualifications, the quality of the submitted research proposal and its relevance to the Faculty’s research agenda, and other relevant qualifications (e.g. relevant professional experience, any previous academic publications etc.). All applicants are then notified by the HR Centre as to whether their application has proceeded to the assessment stage. The assessment is carried out by an expert assessment committee. Selected applicants will be notified of the composition of the assessment committee. When the committee has completed its assessment, each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the assessment. A number of qualified applicants will be invited for an interview. University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding society and therefore encourages all interested parties regardless of personal background to apply for the position.

Information about the application procedure is available from HR South and City, e-mail: hrsc@hrsc.ku.dk, please refer to ID number 211-0623/20-2H.


Further information
Contact Professor Henrik Hansen (Henrik.hansen@econ.ku.dk, +45 35324405) or Professor Morten Broberg (morten.broberg@jur.ku.dk, +45 35323196.


Application deadline

The application must be uploaded by 1 February 2021. 23:59 CET.

Applications received after the deadline has expired will not be accepted.

If your application does not include all the required supporting documents your application can be rejected and not be considered by the assessment committee.

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