The UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies is seeking to appoint two high-calibre Early Stage Researchers (ESR), starting in January 2021 for a 3 year contract period to join (MARKETS) – Mapping Uncertainties, Challenges and Future Opportunities of Emerging Markets: Informal Barriers, Business Environments and Future Trends in Eastern Europe, The Caucasus and Central Asia.
Coordinated by Dublin City University, MARKETS is a business and policy oriented PhD training equipping 15 fellows with theoretical knowledge, analytical skills and complementary training to understand and deal with practical and business problems in the region. Our goal is to compare countries that had fully opened to foreign investors by the early 2000s – Estonia, Latvia (now EU members), Georgia (considered by many as an example of best practice in reforms), and Kyrgyzstan (where markets are stable but no major economic leap is expected in the next immediate future) – with what have been identified as significant prospective post-USSR markets for the next ten years – Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan (all of which have shown a more concrete desire for economic dialogue in the past three years), Russia (its eastern region and, in particular, Siberia, which has remained largely unexplored by EU companies), and Azerbaijan, a country that has finally started interacting in more concrete terms with the EU.
Starting from an individual research and training path, that will be tailored to each PhD student career aspirations, MARKETS researchers will engage in a collective team-exercise to:
1) construct a map of business environments in the region. To do this, we will measure and assess currently available information against informal business practices, business cultures and foreign investment sentiments (with regard to relationships with the authorities, other businesses, formal/informal lobby groups and society) of companies operating in each target country
2) create, develop and work to improve the sustainability of training programmes for future analysts to equip them with a deep practical understanding of the region, embedded in the newest theoretical and methodological approaches
Our goal is to translate scientific results into valuable strategic intelligence, guidelines and recommendations that can mitigate the difficulties European entrepreneurs often face when trying to enter and succeed in the region.
There are two Projects of which all will be enrolled on the PhD programme at the UCL School of Slavonic & East European Studies. Please state which project you wish to apply for i.e. Project 1 or Project 2.
Project 1 – ESR3: Measuring functional ambivalence of informal practices: supportive vs subversive roles in integration in post-USSR spaces.
Project Focus – Explore how to reframe the problem of endemic corruption as a collective action problem and provide insights on how anti-corruption may be more effectively pursued under such circumstances; advance debates on corruption.
Project 2 – ESR13: Informal governance: where informality stops and corruption begins.
Project Focus – Emphasize the role that informality plays in governance, utilising a bottom-up perspective; collect new data; contribute to understanding of corruption and how to deal with it by going beyond current debates.
Key Requirements
Each selected candidate will be enrolled in a PhD programme, be seconded to the target region for data collection. They will subsequently be seconded to a non-academic partner to gain hands-on work experience on how research skills can be used beyond academia for the benefit of the governmental, private or international development sector.
The training is intensive and demanding but it is also what we call a “career accelerator”. Each fellow will be offered first-class working conditions, salary, mobility allowance, family allowance and networking opportunities with more than 20 organizations worldwide.
You cannot have had your main activity/residence for more than 12 months at the time of the application and you must have a degree allowing to enrol in doctoral students in the UK according to national rules.
Submit your application to be considered by each project. Applications must contain your 1) CV; 2) application letter; 3) short (500-1000 words) summary of your doctoral project).
For queries relating to the post, please contact Professor Alena Ledeneva –
For queries relating to the application process, please contact Shevanese Anderson –
Application deadline: 16 July 2020

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