CSS Call for Early Stage Researcher [EU MSCA-ITN-2019]

Center for Social Sciences (CSS) is announcing a vacancy position for Early Stage Researcher (ESR) for a 3-year contract within the project 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 (MSCA-ITN-2019).

Position: Early Stage Researcher (ESR – 1 Fully funded PhD Fellowship)
Location of position: Tbilisi, Georgia
Hours: Full Time
Duration: 36 months
Position start period: January 2021
Deadline for application: September 30, 2020

Project overview:

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.

ESR duties and responsibilities:

ESR will be enrolled at a PhD program at one of CSS’s partner universities and will be assigned to work on the project “Fiscal capacity, quality of governance and informality in the Central Eurasian region”

Project Focus – Conduct a cross-sectoral exploration of the relationship between state budgets for a given sector and the level of informality in that sector; collect new qualitative data and process existing statistics; contribute to existing debates on informality (the applicant can propose one or more countries where data collection will happen). 

Practical details:

The 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”. ESR will be offered first-class working conditions, salary, mobility allowance, family allowance and networking opportunities with more than 20 organizations worldwide.

Financial conditions (including salary levels, which varies country by country) and background documents are available at https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/opportunities/portal/screen/opportunities/topic-details/msca-itn-2020

Mobility requirement:

Applicants can be of any nationality but cannot have been resident (or have had their main activity i.e. work or study) in Georgia for more than 12 of the 36 months prior to recruitment. This means that if you spent less than 12 months in Georgia (including if you have never been to Georgia) you are eligible.


applicants must hold a degree enabling them to enroll into doctoral studies by December 2020 (usually a MA or MSc). They cannot have more than 4 years full time research experience (or hold a doctorate already, even if they worked less than 4 years to complete it) at the time of recruitment.

Application process:

To apply, please submit the following documentation to markets@css.ge by September 30, 2020:

  1. Applicant’s CV including the names and contact details of two referees
  2. Statement of purpose describing an applicant’s motivation
  3. Master’s Degree Diploma or equivalent and diploma transcript (an applicant must be a graduate from an accredited higher educational program)
  4. Short summary of an applicant’s doctoral project (1000-1500 words), including the statement of problem, research aim and objectives, and research methodology

Selected candidates will be interviewed online. Date will be confirmed.  

For queries relating to the post and the application process, please contact Ms. Diana Lezhava – d.lezhava@css.ge

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 861034.