Fully funded PhD Researcher (m/f) – project FINWEBS


Campus Belval , 11, Porte des Sciences, L – 4366 Esch-Sur-Alzette , Luxembourg

The Luxembourg Institute of
Socio-Economic Research (LISER) is recruiting

 a fully funded PhD Researcher (m/f)

  • Ref PhD 17-05
  • Full time, 40 hrs/week
  • Fixed-term contract for up to 4 years
  • Work contract at LISER, department of Urban Development and Mobility
  • Enrolment in the Doctoral Programme of the Department of Geography, Ghent University
  • Co-supervision by Dr Sabine Dörry (LISER) and Professor Ben Derudder (Ghent University)
  • Date of start: June 2017 (or soon thereafter)

LISER invites highly qualified and motivated applicants for a PhD position within the framework of the FINWEBS project, co-funded by the Flemish Fund for Scientific Research (FWO) and the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR).

Closing date for applications: 31 March 2017. Students graduating over the summer 2017 are also encouraged to apply!

Project Description: FINWEBS – The role of agency in interconnecting international financial centres.

The growth of the financial services sector has unmistakeably been one of the key economic trends of the last thirty years. This growing market has unleashed a race among cities for the status of ‘international financial centre’ (IFC), which can be understood as an urban concentration of firms in the financial services sector engaged in cross-border business. The objective of this research project is to better comprehend the dynamic/stability of the system of IFCs through an analysis of several ‘transnational social layers’: networks of financial centres, networks of financial firms and their products, and networks of leading financial professionals. By adding an agency perspective to the presently-dominant ranking interpretations of how IFCs come into being and jockey for position within global financial business flows, the project aims to move our understanding of stability and dynamics among IFCs beyond broad-sweeping narratives of path dependence and crisis. This overall objective is specified through a series of more concrete research questions focusing on how IFCs, financial firms and financial elites inhabiting them (re)define each other through webs of innovation, specialization, and power, respectively. The project adopts a mixed-method approach, which allows capitalizing on both in-depth qualitative and systematic quantitative research. The implications for the future of the financial industry and those cities heavily relying on this industry will be explored.

The project team will consist of the two project supervisors and two staff members, one located in Ghent University’s Department of Geography (post-doc) and one located at LISER’s department of Urban Development and Mobility (the present position). There is a rough division of labour between Ghent University (quantitative research) and LISER (qualitative research), albeit with strong conceptual, empirical, and operational integration to achieve the envisaged mixed-method approach.

Your Profile

We are looking for candidates holding an MA/MSc in economic geography, urban studies, financial sociology, organisational studies, political economy, or a related discipline. Applicants are expected to have the r
equired methodological skills and/or previous qualitative research experience in an urban context. Candidates need to have a strong interest in finance and finance-related issues, and preferably a solid understanding of research into global production networks, field theory and/or world city network approaches. Knowledge of Social Network Analysis techniques is considered an advantage. Candidates need to be fluent in English; fluency in German or Dutch is an additional asset. The project’s comparative case study framework requires frequent travelling to selected financial centres, and candidates will be expected to possess well-developed intercultural and social skills to conduct research in these environments.

We offer

…an exciting multi-disciplinary and international research environment with ample opportunities to exchange with scholars from related disciplines at both LISER and the University of Luxembourg, situated in the same building.

…a highly competitive salary for this full-time PhD position (around 35.000 EUR p.a.).
…the chance to travel to some of the most exciting places that are the centre-stage/s of the global world of finance.

The successful candidate will also enjoy the full benefits of the Doctoral Programme of the Geography department at Ghent University and therefore the opportunity to attain the highest academic degree at a top 100 university.


LISER is a Luxembourgish public research institute under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Higher Education and Research. Its research focus lies in the field of social and economic policy including the spatial dimension and comprises broader themes like social and spatial inequalities, education, social inclusion, employment, health, housing, mobility, and regional convergence/divergence. Research activities at LISER aim to improve the understanding of causal relationships and to provide sound evidence for impacts of institutional settings and policy options on outcomes. LISER employs around 130 people, of whom 65 are researchers and PhD candidates. The research team is highly interdisciplinary and includes demographers, economists, geographers, legal experts, political scientists, psychologists, social scientists, and statisticians. The Institute is located on the new Belval campus in the south of Luxembourg that also hosts the University of Luxembourg and a substantial part of the country’s publicly funded research facilities. Working languages at the institute are French and English.

About Ghent University

Ghent University is a top 100 university and one of the major Belgian universities counting over 41,000 students and 9,000 employees. Located in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium and the cultural and economical heart of Europe, Ghent University is an active partner in national and international educational, scientific and industrial cooperation. With a view to cooperation in research and scientific service, numerous renowned research groups, centres and institutes have been founded over the years. The university distinguishes itself as a socially committed and pluralistic university in a broad international perspective. This project will be situated within Ghent University’s Department of Geography, whose research groups currently employs nearly 100 researchers across a broad range of sub-disciplines. The university/department have all necessary infrastructures and programmes to facilitate high-quality research.

Application process

Please provide the following information before 1 April 2017:

  • a letter of application outlining your thematic interest, motivation and profile;
  • a CV;
  • copies of relevant degree diplomas, especially Master degree;
  • two letters of recommendation;
  • a relevant written document (e.g. a working paper, a chapter from your MA/MSc thesis, a seminar paper).

Please apply here https://jobs.liser.lu/jobs

Closing date for applications: 31 March 2017

For project related information, please contact Professor Ben Derudder (Ben.Derudder@UGent.be) or Dr Sabine Dörry (sabine.doerry@liser.lu) (no applications).


Posted in PhD.