Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

1 PhD position on social sciences available for the Marie Skłodowska Curie European Innovative Training Network - INEXTVIR

This job offer has expired

    National Institute of Biology
    Political sciencesPublic awareness of science
    Political sciencesScience and society
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    30/09/2019 17:00 - Europe/Brussels
    United Kingdom › Newcastle Upon Tyne
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

INEXTVIR – Innovative Network for Next Generation Training and Sequencing of Virome - is funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme (https://ec.europa.eu/research/mariecurieactions/) and offers 15, fully funded PhD positions with an attractive stipend, complementary training activities and generous travel and research budgets. The successful candidates will be hosted by a member of a European Consortium of universities, research institutions and companies in Belgium, France, Spain, Slovenia and the UK. Successful candidates will have natural or social-science based research interests and will participate in a transdisciplinary network of research and training aimed at accelerating the start of the applicants’ scientific career.

The project provides a timely opportunity to change our approach to plant health and improve our ability to overcome global agricultural, food security and environmental challenges.

We are re-advertising one social science position which will contribute to the overall consortium. 

The main objective of this position is:

  • To assess the agronomic and socio-economic impact of the virome and translate it into practical decision tools for different stakeholders including policy makers, plant health bodies, diagnostics industry, agricultural sector and society.

INEXTVIR will offer early stage researchers (ESR) world class technical training in their host institute, through research secondments and short-term scientific visits. ESRs will have a unique opportunity to obtain complementary skills in effective dissemination and communication, quality management, intellectual property management, technology transfer and commercial exploitation of research results, managing research projects, entrepreneurship and company start up, organization of R&D and product development in industry, formulation of effective research bids and development of impact from research, all delivered through a bespoke series of workshops and schools.

We are looking for an Early Stage Researcher (ESR), with a background on social sciences (e.g. Psychology, economics, communication sciences, geography, and decision-sciences). Successful candidates will have a strong interest in one of the following fields: socioeconomics, policy and regulation.

The position is offered for 3 years for the following individual research project. All hired researchers must enrol in Doctoral Programmes, undertake mobility in order to implement their individual research project, as well as to participate in complementary training activities.

Brief description of individual research project: The objectives are: 1) To assess the potential impacts of improved knowledge on virome in agriculture and based on this define what stakeholders/ markets are vulnerable, and to identify what policy options are available to mitigate identified risks and optimise the impacts of any associated benefits associated; 2) To define how decision-makers interpret and prioritise the potential impacts in terms of vulnerabilities/ opportunities when making decisions; 3) To establish a typology of risks and benefits, and risk/benefit perceptions. 4) The results will include the identification of risks and benefits (linked to emerging risks and benefits of the virome in agriculture) and societal concerns and priorities for policy response. It will also deliver a flexible decision tool-kit that can incorporate a range of criteria and weighting/scoring from different stakeholders, including scientists/experts, policy makers, industry, and other stakeholders.

Relevance for the ESR career development: The ESR will gain experience across a wide range of policy and industry relevant disciplines, including: Systematic review methodology to develop predictive models of acceptability which incorporate risk/benefit perceptions, Decision-making sciences, Design of expert elicitation studies; Methodologies to translate evidence into policy responses and practical decisions.

Tentative Secondments and short visits: 1) EPPO (non-academic) 3 months (not necessarily concurrent) to get insight into the practical aspects of making decisions on plant health within uncertain environments and data collection in France; 2) NIB and UPM (academic) 3 weeks to collect data on local decision making and interaction within regulatory frameworks in Slovenia and Spain.

Supervisory team:

  • Dr. Glyn Jones, (Glyn.Jones@newcastle.ac.uk), Newcastle University. He is an experienced environmental economist who has worked on a range of environmental projects including the mid-term evaluation of the Rural Development Programme, projects on greenhouse gas mitigation methods in relation to the agriculture industry, and a number of projects on the assessment and uptake of technologies in agricultural and environmental settings.
  • Professor Lynn Frewer, Newcastle University. She is professor of food and society at Newcastle University in the UK. She has extensive experience of PhD supervision, including projects which bridge the social and natural sciences, and has published extensively in the area of society, policy and decision making linked to the agrifood sector, and has published extensively in this area.
  • Dr Sophie Tindale, Newcastle University. Researcher with active interests in society and agricultural policy, for example in relation to natural capital and ecosystem services.

Educational requirements: A first degree in a relevant discipline, including, for example, psychology, economics, decision-sciences, geography, policy studies, sociology.

Other specific requirements: None in addition to those specified regarding mobility.


Remuneration is according to MSCA ITN rules. Salary per month depends on the host country correction coefficient following the EC rules (Table 2 of the MSCA Work Programme 2018-2020, http://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/data/ref/h2020/wp/2018-2020/main/h2020-wp1820-msca_en.pdf, page 82). Net salary results from deducting all compulsory (employer / employee) social security contributions as well as direct taxes (e.g. income tax) from the gross amounts.

In addition to the stipend, mobility allowance (600€ per month) will be paid as part of the salary or as other benefits depending on the organization. Family allowance*(500€ per month) will be paid as part of salary where the researcher has a family by the time of recruitment.

PhD tuition fees will be covered by the host organisation.

Eligibility criteria

The Marie Curie funding is available for researchers that move, both within Europe and globally. The following criteria apply:

  • Nationals from any country may apply.
  • Mobility: at the time of the recruitment, the researcher must not have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc.), in the country of the chosen host institution (recruiting beneficiary) for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the date of the recruitment.
  • Research category of Early Stage Researcher (ESR): researchers who, at the time of the recruitment, have not yet been awarded a doctorate degree and are in the first 4 years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers, including the research training period that would entitle them to a doctorate.

Selection process


  • Educational background relevant for the chosen position (individual research project)
  • High proficiency in spoken and written English
  • Networking and communication skills (to be evaluated in the interview).
  • Previous research experience, relevant to the chosen position is desirable.


Pre-selection: will be based on CV, experience, skills, motivation letter, and recommendation letters.

Interviews: Short-listed candidates will be interviewed.

Start of contract: November 2019



Applicants should send full application consisting of:

  • Curriculum Vitae (Europass format recommended; Please specify your residence/work place in the last 3 years).
  • University transcripts (grades)
  • A motivation letter addressing his/her research interests in relationship to the selected individual research project.
  • At least two recommendation letters

To be emailed to the corresponding project supervisor (Glyn.Jones@newcastle.ac.uk) and in copy to Antonia.LorenzoLopez@nib.si indicating ref. “INEXTVIR call for ESRs” in the subject of the email. The deadline to submit the required documentation is 30th September 2019.

Additional comments

All hired researchers are obliged to submit two questionnaires: 1) Evaluation questionnaire, at the end of the fellowship, and 2) Follow-up questionnaire, 2 years after the fellowship (https://ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/Evaluation_for_MSC_fellows).

The hosting institutions will follow gender equal opportunities/policies during the recruitment process.

Further information relevant links:


https://ec.europa.eu/research/mariecurieactions/resources/document-libraries/information-note-fellows-innovative-training-networks-itn_en (version 2)


The INEXTVIR consortium will process data collected from the applicants for recruitment purposes only, and their rights in relation to the processing of personal will be preserved according to principles of the GDPR EC current regulations. No CVs, neither cover letters, or other data will be shared outside the network or for other purposes than those described in the selection process below, unless upon authorisation from the interested applicant. The data will be kept for a period of five years after the end of the project for the purpose of an audit by the EU.

Offer Requirements

    ENGLISH: Excellent


  • Educational background relevant for the chosen position (individual research project)
  • High proficiency in spoken and written English
  • Networking and communication skills (to be evaluated in the interview).
  • Previous research experience, relevant to the chosen position is desirable.

Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
University of Newcastle Upon Tyne (UNEW)
United Kingdom
Newcastle Upon Tyne

EURAXESS offer ID: 417987


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