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Post-truth and Political Parties 1 full-time doctoral position/grant (3 years) in political science

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) The Human Resources Strategy for Researchers

Job Information

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)
Philosophy and Social Sciences Department
Research Field
Political sciences
Researcher Profile
First Stage Researcher (R1)
Application Deadline
Type of Contract
Job Status
Hours Per Week
Offer Starting Date
Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?
Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?

Offer Description

This is a call for applications for one full-time doctoral positionin the framework of an Incentive Grant (MIS- FNRS)at Université libre de Bruxelles. The project is led by Nathalie Brack (Centre d’étude de la vie politique, Cevipol).

The selected candidate will start on 1st of September 2023 (or as soon as possible after that) and be funded by a FNRS (Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique) doctoral grant for 36 months.

Objectives of the project:

Since the mid-2010s, concern over misinformation has been growing. Brexit and the 2016 US presidential election have highlighted the potential impact of manipulative messages on political decisions. These events are key milestones signalling the beginning of a new era, one of post-truth. It is characterized by a systemic shift towards a political culture in which accuracy and factual veracity in public debates are less important than other concerns and the line between facts and opinions is increasingly blurred. This presents contemporary democracies with a major challenge. Democracy is not only a set of formal rights, procedures, and institutions; it also requires enlightened understanding. But if facts are downgraded as mere opinions and political actors cannot agree on whether a fact is a fact, how can the democratic process unfold?

This project aims at understanding post-truth politics and its implications for democratic societies by looking at one central actor: political parties, which play a vital role as opinion shapers. Therefore, this project seeks to determine to what extent, and why political parties in Europe contribute to post-truth politics. It will focus on one facet of this phenomenon: conspiracy narratives.

It is structured around 3 steps: first, it will examine how often parties use conspiracy narratives and the type of discourse. Then the second step seeks to understand why there is a variation among parties, with a hypothesis regarding the degree of populism and one on the relation between extremism and the use of conspiracy discourse. The last one focuses on the interactions between parties and citizens to understand the consequences for democracy.

The project will rely on a comparative analysis across 4 countries and will use mixed method

(Twitter data, quantitative analysis, citizens surveys and interviews with political elites).

Within this framework, the PhD candidate has some leeway to propose original doctoral research ideas which can contribute to achieve the objectives described above.



Research Field
Political sciences
Education Level
Master Degree or equivalent


Candidates are expected to:

  • Hold a Master’s degree granting access to doctoral programmes (120 credits) in political science
  • Have expertise and/or interest in disinformation and/or political parties or political communication
  • Exhibit a strong academic record
  • Prove their ability to work in an international/multilingual environment
  • Have an excellent command of English
Specific Requirements
  • A good command of one of these languages is a strong asset: Spanish, Italian, Danish, Polish, Romanian
  • Good command of statistical softwares (web scraping skills are an asset)
  • Show their ability to work in a team, to meet deadlines and to combine autonomy with respect of guidelines
Research Field
Political sciences

Additional Information


Working environment and conditions

This multidisciplinary project will be anchored at the ULB (Brussels) where the workspace of the PhD candidates will be located and more particulary, with the Cevipol research center. The Cevipol constitutes a vibrant research environment due to the several ongoing collaborative projects with a large network of other universities, including a H2020 project on EU responses to dissensus on liberal democracy (RedSpinel), an Erasmus Mundus Doctoral Programme (GEM Diamond), as well as other projects in comparative politics on representation (RePresent and Polevpop).

The project foresees dedicated funding for hardware, software, proofreading, event organisation, and travel costs for all members of the project.

The research grant is provided for 3 years for an amount of 2101, 68 € net/month (+ indexation on inflation level).

Selection process

How to apply

The following application documents are to be sent by email to Nathalie Brack ( no later than 30 May 2023.

  • A motivation letter explaining the candidate’s general interest for the project (no longer than 800 words)
  • A curriculum vitae listing all qualifications and relevant experience
  • A brief research proposal for the foreseen doctoral dissertation explaining how it fits with the objectives of the project (no longer than 800 words)
  • Name, affiliation, e-mail and phone number of two referees who can be contacted if necessary
  • A copy of the passport/ID as well master’s degree certificate

A limited number of pre-selected candidates will be invited to an interview which will take place online during the week of June 19 2023. Short-listed candidates will be asked to make a brief presentation outlining their motivation and prospective contribution to the project.

Questions and inquiries about the project or the position may be sent to Nathalie Brack (

Additional comments

Equal opportunity

The Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) is an equal opportunity employer.

Diversité et égalité des chances

La politique de gestion du personnel en matière de diversité et égalité des chances prévoit sur chaque offre d’emploi publiée  par l’ULB une mention indiquant que :

« Nous recrutons les en fonction de leurs compétences, indépendamment de leur âge, leur genre, leur orientation sexuelle, leur origine, leur nationalité, leurs convictions, leur handicap, etc. »

Les candidats porteurs d’une maladie, d’un trouble ou d’un handicap qui souhaitent bénéficier d’aménagements raisonnables dans le cadre de la procédure de sélection ont la possibilité, lorsqu’ils postulent en ligne, de cocher une case qui attire l’attention de l’équipe Recrutement et lui permet d’adapter les processus de sélection.

Si une personne porteuse d’une maladie, d’un trouble ou d’un handicap devait être présélectionnée par l’équipe SSRM pour l’offre que vous avez demandé de publier, la personne chargée des projets Diversité au sein de l’équipe  ( reprendra contact avec vous pour vous donner de plus amples informations sur le profil du candidat en question.

The ULB gender equality Charter which can be consulted here :

Website for additional job details

Work Location(s)

Number of offers available
Centre d’étude de la vie politique, Cevipol
Postal Code
Avenue Jeanne 44

Where to apply



50 Avenue F.D. Roosevelt
Postal Code