PhD positions in climate adaptation, Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences

The Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences of the University of Augsburg, Chair for Political Science with a specialization in climate politics (Prof. Dr. Angela Oels),

is offering

2 PhD positions in climate adaptation

(66% of the regular working time, duration of 3 years, fixed-term)

with the possibility of a doctorate in an employment relationship initially limited to three years starting 01.10.2022. A contract renewal for another three years is possible if the relevant requirements are met.

Our team studies the politics of climate change with a focus on adaptation and climate resilience in an interdisciplinary setting. We investigate discourses to identify some of the power relations which are blocking transformative adaptation to the consequences of climate change. One of our aims is to map the cracks in the system, where change has already begun, i.e. marginalized/ subaltern discourses. Moreover, we strive to design and evaluate discursive interventions (stakeholder dialogues, conflict mediation, non-violent communication) which supposedly enable empowerment and transformative change.

The positions are based at the new interdisciplinary Centre for Climate Resilience at Augsburg University. The candidates are expected to engage in interdisciplinary collaboration in teaching and research across faculties.

For your application, please indicate which research field you are interested in:

Research field A) Participation in climate adaptation:

  • Tasks: You work on quality criteria that guide the design and evaluation of participatory processes (online and offline) in the field of climate adaptation, especially for processes where people imagine alternative/ transformative futures in a world with a changing climate (“climate futures”)
  • Requirements: knowledge of radical theories of democracy is an asset; willingness to engage in extended fieldwork on empirical cases of climate futures in Europe (i.e. mini-publics, citizen assemblies, “Klimarat”) is required
  • Relevant publication: Oels, A. (2019) The promise and limits of participation in adaptation governance: Moving beyond participation towards disruption. In: Keskitalo, E.C. H. and Preston, B.L. (eds) Research Handbook on Climate Change Adaptation Policy. Edward Elgar Press. 138-156

Research field B) Decolonial perspective on loss & damage:

  • Tasks: You study the discursive construction of “loss & damage” in the international climate negotiations (UNFCCC), especially the discourses of key players in the Global South. A post/decolonial perspective is encouraged
  • Requirements: a willingness to engage with de/postcolonial theory is required; prior experience with discourse analysis is an asset; willingness to engage in fieldwork at Conferences of the Parties to the UNFCCC/ Paris Agreement and/or in India, Brazil, etc. is required
  • Relevant publication: Methmann, C./Oels, A. (2015) From ‘fearing’ to ‘empowering’ climate refugees: Governing climate-induced migration in the name of resilience. Security Dialogue 46 (1): 51-68

Your responsibilities:

  • Ÿperform qualitative social science research, in particular discourse analysis and governmentality analysis
  • Ÿcontribute to co-authored papers for publication in highly ranked, international, peer-reviewed journals
  • Ÿteach 3 semester hours per week (1-2 classes) each term in the field of introduction to Political Science (“Introduction to Political Science”, “Explorations into research practice”, “Careers for social scientists”)
  • Ÿcontribute to the development of a new interdisciplinary, English-language Master program in “Climate Resilience”
  • Ÿcontribute to grant applications of the Chair to raise external funding
  • Ÿsupport the Chair’s group at the administrative level, including research management and the organization of workshops and conferences
  • Ÿactive collaboration with the colleagues at the Centre for Climate Resilience
  • Ÿnetworking in the field of international climate politics, especially adaptation and loss & damage

What do we offer?

  • the opportunity to define your own PhD research project within the research field
  • a dynamic, interdisciplinary research setting
  • co-supervisors for your PhD in sociology and/or human geography
  • excellent training in an interdisciplinary winter school for PhD students
  • the opportunity to contribute your ideas, surprise us and challenge us
  • Augsburg University is well known for its expertise in discourse analysis
  • research stays of 1-2 months in European partner universities are possible
  • all the benefits of an employment as public servant

Candidate profile:

  • Ÿcompleted Master’s degree in Political Science or International Relations or a related field
  • Ÿexperience with Foucaultian discourse analysis (or related approaches) in the M.A. or B.A. thesis or in course work is an asset
  • Ÿa passion for and excellent knowledge of poststructuralist perspectives in political science along the lines of Foucault, Rancière, Mouffe, Butler, Kulynych (or related) is required
  • Ÿprevious experience with the subject matter of climate change (for example in an internship) is an advantage
  • Ÿexperience in research management is an advantage
  • Ÿexcellent command of the English language is a requirement
  • ŸGerman language skills are an advantage (but not necessary)
  • ŸInternational experience is an asset
  • Ÿa loyal and committed team-player, capable of independent and critical thinking
  • Ÿwillingness to relocate to a place in or near Augsburg

Please attach written evidence of the required qualifications. If your personal and the tariff requirements are fulfilled, salary follows the collective agreement for civil servants on a contractual basis in the public sector according to Entgeltgruppe 13 TV-L.

The University of Augsburg promotes the professional equality of women. Female candidates are explicitly invited to submit their application. The University of Augsburg stands up for compatibility of family and professional life. For more information, please contact the women’s representative office. Severely disabled applicants are given preferential consideration in the event of equal qualification.


Please submit your application in English as a single PDF file (please reduce the file size to less than 3 MB). Your application should include the following parts (in this order):

  • your CV and list of publications/ presentations (if applicable)
  • Ÿa letter of motivation that describes your qualification for/ interest in the position
  • Ÿan abstract/ exposé for your PhD thesis developed on 1-2 pages in one of the two fields of research (A or B)
  • Ÿa writing sample (a publication, course work or your M.A. thesis) in English and one in German (if applicable)
  • Ÿa reference letter by a senior university lecturer/professor (in English or German) who supports your application
  • Ÿrelevant transcript of records, B.A. and M.A. certificates
  • Ÿreferences from former employers, including internships

The applications should be sent to: and Please put “Application for PhD position/ Prof. Oels/ research field A” (or B) in the subject line. The deadline for applications is September 4th 2022.

Specific questions about these positions should be addressed to Prof. Angela Oels  ( Check the website and (in English).