Job: 4 Doctoral Fellowships on Migration and Justice (Field: Political Philosophy)

University of Leuven, Belgium

The Centre for Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy of KU Leuven's Institute of Philosophy welcomes applicants for 4 fully-funded four-year PhD-fellowships in Political Philosophy (starting not later than 1 December 2019). The research group within which the PhD-fellow will work is RIPPLE (Research in Political Philosophy Leuven).

The project for which the funding is available aims to contribute to the development of a theory of justice for immigrants. In particular, the project examines what, if anything, could justify differentiating rights for citizens and immigrants (non-citizen residents). The idea that immigrants may permissibly be withheld rights accorded to citizens is normatively underexplored within the political philosophy of migration, despite its increasing salience in current political debates. Three categories of differential rights will be investigated from a normative point of view: priority for citizens in terms of (1) political rights (including voting rights and citizenship), (2) socioeconomic rights (including access to welfare) and (3) language rights (including public language recognition). In addition, the impact of such differentiated rights regimes on the questions of admission and of the moral right to immigrate will be investigated.

Successful applicants will each write a PhD-dissertation within this overarching theme of the political philosophy of migration. The project is supervized by Professors Helder De Schutter, Eszter Kollar and Johan Olsthoorn.


  • An MA in Philosophy, Applied Ethics, Political Theory or Legal Theory with academic distinction;
  • The motivation to pursue creative work in political philosophy of societal relevance;
  • An explicit interest in migration and the just treatment of immigrants;
  • The ability to present at conferences and to publish in peer-reviewed journals.
  • The ability to play an active role in the research group, including by attending and co-shaping its weekly seminars, organizing workshops, and generally contributing to the development of political philosophy in Leuven;
  • An excellent command of English; proficiency in, or a willingness to learn Dutch, French and/or German are a plus.

Each fellow will receive a four-year PhD fellowship (subject to a one-year probation period) of approx. 2000 EUR/month (after taxes and depending on past employment track, family size, and other factors). Moreover,each fellow is entitled to all regular provisions for KU Leuven fellowship-based doctoral researchers including extensive social provisions (access to public health care, hospital insurance, holiday allowance (limited to certain nationalities), unemployment benefits rights and pension rights), complimentary bicycle and bicycle maintenance, office space and a laptop.

All fellows are expected to reside in Leuven for the duration of the fellowship and to work from the office. Office presence is required for the collaborative nature of the project. They will also be given funding (and support in securing more funding) for research activities such as attending conferences abroad and organizing workshops and conferences in Leuven. Of the four fellows, one will work on political rights differentiation, one on welfare access differentiation, one on language policy differentiation, and one will address the question of who has the right to enter. It is not necessary to choose between one of these subjects in the application yet.

Enthusiastic and cooperative persons meeting the above-mentioned criteria are kindly invited to apply online according to the instructions given below. Please include 1) a cover letter indicating your interest in the field (normative political philosophy) and the topic (justice in migration); 2) a CV; 3) the names of two referees whom the project's supervisors might approach prior to appointment and after the interview phase; and 4) a sample piece of writing not exceeding 10.000 words (e.g. an MA thesis chapter). The deadline for applications is Monday 2 September at 23.59 Brussels time. Interviews with selected candidates (in person or online) will be hold soon thereafter.

For further information, the project’s supervisors can be contacted at and Members of underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply. The fellowships are open to all nationalities. 

Further information