This vacancy is now closed.

This PhD project will investigate the role of EU agencies in the management and guarding of EU borders, which is the explicit mandate of FRONTEX, the EU’s Coastal and Border Guard Agency. But, also other agencies such as the EASO, the European Asylum Support Office, Europol, and Eurojust are concerned with border management. One of the challenges within the EU border management is the legal demarcation between competences between the EU and the Member States and the coordination amongst the EU institutions and the national authorities. Member States are not able to provide adequate responses to border control and thus transnational solutions are required. To this end, EU agencies are asked to provide responses based on expertise, knowledge and depoliticisation. This, however, depends on their mandate, resources, social organization, governance and authority, which this PhD project aims to investigate. Equally, this leads to an intricate interplay between national and European authorities. This raises questions in relation to the division of legal competences, tasks and responsibility and the corresponding accountability of EU institutions, EU agencies and national authorities; possibly leading towards a shared or composite administration. 

The researcher will be based at the Faculty of Law of Maastricht University, and undertake a 12-month secondment at the Department of Social Sciences and Business, University of Roskilde, Denmark.

Supervision team:
SupervisorProf. Ellen Vos, Professor of European Union Law, Faculty of Law, Maastricht University  
Co-supervisor: Associate professor Dr. Sevasti Chatzopoulou, MSc & PhD, Department of Social Sciences and Business, University of Roskilde, Denmark
Both supervisors have researched widely the agencification of EU executive governance.
External supervisor: to be determined
Secondment: 12 months at the University of Roskilde.

Any inquiries about the position or the project may be addressed to the supervisor.


Candidates will be judged on the basis of the requirements outlined below. Candidates should make sure that their application letter demonstrates how they meet these requirements:

•    Master degree in European law, European studies and/or social sciences;
•    Strong analytical skills;
•    Outstanding writing skills;
•    Show an obvious interest in academic research;
•    Have the capability of autonomously conducting original research as well as working in a team;
•    Fluency in English; 
•    The PhD candidate must be willing to relocate to Denmark, Roskilde University for one year.

You are invited to apply for a PhD position on "The Role of EU agencies in the management and guarding of borders in the EU" (see above for the description of this PhD project). This PhD project will be carried out within the framework of the project “LIMES – the hardening and softening of borders”. The duration of the research project will be three academic years with an opportunity of seeking an extension for up to one year[1]. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 847596 and is co-financed with Department of Social sciences and Business (Roskilde University).

The PhD candidate will receive extensive training, including regular supervision, training by the Graduate Schools of the relevant faculties, and the Department of Social Sciences and Business at Roskilde University.

[1] In the Netherlands, the nominal duration of a doctorate is four years.

Application (eligibility criteria and application requirements)

The application must be submitted by email and in English, and consists of:

  • The application form containing: personal details (including language proficiencies), the LIMES project targeted, and a research proposal and a work plan which responds to the relevant project description (max. 1.000 words). The research proposal must elaborate on the project description as set forth above. The PhD candidate is expected to apply methods and theories that include EU law and politics and/or public administration. (cf. template).
  • Annex I: A letter of motivation stating the candidate’s qualifications and reasons for interest in the position.
  • Annex II: Curriculum vitae, outlining relevant work experiences and research output (where applicable). Applicants who have taken a break in their career should indicate this in their application (and in their CV), so it can be taken into account during the selection process.
  • Annex III: Ethics self-assessment, based on the standard ethical research principles and the ethical principles of H2020 (cf. template).
  • Annex IV: Copy of Bachelor (BA) and (Research) Master (MA) degree and transcript (including GPA).
  • Annex V: Proof of proficiency in English (for applicants who neither are native speakers of English nor followed an English taught BA or MA); see below for the expected level.
  • Annex VI: One academic paper (course paper; thesis; academic publication). 
  • Annex VII: Contact information of two references (including e-mail; phone number, mailing address, and relationship to the applicant).

Following receipt of an application, the Programme Office (PO) carries out an eligibility check. In addition to the completeness of the application file, the PO also checks compliance with the Marie Skłodowska Curie Action (MSCA) requirements (1), minimum standards of academic performance (2), and language skills (3).

(1) Early-Stage Researchers (ESR) must on 14 June 2020 be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and not yet have been awarded a doctoral degree. 

Full-Time Equivalent Research Experience is measured from the date when a researcher obtained the degree entitling him or her to embark on a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the researcher is recruited, even if a doctorate was never started or envisaged.

Mobility Rule: Researchers may not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the Netherlands for more than 12 months in the three years immediately before 14 June 2020.

Time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention[2], compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account.

(2) LIMES requires that applicants have reached an overall average Grade Point Average (GPA) of the completed Bachelor of at least 3.4 and/or completed their Master study with a GPA of at least 3.5 (MA).[3] 

(3) For applicants who neither are native speakers of English nor followed an English taught BA or MA, the PO accepts certificates from:
· IELTS test: minimum score overall 7.0 and writing minimum score 6.5
· TOEFL test: overall, internet-based minimum score 100 and writing minimum score 25
· TOEFL test: overall, paper-based minimum score 600
· TOEFL test: overall, computer-based minimum score 250
· A Cambridge certificate: C or higher for the CAE (Certificate in Advanced English).

In case of ineligibility, the PO notifies the applicant by e-mail within ten working days after the receipt of the application.

Maastricht University is committed to nurturing an inclusive culture and a welcoming atmosphere. This inclusiveness strategy has resulted in a very diverse representation of nationalities and cultures. We strongly believe that diversity (including, but not limited to ethnicity, gender, age, and (dis)ability) is to our advantage. Creating an inclusive working climate in which students and staff feel a valued member of the UM community is therefore a top strategic priority. UM values diversity within its community and encourages you to apply if you are qualified for this position.

In case of equally qualified applicants for the same position, we favour candidates from underrepresented groups in case of comparable qualification. There will be a check of the final selection results for gender and diversity balance and a possible redress.

The deadline for submitting your application is 14 June 2020.

Please send your application electronically to

Selection process

All applicants will be notified by 22 June at the latest as to whether or not they have been selected for an interview with the LIMES Cluster Committees. The interviews will take place at the end of June/beginning of July 2020. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the interviews will probably take place digitally. Please see the application procedure on the website for more information.

The project on 'The Role of EU agencies in the management and guarding of borders in the EU' will particularly welcome candidates with expertise in both legal and social sciences. 

What we offer

This project concerns a double PhD degree of Maastricht University and the University of Roskilde. 

We offer a dynamic and challenging job in an internationally-oriented organisation where people receive an advanced education and scholars conduct exciting research. You will be part of an international network of top universities and renowned scholars within the field.

We offer a 4-year full-time appointment as PhD candidate in one of the 13 research projects under the umbrella of LIMES.

The first year will be a probation period, after a positive assessment the position will be extended with another 3 years.

Remuneration will be according to standard salary levels for PhD students starting with a salary of € 2.325,- with a yearly growth to € 2.972,- gross a month in year 4 (based on a full-time appointment.) 

Each year the standard salary is supplemented with a holiday allowance of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%. 

You have to be willing to move to (the vicinity of) Maastricht, the Netherlands and for a period of one year to Roskilde, Denmark. You will be eligible for an allowance for moving costs. You may also be eligible for an allowance for alternative housing, offered by Maastricht University. Other secondary conditions include e.g. a pension scheme and partially paid parental leave.

You will be provided with shared office space and a PC. 

Maastricht University’s Terms of Employment are laid down in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Furthermore, local university provisions apply as well. For more information please see the website:

Estimated starting date: September 2020 (if the COVID-19 crisis allows)

Further information is available on the website:

  • Selection process, application form and instructions
  • Host institution, partners involved, employment conditions
  • Set-up of the Programme, staff and contact points
  • Training and secondment programme
  • Information on the ethical and legal standards
  • FAQs

[2] 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol.

[3] GPAs are represented on a 1-4 scale, with 4 being the maximum score. The minimum thresholds are in line with the requirements of the major Dutch PhD funding schemes in the SSH sector (Research Talent / PhD in the Humanities). NUFFIC is referred to for any translations of grades between countries.

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