The University of Copenhagen is offering PhD positions in Food Security and Increased Market Regulation in the Global South (FAIM) in the 2021/22 academic session. The two positions are part of a broader overall research project aimed at contributing new insights on how the introduction of regulation aimed at creating well-functioning markets affects the poorest groups in the Global South.

Project details

The two (postdoc/PhD) researchers will carry out fieldwork in the same locations to uncover empirically how formal and informal regulatory measures affect food security in practice.

Research position on law, economics and development (focusing on the actual impact of the market economic regulatory measures)

Regulating markets is not just a matter of adopting legal measures and implementing economic policy. Markets are the meeting place of diverse actors, objects and ideas across multiple settings. Markets are therefore also a socially and culturally defined activity, where practical conditions, e.g. economy, culture, climate, infrastructure and governance capacities, influence both how regulation is implemented and its effects.

Using a mixed methods research approach, the researcher in law, economics and development is expected to provide narrative accounts of the actual impact of the market economic regulatory measures through semi-structured interviews with key informants. Subsequently, the insights from this investigation must be combined with a socio-economic survey in the urban and rural field sites to develop statistical measures of the distribution of populations vulnerable to food insecurity, and establish factors influencing market behaviour to increase our understanding of the extent to which insights gained from the interviews are generalizable in and across regions.

Research position on law, sociology and development (focusing on the factual legal situation)

‘Market economic regulation’ may leave a deceptive impression of clarity. In reality, it is an ambiguous notion. There are numerous ways of drafting such regulation, disseminating it to authorities and the broader public, construing the provisions, and of enforcing them. We therefore need to clarify the history of the applicable market economic regulation; to map how they have been communicated to different stakeholders – including public authorities and citizens; to clarify how they are interpreted in different contexts and in this respect to compare this interpretation with the drafters’ stated intentions; and we must clarify how they are enforced. These examinations must take into account both temporal and spatial dimensions: market economic regulation may play a different role during a drought (time), and in urban and rural settings (space). For this reason, the researcher in law, sociology and development shall carry out interviews both in the centre of power (e.g. with representatives in Parliament, Competition Authority, Supreme Court), and field visits along the supply chains of the two staple crops, maize and cassava, from production to the end-users (rural and urban settings).

The researcher in law, sociology and development will be responsible for carrying out fieldwork to establish the factual legal situation and, on this basis, to determine to what extent the market economic regulation is capable of affecting food security for the poorest groups. By using ‘food security’ as measuring rod the researcher in sociology and development will be able to identify patterns that trade volume and GDP are not capable of measuring.

Worth of Award

  • PhD students are paid a salary in accordance with the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC).
  • The salary range starts at DKK  27.593,77 per month + a 17,1 % contribution to the pension scheme.


  • Applicants must have obtained a degree that corresponds to the Danish Master of Laws or equivalent qualifications.
  •  Applicants must have obtained a minimum overall grade average of 8.2 or above at the Master’s level in accordance with the Danish grading scale.
  • Applicants may submit their application before they have completed their Master’s Degree. In that case, they must have submitted their final thesis before the deadline.
  • Applicants must document an aptitude for research through the meritorious assessment of their final thesis, publications or academic recommendations in order to show that they are capable of undertaking the demanding task of writing a PhD thesis.
  • Applicants must have excellent language skills in English and have excellent communications skills.
  • Applicants must be able to teach at an academic level in Danish or English and to follow PhD courses in English.

How to Apply

They advise you to have the following documents ready before you begin your online application:

  • Research project proposal: This should include the following: (1) objective(s) of the research, (2) major research questions, (3) review of relevant literature, (4) methodology to be applied in the research, and (5) a timetable that plans for all course requirements to have been met within three years. The project description must elaborate on the value of the proposed research project in terms of its relevance to existing and future research in the field. The project proposal must not exceed 6 standard pages, corresponding to approx. 12,000 characters (including curriculum, title, punctuation, figures, footnotes and references, but excluding bibliography) A substantial breach of this will result in the application being excluded from consideration.
  • Curriculum vitae (maximum 2 pages).
  • Diplomas and transcripts: Certified copies of original diploma(s) and transcripts (both Bachelor’s and Master’s degree) in the original language and an authorized English translation if they are issued in other language than English or Danish.
  • Grading scale: A certified explanation of grading scale in the original language and an authorized English translation if it is available in another language than English or Danish.
  • Letter of motivation: Explain the choice of the Faculty of Law at the University of Copenhagen as a host institution for the proposed project and outline how the project fits within the research priorities at the Faculty (maximum 1 page).
  • Documentation of English level: Documentation of English level can for instance be documented by an excellent IELTS or TOEFL test.

Submit your application electronically in English.

Deadline: The deadline for applications is February 1, 2021, 23:59 GMT+1. 

Click here for more details and to apply