Funded (UK/EU and international students)

Project code



School of Area Studies, Sociology, History, Politics, and Literature

Start dates

October 2024

Application deadline

19 January 2024

Applications are invited for a fully-funded three year PhD to commence in October 2024. 

The PhD will be based in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. It will be supervised by Professor Wolfram Kaiser, Dr Nandor Revesz, and Dr Nora Siklodi, who are active members of the Transnational Politics and Society research group (TPS) in the Centre for European and International Studies Research (CEISR).

The successful applicant will receive a bursary to cover tuition fees for three years and a stipend in line with the UKRI rate (£18,622 for 2023/24). Bursary recipients will also receive a £2,000 research allowance to cover conference/ training costs and consumables.

Costs for student visas and immigration health surcharges are not covered by this bursary. For further guidance and advice visit our international and EU students ‘Visa FAQs’ page.

Working on this project you will:

  • Employ mixed research methods to gain new insights into ethnic group representation in the European Parliament (EP), identity issues of such minority MEPs and staff, evolving EP policy on internal diversity, and normative questions of inclusivity of politics and policy-making.
  • Acquire enhanced Graduate School training and benefit from the expertise and cutting-edge research of the supervisors and in CEISR/TPS more widely on issues of transnational politics and society and from their wide international networks in the field of EU and Area Studies.    
  • Benefit from the foreseen visiting scholar role in the European Parliament Research Service in Brussels (2 months) to facilitate data collection, and from an integrated research stay at CEVIPOL, Université Libre de Bruxelles (four months).    
  • Have the opportunity to teach on modules in the School of Area Studies, Sociology, History, Politics and Literature (up to 6 hours per week during term time) and attain Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA).

Questions of diversity of democratic institutions are increasingly seen as crucial for their representativeness, legitimacy, and for developing inclusive forms of policy-making. In the European Parliament (EP), non-European Union ethnic minority groups are badly represented at both the political and administrative levels. The EP itself has only recently discovered its lack of diversity, including ethnic minority representation, as a political issue, not least because it has traditionally seen itself as multinational and in this sense, diverse. 

To date very little research exists on ethnic minorities in the EP, most of which is focused on minorities with European kin states, alongside research devoted to the role of religion and religious affiliation of MEPs. More generally, comparative politics research heavily dominates most research on the EP, and this is mainly devoted to understanding power dynamics and policy-making processes.

Against this background, this project will for the first time explore the question of ethnic minority representation in the EP at the level of elected MEPs and their staff, and within its administration. It will address analytical issues of the identity, career paths, and work experiences of such ethnic minority MEPs and staff and of the institution’s evolving policies. It will also raise normative issues about how the greater representation of ethnic minorities could potentially strengthen the EP’s legitimacy in the eyes of citizens and improve the efficacy and inclusivity of its policy-making.

To achieve its objectives, the project will employ a mixed-methods approach including document and narrative analysis for studying the EP’s evolving policies on the issue. It will also use a combination of survey, interviews, and focus groups for exploring issues of identity and work experience of people with an ethnic minority background.

Entry requirements

You'll need a first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. You’ll need English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Applicants need to have a good knowledge of the European Union and the European Parliament. They should ideally have some experience with some of the research methods to be employed in this project such as document analysis and interviews. Knowledge of EU languages other than English (esp. French and German) would be a benefit.

How to apply

We’d encourage you to contact Professor Wolfram Kaiser ( to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency (if required) and an up-to-date CV.  Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process. As this is a pre-defined project, you do not need to submit a research proposal at this stage.

If you want to be considered for this funded PhD opportunity you must quote project code SASS8890124 when applying Please note that email applications are not accepted.