Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship, Global Observatory on Academic Freedom

Application deadline: 
Open until filled
Starting date : 
January 1, 2021

Application deadline: 30 November 2020 (open until filled)

Starting date: January 2021


Central European University invites applications for a one-year Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at the Global Observatory on Academic Freedom (GOAF). GOAF will be hosted by CEU’s Yehuda Elkana Center for Higher Education (YECHE) and is a new initiative associated with the recently established Open Society University Network (OSUN), of which CEU is a co-founder and core member. GOAF’s main ambition is to contribute to the development of a more refined understanding of the concept of academic freedom, one that is better adapted to our times and challenges. It will undertake to systematically study and promote best practices, document and publicize particular occasional and systematic infringements of academic freedom, as well as analyse trends. The distinct approach of GOAF lies in its engagement with academic communities around the world in both formulating the concept and practice of academic freedom that transcend yet have utility in diverse institutional, national or political contexts, and in developing resources and priorities for safeguard and promotion of academic freedom as a cornerstone of advancement of knowledge and responsible public engagement of universities.

Duties and responsibilities:

The Postdoctoral Research Fellow will work with relevant colleagues at CEU, in the OSUN network and with external experts and organizations on conceptual and practical planning of the launch of the Global Observatory on Academic Freedom and its initial research and engagement program during 2021.

Specific tasks will include:

-       designing and implementing a systematic process of collecting, cataloguing and review of scholarly and other publications addressing the foundational principles and current debates on the concept of academic freedom;

-        establishing the framework of reference for identifying and documenting significant developments and trends of policy and practice of academic freedom around the world, developing a pilot annual report and a set of case studies based on this methodology;

-       mapping the field, identifying and engaging with a representative range of scholars, experts, policy actors, research centers, grassroots organizations and international networks with focus on developing distinct and complementary approaches and collaborations;

-       drafting a proposal for establishing a representative advisory committee composed of leading experts and practitioners in the field;  

-       designing and organizing events (an annual roundtable and workshops) on the subject to serve as a forum for debate and formulation of the concept and practices of academic freedom, its promotion and defense adapted to the current trends and challenges;

-       contributing to the development of publicity and engagement tools, including a website;

-       completing research and survey of academic and research institutions and other relevant organizations that could have interest, capacity and bring specific added value to hosting the Global Observatory on Academic Freedom beyond 2021 and presenting a detailed proposal evaluating the benefits and practicalities of such institutional transition.  

Qualifications and skills:

The successful candidate will have a PhD in social sciences, law or humanities, a record of research, writing and/or policy and public engagement on academic freedom and related subjects, as well as a strong academic and personal commitment to the principles and practice of intellectual autonomy and academic freedom and advancing these values in academia and society at large. The Fellow is expected to have fluency in English and an ability to engage in an academic discussion in at least one more language. Excellent communication, planning and leadership skills, initiative, creativity and flexibility, efficient time management and ability to work with minimal supervision will be key to building successful partnerships and program portfolio. Prior experience in advocacy and public engagement is an asset.


We offer a competitive compensation package commensurate with experience, as well as a dynamic and international academic environment.


OSUN is a global university network, anchored by Central European University and Bard College, that integrates learning and the advancement of knowledge across geographic and demographic boundaries, promotes civic engagement to foster open societies, and expansion of access to higher education for underserved communities.

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How to apply

To apply for the Fellowship, please submit:

-        a CV with a list of publications

-        a motivation letter highlighting your relevant experience and ambitions and explaining interest in the program

-        a recent English language paper or manuscript that best represents your relevant research.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for a personal interview and requested to name two scholars who could supply recommendation letters.

Informal inquiries can be addressed to: Matyas Szabo, Senior Program Manager at YECHE, at

Interested candidates should send their complete application package to: - including job code in subject line: 2020/095 .

About CEU

Central European University (CEU) is a research-intensive university specializing in the social sciences, humanities, law, public policy and management. It is accredited in the United States, Austria and Hungary. CEU's mission is to promote academic excellence, state-of-the-art research, research-based teaching and learning and civic engagement, in order to contribute to the development of open societies. CEU offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs and enrolls more than 1,400 students from over 100 countries. The teaching staff consists of resident faculty from over 50 countries and prominent visiting scholars from around the world. The language of instruction is English.

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CEU is an equal opportunity employer.

The privacy of your personal information is very important to us. We collect, use, and store your personal information in accordance with the requirements of the applicable data privacy rules, including specifically the General Data Protection Regulation. To learn more about how we manage your personal data during the recruitment process, please see our Privacy Notice at: (Hungary: Közép-európai Egyetem, Central European University) or (Austria: Central European University, CEU Central European University Private University).