Doctoral position in Theory of Science with a focus on the research basis of coastal fisheries in Sweden

Ref PAR 2022/446

The University of Gothenburg tackles society’s challenges with diverse knowledge. 56 000 students and 6 600 employees make the university a large and inspiring place to work and study. Strong research and attractive study programmes attract scientists and students from around the world. With new knowledge and new perspectives, the University contributes to a better future.

The University of Gothenburg tackles society’s challenges with diverse knowledge. 53 500 students and 6 500 employees make the university a large and inspiring place to work and study. Strong research and attractive study programmes attract scientists and students from around the world. With new knowledge and new perspectives, the University contributes to a better future.

Centre for Sea and Society at the University of Gothenburg announces three doctoral positions within the Graduate School in Transdisciplinary Ocean Sciences

The Graduate School in Transdisciplinary Ocean Sciences is run by the cross-faculty Centre for Sea and Society. The centre aims at initiating and developing transdisciplinary ocean related education and research and hosts a number of projects and collaborating networks. The graduate school is now announcing three doctoral positions within the joint research project “Coastal fisheries in Sweden: from a changing sea to a robust science-policy environment”. The aim of the project is to harness knowledge to determine the cumulative effects of socio-environmental factors hampering the sustainability of coastal fisheries in Sweden. The project will apply inter- and transdisciplinary approaches to and identify whether and how coastal fisheries they can develop into a viable and environmentally responsible industry, and investigate mechanisms by which research findings are summarized for policy purposes. A transformation towards sustainable and resilient coastal fisheries is the focus of this project, in particular for uplifting rural coastal economies, meeting an increasing demand for locally produced seafood without jeopardizing the health of the planet, and understanding the science-policy nexus for natural resources management.

The three doctoral candidates will be hosted by the School of Global Studies, the Department of Earth Sciences and the Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science respectively. Each doctoral candidate will be affiliated to a “home department” (the department of the main supervisor) and be examined in accordance with the rules of that department (school in the case of Global Studies). Doctoral candidates and their supervisors are expected to take part in seminars, workshops and similar activities arranged by the graduate school. Doctoral candidates and supervisors within each joint research project should collaborate to the extent that at least one multidisciplinary (co-authored) manuscript or conference paper is produced.

A description of the project’s doctoral position in Theory of Science, hosted by the Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science, follows.

The Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science (FLoV) at the Faculty of Arts has about 100 staff members and a student body corresponding to about 350 full-time equivalents. It is home to a large number of national and international research projects and offers courses and degree programs for philosophers, logicians, linguists, language technologists, theorists of science, historians of philosophy, philologists and philosophy teachers. The Department also arranges doctoral education and development work in its various academic domains.

General information about being a doctoral student at the University of Gothenburg can be found on the university’s doctoral student pages.

Subject area   

Theory of Science is part of a post-Kuhnian tradition and has a distinct orientation towards empirical study. Research and teaching is primarily focused on epistemological and social aspects of the production and use of scientific knowledge. Differences in epistemological and methodological presuppositions across disciplines and fields of research are accentuated and analyzed, with the humanities and social sciences as well as medical and natural sciences being objects of study. Theories and methods are usually drawn from the field of science and technology studies (STS).

Central questions concern how scientific knowledge is defined in relation to other forms of knowledge; who does research into what and why; how research communities are organized; how scientific controversies are generated and resolved; and classical epistemological questions concerning for example objectivity, rationality, realism and relativism. One important array of questions concerns the significance that expertise, standards, digital technology and various forms of professional practice have for the formation of knowledge in the intersection between academic disciplines, governmental authorities, organizations, social movements and other societal actors.

Job assignments 

The successful candidate’s main responsibilities will be to write a doctoral dissertation in the area mentioned above, and to complete obligatory course work. He or she may also undertake a limited amount of teaching, administration or research not directly connected to her or his dissertation topic. Such duties extend the position accordingly. The candidate is expected to participate in the department’s activities, such as workshops and seminars.

The doctoral student is expected to carry out research on the following project-related theme: Coastal fisheries and research-informed policy-making.

Primary research across the academic spectrum has long been summarized in research reviews, typically authored by experts in the field covered, employing no formal methods. This way of synthesizing research is routinely dismissed as unreliable and unscientific by proponents of meta-analysis and systematic reviews, which are leading formats in the area known as research synthesis. Government agencies and international organizations tasked with synthesizing research findings for policy-making purposes adopt a variety of routines, some highly formalized, some based squarely on non-formalized professional competence. The aim of this PhD project is to investigate the manner in which the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (SwAM) commissions and produces reviews of fisheries research and research on the marine environment. The practices adopted by SwAM should be compared to those of other national agencies, as well as those of large international organizations such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and be related to the debate over the advantages and disadvantages of relying on formalized procedures and professional judgement, respectively, in the synthesis of research findings.

Two general issues to be addressed in this project are important themes in the international field of science and technology studies (STS). One concerns the specific conditions obtaining at the science-policy interface, and how they relate to conditions obtaining and practices adopted within academic disciplines. The second theme concerns our understanding of formalization of procedures vs the role of non-formalized expertise, i.e., how experts in practice deal with protocols, guidelines and other formal tools. Advances in the Swedish subject of Theory of science, as well as in the international field of STS, rely on case studies to a great extent – studies of production and use of scientific knowledge that are empirically grounded while also being theoretically informed. The expected outcome of this PhD project is a case study of that kind.

We are looking for a candidate with a background in theory of science, STS, sociology, anthropology, or some other social science. Knowledge about the science-policy interface, systematic reviewing and/or marine science is an asset, as is experience of applying qualitative research methods. Experience of working as part of a collaborative team and an ambition to engage in multi- and transdisciplinary participatory forms of research and learning are welcome. Fluency in Swedish or another Scandinavian language is an advantage. Very good English language proficiency, both orally and in writing, is a requisite.


To be eligible for the position, the applicant must meet both general and specific entry requirements. The general entry requirements for third-cycle (doctoral) programs are: a second-cycle qualification/degree or at least 240 higher education (HE) credits for courses of which at least 60 HE credits are awarded in the second-cycle; or equivalent training either in Sweden or abroad.

Admission to the third-cycle program in Theory of Science also requires:

  1. 30 higher education credits in Theory of Science as a second-cycle subject, at least 15 of which must be from a degree project or equivalent knowledge, 
  2. the type(s) of Swedish and English skills needed to be able to benefit from compulsory parts of the course and to be able to actively participate in seminars and similar activities.

For further information about the general and specific requirements please refer to study syllabus at the following link:

Assessment criteria   

In selecting between applicants, their ability to benefit from the course or study program shall be taken into account in accordance with Chapter 7 of the Higher Education Ordinance. To facilitate the selection process, the applicant must submit: 

 – Theses, degree projects and any publications. These are assessed based on the following five quality criteria, of which the final two have the heaviest weighting: Suitable subject definition, relevant questioning, suitable command of the subject and structuring of the thesis, suitable use of language, formalities, academic quality and independence.

 – A brief research proposal (max 1,200 words plus reference list) in which the applicant formulates some preliminary ideas of how his/her PhD project might be designed, and discusses theories, methods and materials that may be relevant.


Type of employment: Fixed-term employment

Extent: 100 %

Location: Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science, Gothenburg

First day of employment: By agreement

Apart from his or her own third-cycle education, the successful applicant may also be expected to do service in education, research (unrelated to the thesis) and administration. The employment is for one year. It can be extended with a maximum of two years at a time. The total employment cannot exceed four years third cycle education, full time.

The University applies a local agreement on salaries for doctoral students.   

Selection process   

Selection, interviews and assessment is made by a recruitment group at the department. A list of top-ranked applicants is then presented based on the information provided by the applicants (based on merit, quality of submitted works, quality of research proposal, and availability of qualified supervisors). The top-ranked candidates may be invited to interviews (in Gothenburg or via video link).

Contact information 

For information concerning PhD programs, please contact Johan Söderberg, Head of postgraduate studies,

For information concerning the recruitment process, please contact Jennifer Stråle, HR Administrator,

For information concerning the research project, please contact Ingemar Bohlin, Lecturer in theory of science,

More information about the research project can be found via the following link:


Union representatives at the University of Gothenburg can be found here:   


In order to apply for a position at the University of Gothenburg, you have to register an account in our online recruitment system. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the job advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline. The selection of candidates is made on the basis of the qualifications registered in the application.

Complementary documents, such as publications/books should be sent in two copies to the following address and marked with reference number. University of Gothenburg, Att: HR Administrator, FLoV, Box 200, SE-405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden.

For the application to be considered complete it must include:

1) An introductory letter of 500 words maximum (approx. 1 page). The letter should consist of three paragraphs in the following order: a) a short presentation of yourself, b) a short presentation of your merits and c) a short account of why the Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science is of interest to you.

2) A CV, including a list of publications (if applicable).

3) Master thesis and a maximum of 3 other publications that the candidate want to submit as proof of merit, such as other theses, or research publications.

4) A brief research proposal (max 1,200 words plus reference list) in which the applicant formulates some preliminary ideas of how his/her PhD project might be designed, and discusses theories, methods and materials that may be relevant.

5) Verified copies of academic transcripts and possibly evidence of other relevant qualifications, if applicable.

In addition, candidates may submit any other documentation they want to be considered, such as recommendation letters.

Applications should be written in English.

Applications must be received by:  October 3, 2022

Information for International Applicants 

We welcome international applicants. Choosing a career in a foreign country is a big step. Thus, to give you a general idea of what we and Gothenburg have to offer in terms of benefits and life in general for you and your family/spouse/partner please visit: 


The University works actively to achieve a working environment with equal conditions, and values the qualities that diversity brings to its operations.

Salaries are set individually at the University.

In accordance with the National Archives of Sweden’s regulations, the University must archive application documents for two years after the appointment is filled. If you request that your documents are returned, they will be returned to you once the two years have passed. Otherwise, they will be destroyed.

In connection to this recruitment, we have already decided which recruitment channels we should use. We therefore decline further contact with vendors, recruitment and staffing companies.

Read the job description at the university homepage


Post expires on Monday October 3rd, 2022