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Call for Applications: Post-doctoral and Senior Research Fellowships in Budapest, Hungary

Populism, Ideology, and Discourse in the Global South: Sources of Polarization and Their Mitigation

The OSUN Forum on Democracy and Development by CEU Democracy Institute in Budapest, Universidad de los Andes, the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance at the University of Cape Town and the Social Scientists’ Association of Sri Lanka invites applications for six post-doctoral and two senior research fellows for an 8-month residential fellowship program between October 2024 and May 2025 in Budapest, Hungary.

The successful candidates are expected to carry out independent research on populism, ideology, or political discourse as sources of polarization. We particularly welcome systematic research on the following aspects:

  • The empirical study of populism and other discourses/thin ideologies such as nationalism, patriotism, and pluralism.
  • The contributions of understudied Global South cases to understanding the causes and consequences of populism
  • Affective and pernicious polarization in the Global South

In addition, Fellows will be also expected to contribute to a broader conversation regarding the policy implications of their topic of research, and strategies for mitigating negative societal impacts. Preference will be given to interdisciplinary and cross-regional comparative research proposals especially if they are thematically also linked to one or more of the other three research axes under the purview of the OSUN Democracy and Development project.


We seek applicants with a record (or strong promise) of relevant and internationally recognized publications in the research area, familiarity with current political affairs, and a keen interest in networking and institution building. Candidates must have excellent written and oral proficiency in English. They must have a PhD in hand at the deadline of application or present compelling evidence that a defense will be successfully completed before the start date. We especially welcome scholars with a personal connection to the Global South.

What we offer

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

Successful candidates will reside at the CEU Democracy Institute in Budapest and they will participate in an unparalleled multi-sited fellowship program on Democracy and Development running simultaneously in Budapest, Bogota, Cape Town, and Colombo where interdisciplinary research on 4 interlinked research themes will nurture path-breaking ideas to rethink democracy in its political, social and economic dimensions. Fellows will benefit from:

  • The academic convenorship of experts on populism and polarization
  • Participation in joint summer schools and frequent online collaboration with all Fellows across the 4 research hubs
  • A unique Methods Clinic, which will provide individualized methodological tutoring tailored to each candidate’s research project


Fellows will be hosted at CEU Democracy Institute in Budapest where they will be expected to reside for the duration of the program. Requests for short leaves to attend conferences or to carry out fieldwork need to be pre-notified in the application proposal.


Applicants need to submit:

  • Cover letter
  • Academic CV
  • Envisioned individual research project on populism or political polarization: title, abstract, and project outline (1000 words maximum, without bibliography)
  • Example of scholarly work (best recent article, book chapter, or job market paper)
  • Names and contact details of two scholars who could supply recommendation letters in case the candidate is shortlisted for the job. The referees will be contacted by CEU DI.

Please send your complete application package as one single pdf file with your last name and “populism” as the title of the file (for example, smith_populism.pdf). Send your application email with “OFP Populism Application” as the subject to:

Informal inquiries can be addressed to: Kirk Hawkins <> and Levente Littvay <>

Selection Process

Applications: Open until filled.

Starting date of selection: February 15, 2024