PhD Position in Public Management or Public Administration KU Leuven, Public Governance Institute Belgium



The Public Governance Institute is looking for a PhD candidate (bursary) to do research on public sector reform, public services or public organisations. This is an open application, and candidates can propose their own topic focusing on major transformations of (Western) public sectors. The KU Leuven Public Governance Institute is a leading public administration research Institute at the heart of Europe. It conducts research into different aspects of public governance from a public administration and political science perspective. The results of our research are of value in higher and continuing education, in public organizations, and for society in general.



For this PhD position, you can propose your own project within the area of public administration or public management. You will be supervised by prof. Steven Van de Walle, and the topic you propose should align with the research interests of prof. Van de Walle, which are related to public sector reform, interactions between citizens and public services, behaviours and attitudes of public sector workers and attitudes to public services. Please have a look at for recent work. The topic should lend itself to internationally comparative research and should be data-driven (either existing data sources,or on own data collection, quantitative or qualitative).


Specific tasks are:

  • Preparing a PhD at the Public Governance Institute under the supervision of Professor Steven Van de Walle;
  • Designing the research, collecting and analysing data, and communicating about the findings;
  • Participating in the international research community and presenting results at conferences;
  • Liaising with public sector organisations for data collection purposes;
  • Communicating about findings to the broader public and to public sector organisations;
  • Writing papers to be submitted to peer-reviewed journals;
  • Contributing to applied research projects at the Public Governance Institute where appropriate;
  • Occasional involvement in teaching activities including supervision of exams, and master thesis coaching.


We require a background (Master, or near completion – students who graduate this summer are welcome to apply) in public administration, political science, organisation studies, sociology, or a related discipline, and a wide-ranging knowledge of and affinity with the field of public administration. In addition to an understanding of the latest developments in the field, the candidate must possess good research skills, preferably quantitative. Having distinguished oneself during the studies (equivalent of ‘cum laude’ in the Belgian system) is essential.


Proven affinity for empirical research, as evidenced by your master’s thesis, research plans and other projects is required. You will also have good communicative and administrative skills, and be able to communicate research to a range of different actors, preferably in different languages.


To apply, please submit a CV, motivation letter, grade transcript and a research proposal of max. 4 pages.



A full-time, paid position as PhD researcher (doctoraatsbursaal/bursary), initially for one year, which, upon positive evaluation, will be extended up to four years.


An inspiring and challenging international and academic environment at one of the leading departments in the field.


Starting date is September or October 1st 2018.



For more information please contact prof. dr. Steven Van de Walle:

You can apply for this job no later than May 23, 2018 via the online application tool

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at

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