Global Cooperation Research: Open Call for Applications | Research Fellowships 2020/2021

Postdoctoral and Senior Researchers

The Käte Hamburger Kolleg/Centre for Global Cooperation Research (KHK/GCR21) invites applications for Research Fellowships with duration of 6 to 12 months starting between March and June 2020. Proposals regarding 1) pathways and mechanisms of global cooperation and 2) global cooperation under conditions of polycentric governance are especially welcome. The fully funded fellowships are available to both senior and postdoctoral researchers across the humanities and social sciences. Deadline for applications is June 2nd, 2019.


The Centre for Global Cooperation Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen is one of ten Käte Hamburger Kollegs sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Established in 2012, the Centre is an interdisciplinary and international learning community that seeks to enhance understanding of the possibilities and limits of global cooperation and to explore new options for global public policy. The working language at the Centre is English.

In its second funding period (2018-2023) the Centre’s research and fellowships are organized around four broad themes: pathways and mechanisms of global cooperation; global cooperation and polycentric governance; critique, justification and legitimacy in global cooperation; and global cooperation among plural conceptions of world order. Empirical research on these themes will focus especially on the governance of climate change, the internet, migration, and peacebuilding. The Centre will issue thematic calls for application on an annual basis.

Fellowships 2020-2021

For next year we invite fellowship applications from across the humanities and social sciences (including also psychology, law and economics) in relation to the first two main themes, as detailed below. Preference is for fellowships of twelve months, but shorter periods will also be considered. We particularly encourage female researchers and scholars from the Global South to apply. Applications from scholars at risk are welcome.

Benefits to Fellows

  • An intellectually stimulating and vibrant interdisciplinary learning community
  • Excellent infrastructure with fully equipped offices, library facilities, and administrative support (also with finding accommodation)
  • Funds to organize workshops (subject to approval; workshops emerging from an interdisciplinary exchange with other fellows / colleagues at the Centre are preferred)
  • Either a monthly stipend commensurate with experience or financing of a teaching replacement at the home institution

Expectations from Fellows

  • A completed PhD
  • Personal research and publication in the Centre’s thematic areas
  • A contribution to the Centre’s own publications
  • Active participation in seminars and other Centre events
  • Collaboration with other fellows in interdisciplinary exchange
  • Work in residence at the Centre in Duisburg, Germany

Themes 2020-2021

The Centre’s work in the period of 2020-2021 will focus on the themes ‘Pathways and Mechanisms of Global Cooperation’ and ‘Global Cooperation and Polycentric Governance’. We especially invite fellowship applications that address these themes, as described below. In addition, preference will be given to applications with an empirical focus on the governance of climate change, the internet, migration, and peacebuilding.

Pathways and Mechanisms of Global Cooperation

This theme aims to develop a dynamic understanding of global cooperation (i.e. extensive and intensive collaboration of two or more parties to address a collective problem of global scale). Pathways, typically understood as a set of mechanisms and processes that lead towards global cooperation, include for example the scaling up of municipal climate initiatives to global initiatives or coalitions of the willing motivating others to join collective action efforts. To gain a systematic understanding of the factors which shape pathways over time, however, it is important to compare successful instances with failed attempts of global cooperation to identify how these experiences have in turn fostered or hampered further cooperation. In order to explore such effects it is helpful to consider how pathways of global cooperation are theorized, imagined and narrated.

For ‘Pathways and Mechanisms of Global Cooperation’ we invite fellowship applications that analyze how imaginaries of pathways of global cooperation affect the very process of global cooperation itself. Relevant questions include: What varieties of imaginaries of pathways of global cooperation exist, and how do they differ between policy fields, world regions, and actor groups? To what extent do imaginaries of global cooperation rely on narratives, emotions, visual representations, numbers and scenarios? Which role do visions of desirable futures and conceptions of world order play and how are they related to critical accounts of the past such as those informed by feminist or postcolonial perspectives? How can we methodologically discern performative effects of imagined pathways from other factors that influence cooperation processes?

Global Cooperation and Polycentric Governance

This theme examines the governing of global challenges through complex constellations of actors, scales and sectors. Facing such complexity, global cooperation must develop across fragmented institutional sites which are often only loosely interlinked or may even provide conflicting regulatory scripts. Comparative mapping of complex polycentric governance arrangements across the mentioned policy fields is important to raise further questions as to how evolving frameworks, narratives and practices respond to the challenges of our time, whether the answers given are coherent across societal sectors, world regions, and jurisdictional scales, and whether they also satisfy normative criteria such as equality, accountability, and democratic legitimacy.

For the theme of ‘Global Cooperation and Polycentric Governance’ we invite fellowship applications that address theoretical and substantive issues related to the nature and repercussions of polycentric governance in respect of global cooperation. The research group currently draws on a broad variety of conceptual and methodological perspectives (e.g. sociolegal, institutionalist, relational, and structural) and aims at continuing this interdisciplinary discussion on how to study processes of global governing.  The Centre is particularly interested in evaluating the practical and normative implications of polycentric governance in an ever more complex world. Key questions may include: how does polycentrism structure the conditions under which global cooperation can be realized? How does polycentrism affect the types and forms of global cooperation that occur, particularly in the governance of climate change, the internet, migration, and peacebuilding? And what implications does polycentric governance have for the results and consequences of global cooperation, for example, in terms of problem-solving, participation, justice, and the global and local distribution of costs and benefits?

How to Apply

Applications (in English only) should include:

  • cover letter
  • concise research proposal (3-5 pages incl. bibliography)
  • CV
  • list of publications
  • text of one relevant publication

Please submit applications using the online application form. Deadline for receipt of applications is June 2nd, 2019. Please indicate in the cover letter your preferred start and end date of the fellowship.

For questions on this call, please contact Matthias Schuler at

Source: Announcement Käte Hamburger Kolleg/Centre for Global Cooperation Research (KHK/GCR21), April 2019