PhD Position in Public Administration

Updated: 3 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 31 May 2021

Tallinn University of Technology, School of Business and Governance, Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance offers a 4-year PhD position in public administration.
Proposed doctoral thesis topic: "Governance of research, development and innovation policies in small states"

Supervisors: Professor Erkki Karo and Senior Research Scientist Veiko Lember

This PhD position invites applicants to work on the governance of mission-oriented research and innovation policies in the context of small states. The prospective PhD students are asked to provide their own theoretical, empirical or action research proposals to tackle key research issues and contribute to the debates on mission-oriented policies.


This position focuses on the governance of modern research, development and innovation (RDI) policies in the context of small states. Recently, the global discourse on RDI policies has taken a normative turn: instead of tackling generic market failures, RDI policies are expected to set a clear focus or missions on tackling complex societal challenges (from ageing of societies to sustainability of energy, transport, food and other systems; also UN SDGs). In academic and policy debates, this turn is conceptualized as (re-)emergence of mission-oriented policies (see: ).

In small states, such as Estonia, characterized by limited financial, organizational and human resources, this approach raises several policy and governance level issues, which require more in-depth theoretical, empirical and comparative work: how to pick and legitimize a small number of focus areas; how to set up appropriate governance structures and processes; what kind of policy instruments and methods to use etc. While there is emerging literature on these questions based on the experiences of large countries (US) and institutions (EU), this PhD project is expected to contribute to the academic research and policy debates with a specific focus on the smaller countries. The prospective PhD students are encouraged to provide their original theoretical, empirical or action research proposals that tackle the described research issues in an original way.

Responsibilities and tasks of the PhD student:

  • develop and implement a research plan that results in at least 3 peer-reviewed and internationally published articles
  • the research plan should contribute to one or more strategic research directions of the Nurkse Department
  • PhD students are expected to gain teaching, supervision, and research management experience at the Nurkse Department (incl. participation in PhD-related research or consultation projects)

View or Apply

Similar Positions