Research fellowship position in Diaconal Theory and Practice

Research group Diaconal Practices and Perspectives Profile Be part of an exciting, interdisciplinary research milieu at the Centre for Diaconia & Professional Practice.
VID Specialized University has up to two 100% positions as a PhD Research Fellow within the fields of Diaconal Theory and Practice for a period of 3 years. The advertised positions are available at the Centre for Diaconia & Professional Practice and will be linked to the research group Diaconal Practices and Perspectives (DIAPP).

The stipulated length of the PhD position is 3 years.

About the position

Professional practices in diaconia emerge in the intersection between the Christian tradition and individual or organisational actions in faith-based organisations and beyond. Historically and today, they can be colonising, decolonising, and empowering, sometimes at the same time. They establish, sustain, or question power imbalances between providers and receivers of services or between those who are perceived as normal and others who are seen as in need of help or integration. They can also create, imply, or dissolve hierarchies between cultures, social contexts, and expertise, not least in cases of developmental work. This call invites projects investigating colonising and/or decolonising professional practices in the field of diaconia, i.e. in health or care services, social work, churches, education, or development work. A wide range of qualitative or quantitative methods are possible but participatory approaches are preferred.

The position as research fellow aims at achieving a PhD Degree after completed research training. An achieved PhD degree is a relevant qualification for positions within and outside academia.

Research group

The position is connected to the research group Diaconal Practices and Perspectives (DIAPP), which aims at strengthening diaconal studies as a research area at VID and in a Nordic context. Diaconal studies can be described as the study of practices of diaconal actors or of other actors engaged in the field of welfare, (health) care or education through the lens of diaconia. It brings together practice-oriented research and theoretical reflections about diaconia. DIAPP understands itself as an interdisciplinary platform, where researchers with different disciplinary backgrounds and from various research areas can explore how their work can contribute to the development of the field of diaconal studies. Read more about the research groups.

PhD programme

The position is connected to the PhD-programme Diaconia, Values and Professional Practice (DVP). DVP is a practice-oriented, interdisciplinary programme dedicated to researching professional practice within Health and Social services and Value-based organizations. The programme has a particular focus on the practitioner's encounter with and navigation of complex knowledge and value landscapes from individual, collective, and societal perspectives.

More information about the PhD programme can be found here.

Applicants are requested to familiarize themselves with the PhD program's profile and to specify the connection between their own project proposal and the PhD programme (see bullet point number 7 under Template for project description).

General criteria for appointment as a research fellow are stipulated in the Guidelines and additional provisions for the PhD Programmes at VID Specialized University.

The position is organizationally located at the Centre for Diaconia and Professional Practice and the place of employment can be at the Oslo, Bergen or Stavanger campus.

Qualifications and personal abilities

Master's degree (120 ECTS) in the discipline of Diaconia, Health Studies, Social Studies, or other field relevant to the call. The grade of the Master's degree must be at least B (ECTS grading scale) or equivalent, and the degree must include a thesis of at least 30 ECTS.

Fluent written and oral presentation skills in English.

Personal suitability and motivation for the position

Good collaboration skills and an ability to participate in interdisciplinary academic communities.

Relevant research and development experience

In an overall assessment of the applicants, emphasis is put on personal qualifications, relevant competence, and research experience, as well as on the quality of the project proposal.

Diversity is one of the characteristics of a good working environment. We encourage all qualified candidates to apply, regardless of gender, functional abilities, and cultural background. Applicants with a minority background are therefore encouraged to apply.

Template for project descriptions

All project descriptions should be written according to template for project descriptions.

The applicant must submit a project description of max 3500 words (reference list, tables and all text included) written in English or a Scandinavian language.

Applicants must disclose any connection between their submitted project description and any on-going, external research project.

Since VID seeks to strengthen research collaboration with international educational and research institutions, it is expected that applicants indicate plans for research visits abroad during the course of the PhD fellowship.

We offer

Opportunities of academic development with highly qualified and committed colleagues

Membership in the State Pension Plan with beneficial loan-and pension terms VID conforms to the main agreement between the Enterprise Federation of Norway (VIRKE) and Employees Unions.

The position is placed in code 1017 PhD student of the Basic Collective Agreement, (NOK 532.200 a year) and follow ordinary meriting regulations. Membership in the State Pension Plan, accident-and group-life insurance scheme is required. The salary will be adjusted yearly according to the collective agreement.


Please upload the application through the «Apply here» link above.

The following documents should be uploaded to the JobbNorge portal:



project description



diploma supplements

It is the full responsibility of the applicant to submit a complete application. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Diploma supplements for non-Norwegian diplomas must be included when relevant. Documents in languages other than English or Norwegian, must include an official translation. For applicants with an education that cannot be documented with Diploma Supplements, confirmation of education, its content and grade must be provided.

A sorting committee will select the applications that are to be assessed by the expert committee. Please note that the project descriptions of applicants not selected for expert assessment will not receive a written evaluation. The decision of the sorting committee will not be made public.

The expert committee will assess applicants based on competence, relevance to the call, and the quality of the project description. Emphasis will also be placed on the interview conducted with shortlisted applicants.

Applicants must provide a list of 2-3 references that can be contacted in the event of shortlisting. Applicants invited to the interview must be able to submit certified copies of diplomas and certificates.

If you have documents that cannot be sent electronically, please contact

Comitted to humanity - locally and globally

VID Specialized University undertakes education and research in the fields of health and social sciences, educational science, management, diaconia and theology. We offer approximately 60 programs of study as Bachelor, Master's, and PhD degrees. Our ambition is to become a university by 2028.

With about 6000 students and 600 employees, VID is the biggest private school of higher education in Norway. You'll find our campuses in Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, Sandvika and Tromsø. We also have decentralized schooling at Helgeland.

Through our programs of study, we educate knowledgeable, reflective, and brave professional practitioners. VID has a particularly strong research profile within practice-relevant research, diversity, social inequality, particularly vulnerable groups and global Christianity.

The letters in VID are a Norwegian acronym for Specialized (Vitenskapelig), International (Internasjonal) and diaconal (diakonial).

Our motto is Committed to humanity - locally and globally.

Questions about the position

Annette Leis-Peters

Research group leader, Professor +47 488 93 113

James McGuirk

Centre Director, Professor +47 481 10 185

Deadline: 15th November 2023

Employer: VID Specialized University Municipality: Oslo / Bergen / Stavanger

Scope: Fulltime (2 positions) Duration: Fixed Term Place of service: VID Oslo, Diakonveien 14-18, 0370 Oslo VID Bergen, Ulriksdal 10, 5009 Bergen VID Stavanger, Misjonsmarka 12, 4024 Stavanger

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