Call for applicants: PhD fellowship at the University of Latvia

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In the frame of the project Legal Cultures and Business Environment in Central Asia

We are looking for a PhD student who, based at the Faculty of Business, Management and Economics of the University of Latvia, will complete a PhD on a topic of her/his choice framed within the above research project under supervision of Prof Ilona Baumane-Vitolina and Dr Abel Polese.

The successful candidate will be working in a large team composed by 12 universities and will have the chance to spend time in top Central Asian institutions: L.N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University; Westminister University in Tashkent; Tajik Technical University; SIAR research&consulting (Kyrgyzstan); The Academy of the General Prosecutors Office of the Republic of Uzbekistan; Tebigy Kuwat (Turkmenistan)

Legal Cultures and Business Environments in Central Asia

Over the last two decades, economic relations between the EU and the five post-Soviet Central Asian republics (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) have evolved around two parallel and contradictory patterns. On the one hand, due to the efforts of the EU, economic relations and inter-dependence have increased and the presence of EU companies in the region has expanded significantly. On the other hand, inconsistent business ethics standards – and the peculiar way in which rule of law is interpreted and applied in the region, also called “the local way of doing business” have hindered and limited the role of foreign companies in the region. Building on recent political developments leading to the opening up of previously closed and inaccessible countries, CENTRAL ASIAN LAW is a research and training programme that aims to promote greater understanding and explanation of the interconnections between legal cultures, local business environments and governance in Central Asia. This will enable the CENTRAL ASIAN LAW team to: 1) produce new empirical knowledge on legal cultures and business ethics in the region; 2) engage with, and challenge, existing theoretical paradigms within socio-legal studies, law, economic and business sciences, Central Asian studies (post-Soviet studies, more generally) and governance scholarship; 3) provide strategic intelligence for business actors interested or already operating in the region; 4) inform international organizations and decision makers in the EU and Central Asia on possible ways to improve the business and investment climate, the rule of law and governance in the region.

Conditions of the scholarship

  *   This is a pre-application campaign, the successful candidate will be requested to apply for a PhD position through the official university competition in Summer 2020. We are issuing the call much earlier to be able to coach the successful candidate and meet the formal requirements of the competition. Ideally, you would be now be enrolled as a MA students with perspectives to terminate in Spring 2020 so you can continue your studies at LU.

  *   In addition to the University of Latvia scholarship (usually around 100 euro, but the amount may vary according to amendments in the University rules), the candidate will receive between 24,000 and 48,000 euro over the four year period. This will not make you rich but it is more than enough to live comfortably in Riga (or in the region) so that we expect the candidate to work full time on their research project

  *   The position involves a large amount of travelling and several months per year in Central Asia for fieldwork and networking and requires capacity to work autonomously

  *   Please check that you are eligible before applying. It serves to nothing to get selected to then discover that you cannot enter doctoral studies. Information about PhD entry requirements can be found at


If you are interested please send your CV and one-page outline of your research project to this and this e-mails.

Applications will be screened on a rolling basis until 30 November 2019. If you have already an idea for a project, please contact us as soon as possible

Once selected, we will work with you to expand your outline into a longer proposal meeting the UL requirements and coach you into the formal application. Please note that the process at LU may involve some bureaucracy so capacity to endure post-Soviet bureaucracy is required. We will do our best to facilitate you in applying and getting formally accepted

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