The IfL is seeking qualified candidates for the position of a Post-doctoral researcher in critical mobilities studies (75 % E 13 TV-L, contract runtime 2020–2025) (f/m/d) within its “Regional Geographies of Europe” department.

The IfL is an independent research institute with currently around 80 employees and member of the Leibniz Association. It is financially supported by the State of Saxony and the Federal Republic of Germany through the framework for joint research funding. The position is part of the upcoming Leibniz Junior Research Group “Contentious Mobilities through a decolonial lens” (CoMoDe), funded by the Leibniz Association. The postdoc will contribute to the Institute’s research group on Mobilities and Migration, which pays particular attention to mobilities and power relations, the interplay between mobility and socio-spatial inclusion and exclusion processes, socially embedded norms and gendered social practices.

The CoMoDe project proposes a decolonial, non-technocratic and politicised perspective on mobility transitions. It emphasises their contentious character, and the underlying conflictual experiences of modernisation, digitalisation and globalisation. We explore unintended consequences and adverse effects, complex local-to-global, core-to-periphery (and back) dynamics of mobility transitions, and their everyday negotiations. We adopt a decolonial perspective to explore dependencies, inequalities, and conditions of coloniality in terms of knowledge and power disparities.

Empirically, the project is set at the post-Soviet periphery, where mobility transitions arise in most salient and contentious ways. The region is marked by sharp crisis and change, and multi-layered conditions of modernity and coloniality. This project intends to combine critical mobilities research and post-Soviet decolonial thinking. CoMoDe thus opens up new pathways for devising policy instruments able to contribute to environmentally viable and socially inclusive mobility futures, in the post-Soviet area and beyond.

We are now seeking one postdoctoral researcher (contract runtime until spring 2025) to complement the existing team composed of the project leader, one associated postdoctoral fellow, and two doctoral researchers, who jointly delve into dynamics, processes, policies and actors of post-Soviet mobility transitions.

The postdoctoral researcher is planned to elaborate a comparative, ideally quantitatively oriented and theoretically informed analysis of the variety and scope of post-Soviet mobility transitions. This can be achieved, e.g., by attending to the waves of closure and investment, rolling stock purchases, infrastructure and maintenance expenditures, an analysis of appropriate survey and census data – all while we remain open to innovative alternative methodologies. Qualitative triangulation through interviews, participant observation, media analysis etc. is a plus.


  • a long-term position with flexible working arrangements, a positive work climate and integration into a highly motivated “Mobilities and Migration” research group;
  • family-friendly working conditions that encourage the compatibility of work and family life;
  • the possibility for implementing own ideas in the framework of the CoMoDe project;
  • support for academic career development, incl. habilitation;
  • fieldwork and conference participation grants, publication support, tailored trainings.


  • contributions to a theory framework on decolonial perspectives on mobility transitions;
  • development and implementation of a transnational and comparative research agenda in close cooperation with the research team;
  • conduct own research, incl. fieldwork and data analysis;
  • organisational support to the overall project, and contribution to network-wide events such as workshops or summer schools;
  • presentation and dissemination of results through conference participation and publications, knowledge transfer and outreach activities;
  • contribution to the profile development of the “Mobilities and Migration” research group at IfL.


  • a university diploma in human geography, transport studies, spatial planning, sociology or a related discipline;
  • a successfully completed PhD degree, preferably thematically connected to the research project;
  • relevant research experience is a must, and should be supported by an internationally visible publication record;
  • familiarity with quantitative social science methods is an unavoidable prerequisite;
  • willingness and ability to engage with the target region is a necessary precondition;
  • communication skills and the ambition to make an impact outside of academic circles are crucial;
  • knowledge of or interest in qualitative research methods is very welcome, on the same terms as the willingness to develop mixed-method approaches to the research in question;
  • very good knowledge of English is essential; knowledge of languages of the target region as well as German are welcome.

The position requires frequent travelling to case study regions and project-related events. We look for a proactive, motivated, autonomous and open-minded person with a well-developed team spirit and innovation skills. The IfL follows the goal of professional equality of women and men. Applications from qualified women are most welcome. Recognised persons with disabilities receive preference by equal qualification. We welcome applications from individuals with a migration background.


Please send your application package as e-mail attachment in a single pdf file to personal(at)

Please indicate “Postdoc CoMoDe” as the subject of your application mail. Please include the following documents:

  • a cover letter indicating your motivation to work at the IfL and the “Mobilities and Migration” research group, and addressing the above-mentioned responsibilities and expectations of the position (1500 words max.);
  • an outline of the proposed postdoctoral research project (1500 words max.) incl. prospective methodologies, data sources and theory contributions;
  • an up-to-date CV incl. a list of publications, previous projects and third-party funding applications (2 pages max.);
  • a copy of one relevant publication;
  • pertinent further documents including university diplomas and the PhD certificate, or an official confirmation of thesis submission.

Invited candidates will receive a hands-on dataset-based assignment in preparation for the job interview. For any questions and concerns relating to the position, candidates are very welcome to reach out to the project leader. Further information on the CoMoDe project is available here.

By submitting the application, you consent to the processing of your personal data for the purpose of the application procedure.

Contact: Dr. Wladimir Sgibnev (w_sgibnev(at)
Deadline for applications: 14 June 2020

Information on the Leibniz association at www.leibniz‐

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