PhD Candidate: Cyber incidents preparedness and response in humanitarian organizations (1,0 FTE)

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PhD Candidate: Cyber incidents preparedness and response in humanitarian organizations (1,0 FTE)

The Institute of Security and Global Affairs (ISGA) of the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs is looking for a PhD candidate to join our international research team on ‘Cyber Security Governance’ and ‘Governance of Crises’.

Project description
Cyber incident preparation and response strategies have been developed primarily for the private sector. However, humanitarian organizations (HOs) have unique characteristics and challenges regarding collecting data, maintaining technological independence, and operating in cyber-insecure countries, among others. The consequences of a cyber incident for HOs can be catastrophic, severely limiting their ability to provide aid, damaging their reputation, and resulting in loss of support from donors. In this PhD trajectory, you will be exploring how cyber incident preparation and response strategies can be adapted to the unique characteristics of the HOs.

This PhD vacancy is part of the project funded by a FGGA starter grant ‘Securing Humanitarian Operations: Preparedness and Response to Cyber Crises in Aid Delivery.’ The project represents the consolidation of the alliance between the ‘Cyber Security Governance’ and the ‘Governance of Crises’ research groups at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs. Thus, the PhD candidate will conduct research both on cyber incident preparation, response and communication strategies, as well as the humanitarian sector. This research should lead you to obtain a PhD within a four-year timeframe. The position is split between research and teaching activities related to both groups (80%/20%).

More information about the project can be found at:

Key responsibilities

  • Conduct original, collaborative and novel research in the field of cyber crisis governance and humanitarian action;
  • Publish and present scientific articles at international peer-review journals, and national and international conferences;
  • Support education activities in cybersecurity and crisis governance in the bachelor and master programs offered at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs, including lecturing, marking, and providing feedback to students;
  • Engage in collaborations between academia and the humanitarian sector;
  • Follow PhD courses based on an individual training and supervision plan.

Selection Criteria
The applicant is expected to have:

  • MSc in cybersecurity governance, risk and compliance, security studies, humanitarian action, crisis management, political science, public administration or related field – a research master degree is considered an asset;
  • Experience with qualitative and quantitative research methods;
  • Experience with working in multi- or interdisciplinary teams;
  • Availability to travel and conduct fieldwork (interviews and survey) outside the Netherlands;
  • Demonstrable strong skills in writing, communication, and presentation;
  • Excellent command of English, other languages are an advantage.

Our organization
Science for and about society is the domain of the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs (FGGA). FGGA provides high-quality interdisciplinary education and research on social and governance issues such as terrorism, organisation of public administration, climate change and economic crises.

Contemporary issues are approached from an administrative, political, economic, legal and sociological perspective. This interdisciplinary approach gives the faculty’s education and research a cross-border character.

The Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs (FGGA) is one of the seven faculties of Leiden University and is based in The Hague.

The FGGA is a young, enterprising and innovative organisation that is growing rapidly. The faculty has three scientific institutes, two centres, 3500 students and 330 staff members.
For more information about the faculty click here.

Our institute
The Institute of Security and Global Affairs (ISGA) is a scientific institute that focuses on multidisciplinary research and education within the international scientific field of security studies. ISGA analyses and studies issues in a coherent way from their local transnational and global impact.

Researchers at our institute are engaged in interdisciplinary research and teaching within the international scientific field of security studies. The approach to issues of security is glocal, that is to say that the local, national, transnational and global impact are studied and analysed in conjunction with each other.

ISGA operates from The Hague, the third major city of the Netherlands, center of national governance and International City of Peace, Justice and Security. See:

Terms and conditions
The successful candidate will be part of an ambitious and dynamic team. He or she will be appointed for 1+3 years. The gross monthly salary is set on € 2.541,- in the first year, increasing to € 3.247,- gross per month in the final year, in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities.

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3%), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. For more information: Job application procedure and employment conditions.

Diversity and inclusion are core values of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop their full potential. Diversity in experiences and perspectives enriches our teaching and strengthens our research. High quality teaching and research is inclusive.

Enquiries can be made to Dr. Cristina Del Real (
Please submit online your application no later than September 15, 2023 via the blue button in our application system. The position is envisaged to commence in January 2024.

Please ensure that you upload the following additional documents in PDF format, quoting the vacancy number:

  • Motivation letter (max 1 page);
  • Curriculum vitae;
  • Research statement where you share your first ideas on how you will approach the project, including suggestions for relevant research questions (max 500 words);
  • The names and addresses of two potential referees (no actual recommendation letters required at this stage).

Enquiries from agencies are not appreciated.

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