PhD Candidate: Secrecy, influence, state intelligence disclosure and non-state stakeholders – Leiden, Netherlands

Publicado hace 3 meses

PhD Candidate: Secrecy, influence, state intelligence disclosure and non-state stakeholders (1,0 FTE)

The Institute of Security and Global Affairs (ISGA) of the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs (FGGA) at Leiden University is looking for a PhD candidate in the field of Intelligence and Security to join a project funded by the Netherlands’ Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and administered by the FGGA.

Project Description

The Institute of Security and Global Affairs (ISGA) seeks to appoint a full-time PhD candidate to carry out research and teaching activities at the thematic intersection of Intelligence and Security Studies, cyber security, and media and communications. The successful candidate will join both the Intelligence and Security Research Group and the Cyber Security Governance Research Group at ISGA. They will conduct research for their PhD whilst also providing teaching assistance for our Minor programme in Intelligence Studies and our specialization track in Intelligence and National Security for the Crisis and Security Management Master’s degree programme. The research should lead you to obtain a PhD within a four-year timeframe. The position is split between research and teaching activities (80%/20%).

The PhD candidate’s research is part of the project Sharing secrets: how and why governments and third-party stakeholders disclose intelligence. Secrecy is vital to any national intelligence community, and intelligence is generally collected and assessed for internal government customers. Why, then, do governments choose to disclose intelligence to external audiences and what factors shape how they do so? And what roles and influence do non-state third-parties have in disclosure decision-making and practices? These are the questions that lie at the heart of this study of intelligence disclosure decision-making and relationships in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom (UK).

Authorised intelligence disclosures are inherently communicative and tied to the influencing of opinions, norms, policies, and actions. They include public attributions of cyber intrusions by hostile actors, intelligence-led public threat advisories, exposures of adversaries’ plans and justifications for the use of force against sovereign nations. These disclosures impact the work of state intelligence and cyber security institutions. They shape how senior elected representatives communicate knowledge and policy to the public and, behind closed doors, to allies and partners. And they affect how third-party stakeholders such as journalists engage with government secrets and communicate them publicly.

This project is structured around three key pillars:

  • Mapping and delimiting conceptual and empirical boundaries: developing more advanced typologies of intelligence disclosure motives, risks, and methods; developing a dataset of cases and prominent actors.
  • Decision-making: what conditions influence and explain government decisions to disclose or not to disclose intelligence, and what conditions influence how governments disclose intelligence?
  • Third-party stakeholders: how and why do key non-state stakeholders and intermediaries (especially media, but also cyber threat intelligence companies and open-source intelligence investigators) engage with and frame state intelligence disclosures and what influence do they have on state disclosure practices?

The PhD candidate will support the team’s research on the first pillar and make either one or both of pillars two and three the central focus of their research. Prospective sub-themes to focus on more specifically within the wider boundaries of the project, should the candidate wish, include:

  • The role of intelligence disclosure in state strategies to incriminate, coerce, deter, and undermine support for adversaries.
  • The role of intelligence disclosure in state strategies to communicate threat warning and build resilience in target audiences, such as against terrorism and violent extremism, cyber intrusions, and hostile foreign state influence.
  • The role of intelligence disclosure in state strategies to build support for and justify particular foreign and domestic policies and measures for achieving them.
  • The relationships between media and journalism intermediaries as channels, framers, and investigators of intelligence disclosure and those state institutions engaging in such disclosure.

While the project’s principal investigators will be primarily focused on the Netherlands and UK as comparative case studies, we welcome and encourage applications that propose research on one or more of the above themes on one or two alternative national case studies from other liberal democracies that have engaged in intelligence disclosure in some way.

Prospective candidates need to demonstrate a clear affinity with research on intelligence and security (including cyber security) and, ideally, also media and political communication. Qualitative and/or quantitative approaches to collection and analytical methodologies from social sciences and/or the humanities are welcomed. The quality of the research statement received outlining the candidate’s contribution to the project will influence the selection committee’s decision of who to appoint. Please below for what to include in the research statement.

The PhD candidate will be supervised by Professor Dennis Broeders (Professor of Global Security and Technology) in cooperation with Dr Thomas Maguire (Assistant Professor in Intelligence and Security; Project Principal Investigator) and Dr Simon Willmetts (Assistant Professor in Intelligence and Security; Head of Intelligence & Security Research Group).

Key Responsibilities

  • Conduct collaborative and novel research in the field of Intelligence and Security Studies and media and political communication;
  • Obtain a PhD by completing either an unpublished monograph (thesis) or publishing several articles in peer-reviewed academic journals on a topic related to the security and global affairs topics outlined above within a four-year timeframe;
  • Support the education activities of the Minor in Intelligence Studies and the specialization track in Intelligence and National Security on the Crisis and Security Management MSc programme, including administrative duties, curriculum design, grading, and providing feedback to students;
  • Develop teaching-related skills by (co-) teaching courses, engaging in thesis supervision and obtaining the basic teaching qualification (BKO);
  • Publish and present their work in international peer-reviewed journals and to academic and professional audiences, both independently and with team members;
  • Support the team’s building of an international network that spans both academics and policymakers/practitioners working on topics related to intelligence disclosure, secrecy, and publicity, especially through a workshop designed to help support a subsequent larger funding application;
  • Actively participate in discussions at institute and research group level on research and teaching innovation;
  • Follow PhD courses based on an individual training and supervision plan, including through the Graduate School.

Selection Criteria

  • Master’s degree completed by the time of the appointment in one of: Political Science, International Relations, Intelligence Studies, Security Studies, Cyber Security, Media & Political Communication, International Law, or Political Sociology – a research master degree is considered an asset;
  • Demonstrable ability and enthusiasm for research at the intersection of conceptual and policy-oriented research in one or more of the above fields;
  • Experience with qualitative and/or quantitative research methods;
  • Availability to travel and conduct fieldwork outside the Netherlands if necessary;
  • Demonstrable good time-management skills;
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team in an organized and results-oriented fashion;
  • The PhD thesis and/or journal articles will be written in English and therefore excellent command of English is required. Command of Dutch is not a requirement, but is considered an advantage, as is command of another European language if it would support an additional national case study;
  • Teaching experience is not a requirement, but is considered an advantage.

Our organisation
Leiden University is one of Europe’s foremost research universities. It is the oldest university in the Netherlands, founded in February 1575, and currently ranks in the top 100 of most international rankings. The University has approximately 34,000 students and 7,500 staff members.

The Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs, located in The Hague – the International City of Peace and Justice – offers a range of other programs focused on international relations, security, international law and international organization. It also hosts the Leiden University College (LUC), an international honors college of Leiden University situated The Hague. Firmly rooted in the academic tradition, the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs provides an inspiring and challenging education and research environment, with a strong interdisciplinary character and international orientation; it is a meeting place for students, scholars and professionals, a platform for innovation and entrepreneurship.

Institute of Security and Global Affairs
The Institute of Security and Global Affairs (ISGA) is a leading research and education institute, focusing on the most pressing local, national, European and global security issues from an interdisciplinary perspective. It currently hosts more than 120 academic and support staff members and offers the BA in Security Studies, the MSc in Crisis and Security Management, the Advanced MSc in International Relations and Diplomacy, the executive MSc in Cyber Security as well as a variety of innovative teaching offerings in the professional and MOOC fields. In addition, ISGA runs popular Minor Programmes in Global Affairs, Security, Safety and Justice and Intelligence Studies as well as the Faculty’s Honour Programme in Security and Global Affairs.

ISGA operates from The Hague, the third major city of the Netherlands, center of national governance and International City of Peace and Justice and advances both theory-informed and policy-oriented research. For further information, visit

Research Group
The PhD candidate will join the Intelligence and Security Research Group at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs (ISGA). Our research group is comprised of a number of academic researchers and practitioners who share a research interest in Intelligence Studies. Our core teaching activities within ISGA focus upon the Minor in Intelligence Studies and a specialization track in Intelligence and National Security on the Crisis and Security Management (CSM) MSc programme. We also occasionally contribute to other teaching programmes within ISGA. You can find more information about the research group on the website.

Additionally, the PhD candidate will maintain a relationship with and be able to draw upon the advice of ISGA’s Cyber Security Governance Research Group, who are a partner on this project.

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 € 2.770,- in the first year, increasing to € 3.539,- 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.

All our PhD students are embedded in the Graduate School of Governance and Global Affairs. Our graduate school offers several PhD training courses at three levels: professional courses, skills training and personal effectiveness.

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. Thomas Maguire, email

Please submit online your application no later than October 29 2023 via the blue button in our application system. The position is envisaged to commence in February 2024, but a later start date is possible.

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

  • Motivation letter, including your relevant interest and experience in the subject matter and in doing advanced research (max 1 page)
  • Curriculum vitae, including a list of any publications
  • A writing sample (postgraduate thesis or publication)
  • A research statement, where you will pitch your specific ideas on how you would approach the project. This should include: clearly stating which of the project’s themes you would focus on; your research question(s); how you would approach answering these questions (i.e. a preliminary research design, including a potential case study or two beyond the Netherlands and UK and empirical collection and analysis methodologies); and what you consider to be the academic (empirical and/or conceptual) and non-academic contributions and relevance of the research (max 1000 words);
  • The names and addresses of two potential referees (no actual recommendation letters required at this stage).

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed in month November. Interviews may be held through an online platform.

Enquiries from agencies are not appreciated.

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