College of Social Sciences

Location: University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK

Full time starting salary is normally in the range of £30,942 to £40,322. With potential progression once in the post to £42,792 a year.  As this vacancy is funded by an external party the maximum salary that can be offered is £36,914, spine 33.


Grade 7

Full Time

Fixed Term Contract for approximately 16 months

Closing Date - 19 February 2020

Position Details

Since its establishment in 1992, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy’s (WFD) primary aim has been to assist, support and encourage the peaceable establishment and development of pluralistic democratic practice and political institutions. WFD’s initiatives include: helping protect women from violence in the Middle East, making politics more inclusive in Africa, consolidating democratic institutions in Asia and building trust in democracy across the Western Balkans.

The Inclusive and Accountable Politics programme, funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) until July 2021, provides resources to enable the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) to strengthen inclusive, open and accountable political systems to deliver sustainable development outcomes in DFID priority countries. One of the principal expected outcomes of this programme is stronger evidence about the effectiveness of democracy support in different political contexts to inform adaptation in delivery. This evidence, it is hoped, will contribute to a more strategic approach across the UK government in managing democracy assistance, stimulating increased policy dialogue and more frequent opportunities to agree and implement shared priorities, lessons and approaches.

Under previous programmes, WFD formed a partnership with the International Development Department at University of Birmingham to co-fund a research programme looking at ‘The Political Economy of Democracy Promotion.’ This partnership (2016-2019) resulted in research on parliamentary strengthening, political party support, civil society assistance, elections and women’s political representation and has generated positive attention (both for its findings and as a new model for collaboration between academics and practitioners).

Building on the success of the partnership, the WFD will continue its collaboration with the International Development Department at the University of Birmingham. This new phase will build on the knowledge base of strengthening democratic processes, and will add a new focus on how individual leaders, coalitions and civil society play a role in supporting inclusive, accountable and transparent political systems. As part of this new focus, WFD will work with the Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) – an international research collaboration focused on the role of leadership in improving development, primarily in the Asia Pacific region. It has been based at the University of Birmingham since 2014, funded by the Australian Government, and the newest phase of funding will run up to 2021. This partnership will produce policy-relevant outputs that will be used to inform WFD programming and shared with the democracy assistance and international development community more broadly.

The Westminster Foundation for Democracy Post-Doctoral Fellow in Leadership for Inclusive and Democratic Politics will play an important role within this research-policy nexus, leading the drafting of policy papers and publications.

Summary of Role

The Westminster Foundation for Democracy Post-Doctoral Fellow in Leadership for Inclusive and Democratic Politics will be physically located within the International Development Department. Within the University, the Post-Doctoral Fellow will be mentored by Professor Nic Cheeseman and Professor David Hudson who has considerable experience of working on the politics of development, in particular on the role of leadership, coalitions, and power in reform processes. The role of the Post-Doctoral Fellow will be to take a lead in the drafting of policy papers and publications based on engagement with the WFD and the material that it has collected on its activities and interventions. The Post-Doctoral Fellow will also provide research and organisational support for WFD’s role as the secretariat to the Westminster Community of Practice, a network set up to facilitate the collective engagement among researchers and practitioners necessary to raise the profile of parliamentary strengthening among donors and to generate a solid evidence base on which future programming decisions can be taken.

The Post-Doctoral Fellow will work in close collaboration with the Developmental Leadership Program (DLP), led by Prof David Hudson, and there will be potential for both sole authorship and co-authorship of research and policy outputs. The Post-Doctoral Fellow will also work under the guidance of the project’s Steering Group, which will include Professor Nic Cheeseman, Professor David Hudson, Graeme Ramshaw, Director of Research and Evaluation at WFD, and WFD’s points of contact at DFID and the (FCO). Project outputs will be published in relevant journals or forums and presented to members of the WFD, the Policy Advisory Group, DFID, FCO and other stakeholders at bi-annual workshops. There will also be an opportunity to make presentations at established academic and policy conferences.

Main Duties

The responsibilities may include some but not all of the responsibilities outlined below.

  • Conducting policy-relevant research on the political economy of democracy promotion, including the role of leadership, and inclusive political systems.
  • Drafting policy reports and research papers under the guidance of a mentor.
  • Establishing and maintaining a database of relevant academic and policy contacts.
  • Keep up to date with emerging research and policy in relevant subject areas.
  • Assisting in the organization of project workshops and seminars.
  • Participating in Westminster Community of Practice events and activities.
  • Preparing blog posts and website news stories.
  • Making presentations to the Westminster Community of Practice and other stakeholders.
  • Maintain consistent communications with key stakeholders.
  • Collate data on leadership for inclusive and democratic political activities.
  • Assist in the drafting of research proposals.
  • Assist in the recording of podcasts on suitable topics.
  • Promote equality and values diversity acting as a role model and fostering an inclusive working culture.

Person Specification

• The successful candidate will hold a PhD in international development, political economy analysis, political leadership, inclusive politics or another related area, or be close to completion.

• Fieldwork in a relevant area.

• The potential to develop a world-class publication record. An interest in and a strong understanding of the role of leadership in political processes and international development.

• A good record of punctuality.

• A record of producing high quality written material to deadlines.

• The capacity and interest to work as part of a collaborative team.

• Understanding of current and emerging priorities and debates in international development, including gender issues and disability inclusion.

• Understanding of knowledge management, research communication and research uptake in an international development context.

• Excellent analytical skills.

• Ability to plan and work independently, taking responsibility for work in a proactive and independent manner.

• Ability to communicate complex information clearly.


• Previous experience of working on/in the Asia Pacific region (including South Asia and South East Asia).

• Knowledge of website creation and maintenance.

• A record of producing high quality policy reports.

• Experience of organizing and/or facilitating workshops and speaker events.

• Good quality presenting skills and experience.

• Experience of working on policy issues or for a policy organization or think tank.

• Experience working with bilateral or multilateral development agencies.

• Good networking skills.

• Good IT skills.

For informal enquiries please contact Alana Tomlin -

We value diversity at The University of Birmingham and welcome applications from all sections of the community’


Valuing excellence; sustaining investment

Primary Location



 Academic Non-clinical






Job Posting

 20.01.2020, 12:00:00 AM

Grade (for job description) Grade 7

Salary (Pay Basis)


Maximum Salary