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Post-doctoral researcher in border studies (f/m) - Ref: 23-06

Campus Belval , 11, Porte des Sciences, L - 4366 Esch-Sur-Alzette , Luxembourg

The Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER)

is recruiting a

Post-doctoral researcher in border studies (f/m)

  • Ref 23-06

  • Fixed-term full-time contrat (40h per week) for 18 months (part-time possible: 36 months at 50% or 27 months at 75%)

  • FNR-funded CORE project on The impact of rebordering on cross-border cooperation. A social semiotic approach to borders’ symbolic meaning (BOMIOTICS)

  • Start date: between September 1st, 2023 and January 1st, 2024

  • Deadline for application: when the position is filled

LISER invites highly qualified and motivated applicants for the position of post-doctoral researcher in the Urban development and Mobility Department. The post-doctoral researcher will work with Dr. Christophe Sohn, who is coordinating the BOMIOTICS CORE project.

Description of the BOMIOTICS project

The overall goal of the BOMIOTICS project is to assess the extent to which the hardening of the intra-Schengen border regime is challenging the significance of supposedly open borders for cross-border cooperation (CBC) and cross-border region-building. More specifically, it will involve analyzing how rebordering affects the ways in which borders are mobilized as meaning-making signs or symbols (i.e., semiotics resources) by local CBC actors for the political and discursive construction of cross-border urban agglomerations. Given the research issue to be addressed, theories of social semiotics that pay attention to the way actors use signs and symbols to create meaning and communicate it in specific situations will be mobilized.

Four specific objectives required to meet the goal of the project are defined: (1) elaborating a conceptual framework informed by social semiotics and adapted to the case of border symbolism; (2) analyzing borders’ symbolization strategies at work based on case studies; (3) examining more specifically the material form of borders in space and the political implications of their visibility or invisibility; (4) assessing the impact of rebordering dynamics on CBC discourses and border symbolism.

The empirical analysis will focus on four cross-border urban agglomerations that constitute emblematic cases of cross-border regionalism in Europe: the Alzette-Belval European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation along the French-Luxembourg border, the European Twin City Frankfurt (Oder)-Słubice at the German-Polish border, the Trinational Eurodistrict Basel at the triple point between Switzerland, France and Germany, and Greater Geneva along the French-Swiss border.

The investigation of the symbolization strategies at work in these “laboratories of integration” will rely on multimodal discourse analysis focusing on CBC actors’ narratives and the images they use. This multimodal approach will consider different methods of expressing ideas, concepts, or beliefs; thereby representing an innovative and substantial contribution to a better understanding of the symbolic role of borders in the shaping of regional imaginaries, the political construction of cross-border spaces, and the capacity of CBC projects to face the challenges posed by rebordering.

Your Role

The successful candidate will be asked to participate in the scientific, dissemination, and administrative activities linked to the BOMIOTICS project and to the Urban Development and Mobility Department.

We offer

  • An exciting multi-disciplinary and international research environment with ample opportunities to exchange with scholars from related disciplines at LISER;

  • A work contract with full social security coverage at LISER;

  • A competitive salary.

Your profile

  • PhD in the field of social sciences or humanities (e.g., border studies, cultural or political geography, political science, communication studies, sociology, anthropology, linguistics or any other relevant discipline);

  • Previous research in the field of border studies and/or multimodal discourse analysis is required;

  • Expertise in qualitative methods (i.e., discourse analysis, interviews, ethnographic methods);

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in English are required. Language skills in French and/or German are a plus.

LISER particularly encourages female researchers to apply.


LISER is a publicly funded research institute located in Luxembourg and dedicated to applied empirical research in economic, social and spatial sciences. The Institute hosts three departments (Living Conditions, Labour Market, and Urban Development and Mobility) as well as a Data Management Unit that coordinates the collection of a wide range of survey data on households and individuals. Beyond its established departments, the Institute invests in several interdisciplinary research fields.

The Institute attracts top researchers from all over the world and high-level student training is a vibrant part of the Institute’s activities. The Institute‘s staff consists of about 190 employees, more than 50% of the staff being researchers, mainly from the fields of economics, sociology, and geography. The working languages at the institute are French and English.

The Institute is located on the Belval campus in the south of Luxembourg, which hosts the University of Luxembourg and a substantial part of the country’s publicly funded research facilities, i.e. LISER, the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) cross-national data centre, the Luxembourg Institutes of Health (LIH) and of Science and Technology (LIST). The University has outstanding high-performance computing facilities available for use by associated researchers in the Luxembourg Institutes. Information for foreign researchers interested in Luxembourg research is accessible via the national EURAXESS platform.

About Luxembourg

Luxembourg with its > 600,000 inhabitants is one of the wealthiest countries in the world and provides a stimulating mixture of modern culture and tradition. Contemporary urbanity of its capital lies in close vicinity to a rich nature. In addition to excellent health, education (public, private and high level international schools) and recreational services, the community affords a rich variety of cultural activities typical of a major university environment, including museums, music, art and theatre. Luxembourg is a multi-lingual nation. Besides the official languages (French, German and Luxemburgish), English, Italian and Portuguese are spoken frequently.

Application process

Please submit the following documents via https://jobs.liser.lu/jobs :

  1. A Curriculum Vitae;

  2. A motivation letter presenting your relevant skills with respect to the project and how you plan to contribute to it;

  3. A copy of your relevant diplomas;

  4. A copy of your PhD dissertation;

  5. Two reference letters (to be uploaded with the application documents or sent separately to recruitment@liser.lu, quoting the above reference number of the position 23-06)


Start date: between September 1st, 2023 and January 1st, 2024.  

Closing date for applications: when the position is filled.

Would you have any question on the position or for project-related information, please contact Dr. Christophe Sohn (christophe.sohn@liser.lu).

For administrative matters, please contact recruitment@liser.lu

LISER is an Equal Opportunity Employer