Research Associate in border studies (post-doc, f/m) - Ref : 24-09

Date: 24 May 2024

Location: Esch-sur-Alzette, LU, L-4366

Company: LISER

The Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER)


is recruiting a


Research Associate in border studies (post-doc, f/m)


  • Ref 24-09
  • 13 months fixed-term contract on a full-time basis (40h/week) (part-time at 80% is possible)
  • FNR-funded CORE project: BOMIOTICS: The impact of rebordering on cross-border cooperation. A social semiotic approach to borders’ symbolic meaning
  • Start date: ideally between September 1st, 2024 and November 15th, 2024
  • Work location: Belval (Luxembourg)
  • Deadline for applications: until the position is filled


LISER invites highly qualified and motivated applicants for the position of Research Associate within the Urban Development and Mobility department (UDM). The selected candidate will work closely with Dr. Christophe Sohn, who is coordinating the BOMIOTICS 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.

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

We offer


  • A dynamic and international research environment with attractive working conditions and a stimulating work environment ;
  • Flexibility in the organisation of the working hours and the possibility of teleworking ;
  • Competitive remuneration according to the Collective Labour Agreement in force (half of a 13th month salary, meal vouchers, etc.) ;
  • Investment in career support and development (trainings, seminars, participation to international meetings and conferences) ;
  • 32.5 days of annual leave for a full-time contract.

Application process


Please submit the following documents via :


  • A full CV ;
  • A motivation letter, in which you present your relevant skills with respect to the project and how you plan to contribute to it ;
  • A copy of your last obtained diploma ;
  • PhD thesis, 1 or 2 representative research papers or already published articles ;
  • Two reference letters (to be uploaded with the application documents or sent separately to


Please note that the position will remain open until filled.


Early application is encouraged as the applications are processed upon reception.


Would you have any work-related question on the position, please contact Dr. Christophe SOHN (


For administrative matters, please contact Mrs. Vanya KIROVA at




LISER is a publicly funded research institute located in Luxembourg and dedicated to applied empirical research in economic, social and spatial sciences. The Institute attracts top researchers from all over the world and high-level student training is a vibrant part of the Institute’s activities. LISER staff consists of approx. 200 employees, about 60% of the staff being researchers; mainly from the fields of economics, geography and sociology. The vision of the institute is to be a socio-economic research institute internationally recognised, focused on scientific excellence and societal impact, able to contribute through multi-disciplinary and intersectoral research, in an active and inclusive way to a sustainable and inclusive society at national and international level.


The institute is located on the new Belval campus in the south of Luxembourg (Cité des Sciences, 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). Information on research in Luxembourg is accessible via the national EURAXESS platform.


LISER is an Equal Opportunity Employer