Vacancy – Research & Project Officer PaCE
(Part-time position)

About the Role

This role is at the heart of our work to better understand and analyse populism within Europe. Managing The Democratic Society’s element of the PaCE project (Populism and Civic Engagement), the successful applicant will be focusing on supporting research and dissemination activities with partners in the second and third year of the project.

This role will suit a proactive self-starter with outstanding analytical and research skills who wants to be at the forefront of the debates on populism that have emerged over the last decade. Activities will include creating and evolving scenario planning and futures research and conducting focus group discussions.

With a specific interest in illuminating the causality of populism, the successful applicant will be able to communicate these findings in a simple, effective and easily understandable fashion. A good knowledge of project management will be key to success, but the Democratic Society is especially interested in individuals who use evidence and analysis to further public understanding on the topic of populism. This role would ideally be based in Berlin (with an option to work remotely) but will link closely to our other office hubs in Belgium and will contribute to wider projects across the team.

About PaCE

Across Europe there is a rise of political movements that claim to challenge liberal elites and speak for the ‘ordinary person’ – movements that can be loosely categorised as ‘populist’. Many of these movements have undesirable tendencies. The Populism and Civic Engagement project (PaCE), with others, aims to better understand and respond to the negative tendencies of populist movements, to build upon the lessons of positive examples (such as Reykjavik), and hence play a part in constructing a firmer democratic and institutional foundation for the citizens of Europe.

PaCE will analyse, in detail, the type, growth and consequences of such movements in terms of their particular characteristics and context. From this, it will analyse the causes of these movements and their specific challenges to liberal democracy. In particular, it will focus on transitions in these movements (especially changes in leadership) as well as how they relate to other kinds of movements and the liberal reaction. PaCE will propose responses to these challenges, developing risk analyses for each kind of response, movement and transition. To this end, it will employ the agent-based simulation of political processes and attitudes to allow for thorough risk analyses to be made. Throughout the project, it will engage with citizens and policy actors, especially groups under-represented in public affairs, face-to-face and via new forms of democratic participation appropriate to our digital age to help guide the project and to comment on its outputs.

The project will develop new tools, based on machine-learning algorithms, to both identify and track populist narratives and aid online consultation. It will result in specific interventions aimed at the public, politicians, activists and educators. It will look further into the future, developing new visions concerning how different actors could respond to populism and it will warn about longer-term trends.


  1. Project delivery, such as:
    • Knowledge of participatory and co-productive activities.
    • Organising events across Europe and producing reports on the outcomes of the processes.
    • Facilitating deliberative activities, and creating environments that allow civil dialogue and input from all participants.
    • Knowledge of effective dissemination activities to a wide range of target audience members.
  1. Analysis & research, such as:
  • Understanding of quantitative and qualitative research – an ability to undertake and to integrate research from either is important, as is a commitment to high research standards.
  • Data visualization or the management of visualisation processes that can be used to aid in the public explanation of research.
  • Evaluation and quality control of research products and processes.
  • Trend analysis and the use of foresight techniques.
  • Consistently high research ethics, including operational transparency and public explanation of research fundamentals.
  1. Project management, including:
    • Assist in the analysis and evaluation of the project.
    • To provide information for project documentation regarding the planning, delivery and outcomes of our projects for a range of stakeholders.
    • To ensure projects are delivered to the required level of quality and defined timescales.
  1. Project collaboration and engagement, including:
    • Working with a wide range of project team members from both internal and external organisations.
    • Liaising with the academic sector in general.
    • Liaising with partner organisations and stakeholder groups to ensure that the delivery of the project is open and inclusive.
    • Linking with a range of organisations and bodies to learn from others as well as sharing our learning.
    • Making the best use of digital technology to distribute, promote and provide a platform for work generated by project participants and drive audiences to engage with our work digitally.
    • Alongside our senior team, devise wider projects and programmes of activity that contribute to our organisational values, goals and objectives.

Person Specification

The ideal applicant will be an analytical and inspiring colleague and someone who takes pride in their ability to create and manage first class research outcomes and products. They will be organised and focused on detail, taking responsibility for managing their workload and will be enthusiastic about working collegially within the organisation and with partners. Unafraid of public communication and engagement, they will also have a commitment to reporting in an unbiased and politically neutral manner.

For this role, it is essential that candidates have direct experience in public engagement and dissemination of findings. Knowledge of quantitative research would be advantageous. The successful candidate will likely be able to demonstrate understanding and experience of various techniques for scenario planning and more strategic analysis and planning.

The project focuses on the public engagement workstream in its second and third year – the successful applicant will be able to show how they will support these, including the operation of localised events across a range of countries, as well as the interplay with social media campaigns and activities.

The Democratic Society is an equal opportunities employer and welcomes all suitably skilled persons regardless of their race, sex, disability, faith, sexual orientation, education or age. We are a multi-lingual and multi-cultural organisation, working internationally and actively working to ensure our team reflects the communities and places we serve. As a mission driven organisation, we seek people who are aligned with our core values of openness, democracy, and internationalism.

Deadline for application: Please send your application to by February 14, 2020. We appreciate if the successful candidate could start the position as soon as possible.

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