Deadline: 25 October 2020, 23:59 BST

[Note: This year, we are giving prospective Associates the chance to apply for specific research projects. At the bottom of this document, you can find short summaries of the projects you can apply for. On your application, please indicate clearly what project you want to be considered for.]

Be part of a team of undergraduate researchers and contribute to every step of the research process.
Alongside your team leader, find and implement a methodology that allows you to answer your team’s research question.
Co-author the resulting article and, together with your team, present it at academic conferences.
Attend and participate in UPR Research Cafés and workshops.
Time to commit: the expected workload for this role is around 5-10 hours per week, although this will vary significantly depending on the stage of the project.

Commitment to working alongside your team to achieve the best results.
Passion for research.
Interest in, and keen commitment to, the UPR and its mission.
Ability to stick to work as part of a team and stick to deadlines set by the Team Leader.
Strong communication, interpersonal, and writing skills.
Must be a current LSE undergraduate student in any year of study (all degrees welcome!).
Previous experience in conducting academic research (e.g. as a research intern or assistant).

What you can expect to gain from the role:
Learn about the research methods available to social science researchers.
Get to know the research process and all its idiosyncrasies, challenges, and joys.
Improve your teamwork and communication skills.
Exposure to like-minded peers and academics.
Participate in academic conferences at the undergraduate or higher level.

How to apply:
To apply, please submit the following documents to with the subject line “[First and Last Name] – Research Associate Application – [Project you wish to apply for] ”:

  • A copy of your CV
  • A cover letter [max. 400 words] that addresses the following questions:
  • Why are you applying for this position?
    Why are you interested in the project you are applying for?
    What skills and experience do you have that are especially relevant to the project?
    How many hours per week could you realistically commit to working on the project?

    Deadline: 25 October 2020, 23:59 BST

    Available Projects

    [Please note that the hypotheses/methodologies outlined in the project overviews below are not final. They are open for further modification when the team is assembled. Research members have both the right and the duty to contribute to this aspect of the project.]

    1 Euroscepticism: How have regional patterns of public support levels for the European Union changed across the United Kingdom and Spain after the failure of recent secessionist attempts?

    The aim of this project is to use survey data to evaluate how regional patterns of support for the European Union have evolved in countries affected by failed secessionist attempts, with a focus on Spain after the 2017 Catalonian independence referendum and the United Kingdom after the British government’s rejection of a second Scottish independence vote. The first part of the project will briefly explore the dual role of the EU as a vehicle for the articulation of secessionist claims (as well as a facilitator of decentralisation to regional and local governments) and as a constrictive legal framework that prevents these claims from ever being actualised, both in the context of the Scottish and Catalan secessionist movements. It will also examine how the lack of EU intervention could have impacted public opinion. The second and main part of the project will consist of a quantitative survey analysis to assess how levels of European identity and faith in European institutions have changed in Scotland and Catalonia after the EU’s response to separatist appeals, as well as in other regions across the United Kingdom and Spain that were not directly affected.

    Notes to applicants:
    The associates will be actively involved in every part of the project, and will assist in defining its general direction, as well as with the qualitative review and data analysis. An interest in European politics, and specifically secessionist movements within the EU, is required. Previous experience with a statistical analysis software, especially R or Stata (even at a basic level) is desirable. Previous experience in a research assistant role or training in research methods is also desirable but not essential

    2 Genocide: Is the handling of genocide as a political act diminishing one of the most heinous crimes? An assessment of the balance between criminology and politics in the evaluation of genocide.

    This project will evaluate the characterisation of genocide as a primarily political act under current global evaluations. Specifically, it will ask whether viewing genocide primarily as a crime instead of a political act leads to better substantive outcomes in afflicted countries.

    The first aim of this project is to fill a gap in the literature on genocide by assessing its understanding in a novel way – indeed, whilst genocide is assessed by both criminologists and political scientists alike, the question of which procedures would translate into better substantive results is still unanswered. Moreover, by considering the issue in this light, the paper will also have the potential to offer constructive commentary on global responses to acts of genocide.

    In a bid to offer as comprehensive an evaluation as possible, we will aim to include theory-based, quantitative and case study analyses. This will also ensure that research associates are exposed to a wide breadth of key research methods and tools and give them the opportunity to offer their own insight as to the direction they feel the paper should take. Associates will be involved in choosing case studies, research methods and be involved in every other aspect of the research process.

    Notes to applicants:
    An overall strong understanding of the functioning of international bodies and comparative political analysis skills are desirable, as they will underpin the work. (Though of course, this is an excellent learning opportunity, and there will be scope for developing these skills, and others, during the project).

    3 Hong Kong: The ripple effect of the implementation of the National Security Law in Hong Kong on Southeast Asian and East Asian geopolitical economics.

    The National Security Law came into force in Hong Kong on 1st July 2020. The Beijing government claims that the law provides citizens with personal safety and ensures the socio-economic stability of Hong Kong. In response to this new law and to China’s aggression regarding the territorial disputes in the South China Sea, the international community has imposed a series of sanctions. Current literature only focuses on how the law will shape the Hong Kong society, but has not contemplated how the law will affect the geopolitical economies among Southeast Asian and East Asian countries. This project aims to examine the potential ripple effect of the implementation of the National Security Law in Hong Kong on SEA and EA countries. It will firstly discuss how the NSL has affected the independence of Hong Kong’s financial position and its legislative system. Secondary data analysis will then take place to examine whether Hong Kong will be replaced by other cities as a financial hub, as well as whether the ‘weakened’ Hong Kong has stimulated other economies.

    Notes to applicants:
    As different responsive measures will be taken by the international community, research associates are not only expected to source relevant literature and data but also to keep up to date on the topic. They are also expected to participate in research design discussions. Quantitative research skills (e.g. mathematical and statistical analysis) are desirable. Familiarity with data analysis would be helpful to the project. Qualitative skills are also needed to examine literature and maneuver around debates regarding the topic.

    4 Crisis management and Political Institutions – Evidence from the Covid-19 Pandemic.

    The Covid-19 pandemic has tested political systems around the world. The economic, political and social implications of the pandemic are far-reaching and provide an opportunity to analyse the varying degrees of success in national governments’ responses to Covid-19. This paper asks if certain political institutions can help us explain the large variation in government success in response to the global pandemic.

    By looking at relevant political institutions such as selection mechanisms, state capacity, regime type, state legitimacy, and state transparency, we will try to uncover correlation between effective covid-19 responses and these types of political institutions using linear regression analysis. We will also examine theoretical frameworks as to how state capacity and state accountability come into conflict and in what ways this tension affects crisis management. On the basis of this theoretical groundwork, we will employ statistical methods to investigate the link between certain political institutions of states and their ability to handle the pandemic effectively. While quantitative analysis will be an important part of this project, a good understanding of the theoretical aspects of political institutions is key. Therefore, prospective team members should have a keen interest in comparative studies of political institutions. This paper will have a real chance to take part in a discussion about how national governments should be organised to best deal with the looming threats of global crises.

    Notes to applicants:
    Relevant Skills:
    – A keen interest in public health, political economy, and comparative politics
    – Some knowledge of basic statistical methods (regression)

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