Call for Applications: CATS Fellowship 2024/2025

The Centre for Applied Turkey Studies (CATS) at Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin, is offering fellowships to post-doctoral researchers, think tank members, and practitioners working on Turkey-related issues. Researchers who have not yet completed their PhD but have a solid track record in research on Turkey may also apply.

For the funding period 2024/2025, CATS is offering fellowships on the following topics:

Topic 1: What is Turkey’s role in the multiple crises in Middle East and North Africa (MENA)?

Possible research questions include:

  • In a region of often interconnected armed conflicts, what are the implications of Turkish arms sales and cooperation for regional stability and alliance-building in the MENA? What leverage does Turkey gain from it? How do Turkey’s aspirations to a role as regional mediator relate to its defence industry ambitions? 
  • The security landscape of the MENA region has changed in the past decade. Does Turkey have a grand strategy to navigate these changes? How do the Turkish ruling elites perceive the changing security landscape in the MENA? What are their regional threat perceptions, in particular in relation to the war in Gaza and other armed conflicts surrounding the Eastern Mediterranean?
  • Iran-Turkey relations are shaped by cooperation and rivalry. How might the new dynamics in the Eastern Mediterranean, as underlined by the new phase in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, affect Turkey-Iran relations? How could their rivalry and cooperation play out in Iraq and Syria?  
  • How do the interests of Turkey and the EU overlap in the Mediterranean and the Middle East? To what extent can Turkey’s relations with Europe be harnessed for conflict resolution in the MENA? To what extent does Turkey’s regional policy create obstacles in its relations with the EU?

Topic 2: How does Turkey position itself in a changing global system?

Possible research questions include:

  • What is Turkey's vision for expanding its regional and global influence (often referred to as the “century of Turkey”)? How do these aspirations shape its foreign policy behaviour and relations with other powers?
  • How does Turkey’s foreign policy relate to the liberal rules-based international order, in particular concerning its relations with the United States, the European Union and NATO? What are the implications of great power competition and shifting global dynamics for Ankara’s positioning in this context?
  • What interests are shared between Turkey and Western powers, and where do they diverge? How can shared interests be better leveraged for mutual benefit? 
  • In what ways do Turkish public opinion, media coverage and a sense of being “taken for granted” by the West influence Ankara’s foreign policy decision-making? How do Turkey’s evolving economic, military and technological capabilities shape its pursuit of greater autonomy and influence on the regional and global stage? 

Topic 3: How do structural changes in the global economy affect economic ties between the EU and Turkey?

Possible research questions include:

  • Industrial policy is making a comeback – globally and in Europe. What kind of Turkish industrial upgrading is needed? How can individual sectors benefit from this development and be integrated into EU-Turkey economic relations?
  • What is Turkey’s potential for benefitting from technological and corporate reshoring in Europe and what does it take for Turkey to fulfil this potential? 
  • What is the potential for greater EU-Turkey cooperation on connectivity?
  • How can EU-Turkey economic and trade relations be insulated from autocratisation in Turkey and the overall deterioration of the EU-Turkey relationship?
  • What do capital inflows of non-Western origin mean for the trajectory of the Turkish economy and Turkey-EU economic relations? Can Gulf states, Russia or China replace economic relations with the EU? 

Topic 4: What do Turkey’s socio-political challenges mean for Europe-Turkey relations?

Possible research questions include:

  • How do socio-economic changes (such as access to education and health services, employment trends, labour migration and earthquake reconstruction) affect different constituencies in Turkish society? 
  • What specific ideological shifts and emerging trends have been observed among Turkish youth in recent years and what factors contribute to these changes? In what specific ways do economic factors such as employment prospects and income inequality impact the ideological perspectives of Turkish youth across different socio-economic and geographic backgrounds? 
  • How do significant European ideologies and movements, such as nationalism, liberalism, and green politics, affect the ideological outlooks of today’s Turkish youth, and how do these events contribute to broader social and political transformations in Turkey? How has the ongoing debate on Israel and Gaza impacted Turkish perceptions of “the West”?

Applicants are required to provide evidence of extensive research experience and significant publications. 

The selected CATS fellows are given the opportunity to collaborate with CATS and SWP colleagues. Research results will appear in the form of peer-reviewed CATS and SWP publications. The working languages are English and/or German.

Fellowships will be granted for a period of six to twelve months, starting in September 2024 at the earliest. Fellows are encouraged to reside in Berlin for the duration of their fellowship (naturally excepting research trips). Fellows will receive a monthly grant of €2,800, travel costs to and from Berlin at the beginning and end of the fellowship, and a budget for research trips. If a fellow’s children will be residing in Berlin during the fellowship, additional support is available.

Applications must be submitted in the form of a single PDF document containing the following elements (in the specified order) in English or German:

  • A cover letter;
  • A written proposal describing the applicant’s project (not to exceed five pages, 2 cm margin, 1.5 spaced, 12pt Times New Roman font). This proposal must include:
  • A discussion of the research/project topic, relevant research questions/project objectives and an explanation of the academic and policy relevance of the project; 
  • An overview of the state of research in the field;
  • An overview of the theoretical and methodological approaches; 
  • A bibliography;
  • A CV including a list of academic publications;
  • Copies of relevant academic transcripts and/or diplomas (no translations needed).

Applications will be evaluated by a panel consisting of CATS team members, other experts from SWP, and experts from partner institutions that have not themselves applied for funding.

The panel will place particular emphasis on the following criteria:

  • Academic and professional merit based on the applicant’s publications and work experience;
  • Academic and political relevance to the research fields;
  • Coherence and feasibility; 
  • Value of the project’s public outreach dimension.

The deadline for 2024 Fellowship applications is 16 June 2024. Please email your application to CATS@swp-berlin.org. Incomplete applications will not be considered. 

For more information about the CATS Network, please see: https://www.cats-network.eu/ 

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