Vacancy: Research assistant peace, security and resilience

40 hours/week

Are you interested in how Europe and Africa engage in peace and security? And do you have experience in policy-oriented research or working on peace and security issues? We are looking for a research assistant to join our team in Maastricht.

Who are we?

The European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) is a leading independent ‘think and do tank’ that wants to make policies in Europe and Africa work for inclusive and sustainable development. We have two offices: one in Maastricht and one in Brussels.

Our more than 60 staff members from over 25 countries worldwide provide independent research, advice and practical support to policymakers, advisors and practitioners in Europe, Africa and beyond. Our focus is on EU foreign policy and policies related to digital affairs, climate and green transformation, peace and security, migration, governance, sustainable food systems, regional integration, business, finance and trade.

About the peace, security and resilience team

Recent years have witnessed a steep rise in conflicts, increased (geo)political competition and instability, forced displacement and the undeniable effects of the climate crisis, especially in fragile contexts. These trends undermine the objectives of sustainable development and durable peace. Our peace, security and resilience team promotes the transition of fragile and conflict-affected countries towards peaceful, well-governed and prosperous societies, and encourages a strategic peace and security partnership between Africa and Europe. For more information, have a look at ECDPM’s 2024-2025 work plan.

What will you be doing?

As a research assistant in the peace, security and resilience team, you will:

  • Help us undertake (qualitative and quantitative) research and deliver high-quality and timely analytical inputs to the team. 
  • Support the team by undertaking research, setting up interviews, summarising policy documents, providing analytical support and drafting sections of policy papers or reports.
  • In certain circumstances and with clear supervision, write sections for or co-author commentaries and policy briefs. For exceptional writers there are opportunities to write short single-author articles or commentaries.
  • Help us develop presentations, operational guidelines or training materials.
  • Keep an up-to-date and well-organised overview of relevant policy debates.
  • Attend relevant conferences, seminars and events and report back in a timely and clear manner.
  • Help us reach out to African and European partners and audiences and find relevant individuals and institutions to ensure that they are informed about our work.
  • Help us organise strategic events or dialogue activities.
  • Help us put together tender documents or funding proposals. 
  • Attend and actively participate in team meetings and ECDPM centre-wide meetings.
  • Provide research assistance to cross-team or centre-wide initiatives.

 Depending on your experience and in accordance with the needs of ECDPM’s other teams, other activities may be assigned to your portfolio as well.
You will report to the head of the peace, security and resilience team. You will be based in our head office in Maastricht, with an option to work partially from home.

Who are we looking for?

The candidate we are looking for: 

  • Has a master’s degree with excellent academic scores in conflict and security studies, international relations, EU studies, development studies, economics, or in another relevant social science or humanities discipline.
  • Has a good overview of and keen interest in global, African and European debates on development, peace and security, and the interactions between fragility/crises, conflict and development.
  • Has knowledge of the global development landscape, including frameworks like the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and their peace and security-related objectives as well as the EU and member state engagement on conflict prevention, peacebuilding and (military and civilian) security support.
  • Has at least one year of relevant working experience in the area of peace, conflict and security. 
  • Has well-developed research, writing, editing, analytical and synthesis skills, and knows how to structure arguments in a clear and policy-relevant manner.
  • Is familiar with using social media and other communication tools in a professional context.
  • Pays attention to detail and is committed to delivering excellent work. 
  • Is willing to learn and proactive in looking for relevant documents and data online, and summarising key points for research outputs.
  • Is fluent in English and French. 
  • Can confirm the right to live and work in Maastricht, the Netherlands (as an EU national or with a valid Dutch permit already in place).

Besides the required qualifications listed above, the following qualifications are considered a plus:

  • Work experience related to the European Union or the African Union, particularly in the area of peace and security.
  • Experience with supporting one or more research projects and researchers in a fast-paced environment. 
  • Effective verbal communication skills and the ability to present work clearly and communicate relevant policy developments to colleagues in a timely manner.
  • Experience with (co-)organising international events or meetings with civil society, business representatives and/or official bodies.
  • A good understanding of (how to mainstream) gender in policy research and action. 
  • Living or working experience in African countries. 
  • Knowledge of other European languages besides English and French.

What do we offer you?

  • A one-year contract for 40 hours a week, with the possibility of extension upon good performance, depending on budget availability.
  • A competitive salary package commensurate with experience.
  • A holiday and an end-of-year allowance.
  • A generous leave package of 47.6 days per calendar year, based on a 40-hour work week.
  • An individual professional development budget of 0.2% of your salary per year.
  • A lot of room to grow and learn. 
  • A home in an international and dynamic organisation.
  • Flexible working hours and the possibility to work from home. 
  • A collegial working environment with centre-wide activities for staff.
  • An exciting working environment focussed on addressing pressing international challenges.

How to apply?

If you are interested in the position, please send (1) a motivation letter and (2) your CV to Chrissy van den Wildenberg at before Friday 19 April 2024, 12:00 CET. The subject line of your application should read: ‘Application research assistant peace, security and resilience’. We will only look at applications that are on time, complete and in English.
Selected candidates will be invited for an interview on Monday 6 May and will be asked to complete an additional written analytical assessment remotely, before the interview.
The preferred starting period is June 2024.

More information

If you would like to receive more information about working at ECDPM, please get in touch with Chrissy van den Wildenberg at For more information about the position, you can write to Sophie Desmidt at

If you want to know more about ECDPM and our areas of work, please have a look at our website

Privacy statement

We will treat the information you submit with respect. We will store your information on a confidential section of our cloud storage, which is only accessible by our human resources and ICT departments, as well as members of the digital economy and governance team. After the vacancy has closed, we will keep your information in our system for one year. After this period, your details will be deleted. If you wish that we do not keep your details after the vacancy deadline has passed, you may indicate this in your application. For more information, have a look at our privacy policy.


Learn more about our peace, security and resilience team.

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