FELLOWSHIP: Drugs, Security and Democracy Fellowship

The Drugs, Security and Democracy (DSD) Program fellowship is designed to support short-term research that contributes to the literature on drugs in Latin America and the Caribbean on topics and countries that are central to drug policy discussions in the region and beyond.

The competition is open to applicants conducting research in Latin America or the Caribbean who are fully embedded in and committed to the region, and whose research focus has a clear and central connection to the field of drugs and to formulating sound drug policy. Successful applicants will be those whose work and interests best match, and who demonstrate a long-term commitment to, these program goals.

In addition to conducting individual research, DSD fellows should contribute to the development of a global interdisciplinary network of researchers engaged with drug policy and communicate their findings to relevant audiences over the course of their careers.


DSD-funded research must address the primary theme of drugs in Latin America or the Caribbean. Proposals must demonstrate the potential for the research to contribute to a sound and credible knowledge base for informed advocacy and decision-making for drug policy. For the current fellowship competition, applications must address one of the following topics:

  • Drug policy / legal reform, including different depenalization, decriminalization, legalization, and regulation approaches as well as country-specific obstacles to reform
  • Marijuana, including legalization for medical use
  • Impact of drug laws on prison systems, including costs associated with pretrial detention for drugs
  • The dynamics and relationships between legal pharmaceutical drug markets and illicit drug production, including barriers to access and incentives/disincentives for producers
  • Drug policy and the peace process in Colombia
  • Analysis of institutional resource distribution between criminal and public health approaches to drug use
  • Drug economy and its dynamics

Preference will be given to candidates researching the aforementioned topics in Brazil, Caribbean countries, Central American countries, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay.

At the end of their fellowship tenure, fellows present to the program the results of their DSD-funded research along with a tentative plan for its dissemination. The program will work with fellows to choose an appropriate research deliverable, considering their fields, from the following list:

  • Research paper
  • Policy brief or white paper
  • In-depth news article or investigation
  • Proposal for legal reform
  • Multimedia production

In order to solidify and increase the knowledge of the region’s main actors in the drug field, DSD fellows are required, in the course of their research, to identify key stakeholders and any research gaps in the drug field in their research countries, as applicable.


Applications are welcome from midcareer and senior researchers/scholars conducting research in Latin America and the Caribbean that addresses issues with a clear and central connection to the field of drugs and to formulating sound drug policy. Eligible applicants must

  • be fully embedded in and committed to the Latin American and Caribbean region;
  • hold a terminal degree in their field of study or clearly demonstrate equivalent research experience related to the field of drugs, with at least a bachelor’s degree in any discipline;
  • focus on one of the topics indicated in the section above; and
  • if proposing to conduct research in a nonnative language, provide evidence of sufficient language proficiency to carry out the project.

Preference in the selection process will be given to candidates

  • who are citizens of a Latin American or Caribbean country and are living and working in the region; and
  • whose research projects focus on one of the countries listed in the section above.


The DSD Program provides support for a minimum of three and a maximum of six months of research in Latin America and the Caribbean, including write-up of the research deliverable. Candidates must spend at least half of their fellowship tenure researching their relevant topic, with the remaining time devoted to writing their research results in one of the deliverable formats to be agreed upon by the program and the candidate.

Fellowship amounts vary depending on the research plan. The fellowship is intended to support an individual researcher, regardless of whether that individual is working alone or in collaboration with others. DSD fellowships do not offer support for dependents.

The fellowship includes mandatory participation in one interdisciplinary workshop. The workshop will be organized by the SSRC and held in Latin America in either July or August 2015. Travel and accommodations will be provided by the program. Fellows are required to be active participants in the DSD network and are expected to produce a policy-relevant deliverable in addition to fellowship reports.

Deadline: March 2nd, 2015, at 9 PM EST.

DSD Program is funded by the Open Society Foundations. The program is a partnership between OSF, the SSRC, Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia, and Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas in Mexico. 

Additional Information


Program Staff

For more informatiom visit the website.

First steps in your research: PhD peer review classes

By Jorrit Kamminga, February 2015

During my PhD trajectory, I spent six months in 2011 as a Visiting PhD. Research Scholar at the Department of Sociology of the London School of Economics (LSE). That allowed me to strongly improve both my theoretical framework and research methodology. One element of my scholarship really proved to be of added value: my enrolment in a PhD peer review class. I attended the peer review course (SO500 ‘Aims and Methods’) given by professors Dr Nigel Dodd and Dr Paddy Rawlinson. Such courses intend to help students formulate clear research objectives and methodologies, limit the scope of research to feasible proportions, and come up with a good planning of the research trajectory.

If not already part of the mandatory programme, I strongly advise students to look for such courses themselves, even outside their own faculty (where you may sit in on these courses as observer). If they are not available, the second-best thing is to try and start your own peer review group with a few fellow PhD students. The latter is still very useful, especially if you could talk a professor into joining the group from time to time on an informal basis. The support and feedback of professors is of course very important – especially as most PhD students start off with a plan encompassing ‘three PhDs’ or with unrealistic expectations or methodologies. Your own supervisor will, of course, normally help you avoid research pitfalls, but the feedback of other experienced professors, both within and outside of your research field, is a bonus.

But what is most interesting of peer review courses, especially early on in the PhD process, is the role of the ‘peers’ themselves: your fellow PhD students. They can provide you with ideas on where to focus your research, what additional sources (or theories) may be available, or on how to limit the scope of the research. In addition, they can be a great source of inspiration and motivation, especially as you realise you are not the only one struggling with difficult challenges early on in the research. The latter effect you may also get from talking to fellow students in the pub, but the formal structure of a course works better as you will be asked to present your research in a formal way.

Presenting the initial research methodology and plan to your peers stimulates you to think critically about what you are trying to achieve and how realistic your methodology is. It also gives you a deadline to present a research plan or progress made so far, which forces you to take your research to the next step. Peer review courses work best if students are asked to present their research at least twice, which means progress and the process of addressing challenges can be tracked.

Lastly, listening to and providing feedback on the research of others may also provide you with new ideas. It may even completely change your mind on the size and scope of your own research. I remember that I was quite ‘shocked’ when I heard a student had limited her research area to just one square in a Latin American city. I also remember the work of another student that did her research on the evolution of the concept of the ‘American dream.’ I never had thought about PhD research in terms of such ‘narrow’ (but complex) approaches, and it definitely helped to further narrow down my own research.

Job: Course Instructor, Ecuador Seminar, Trent-in-Ecuador Program

The Department of International Development Studies at Trent University invites applications for an Instructor for a course, entitled ‘Ecuador Seminar’, to be taught in the Fall Semester on site at the Trent-in-Ecuador (TIE) Program in Quito.

The Ecuador Seminar (IDST 3880D) is a third year course in International Development Studies that consists of an examination of the major features of Ecuadorian economic, political and social life, with particular attention to regional and cultural diversity. Responsibilities in addition to course delivery and design (in cooperation with the Trent in Ecuador Director) include conducting occasional field trips.

Salary: $CAD 6956 plus approved  professional expenses, and return airfare to place of domicile if required.

Qualifications: social science expertise on Ecuador, and preferably on the Andean region; PhD (or doctorate near completion) or equivalent as well as ability to work in English and Spanish.

Deadline: March 31, 2015 or until position is filled.  C.V. and two letters of reference should be sent to danagee@trentu.ca

For more information: please contact

Winnie Lem
Professor and Director
Trent-in-Ecuador Program
Tel: 705-748-1011, Ext. 7785
Fax: 705-748-1624
Email: wlem@trentu.ca

For details about Trent’s Department of International Development Studies and the Trent-in-Ecuador Program go to www.trentu.ca/ids

JOB: Academic Coordinator, Trent-in-Ecuador

The Department of International Development Studies at Trent University invites applications for a nine-month position as Academic Coordinator of the Trent-in-Ecuador (TIE) Program in Quito, the capital of Ecuador.

The Academic Coordinator works with a locally based Administrative Coordinator to deliver a comprehensive academic program for students from Trent and other Canadian universities.  Teaching responsibilities include a third-year undergraduate-level course on “Andean Economy, Culture and Society”; teaching and supervising students in a double-credit course in “Community Development” (which involves a 10-week student work placements in the winter term).  Other responsibilities include overseeing 3 other courses taught by local academics and advising students.

Term of appointment: August 10th 2015 to May 10 2016, with the possibility of renewal.  Salary  $CAD 38,890 plus allowances for approved travel and professional expenses.

Qualifications: social science expertise in Latin American studies, preferably in the Andean region; PhD (in hand or near completion) or equivalent, and ability to work in English and Spanish.

Deadline: March 31, 2015 or until position is filled.  C.V. and three letters of reference should be sent to danagee@trentu.ca

For more information, please contact:

Winnie Lem
Professor and Director
Trent-in-Ecuador Program
Tel: 705-748-1011, Ext. 7785
Fax: 705-748-1624
Email: wlem@trentu.ca

For details about Trent’s Department of International Development Studies and the Trent-in-Ecuador Program go to www.trentu.ca/ids.

POST-DOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP: Center for the Study of Violence, University of São Paulo

Post-doctoral fellowships opportunities FAPESP

The Center for the Study of Violence of the University of São Paulo is selecting four post-doctoral fellows to develop research projects in the referred program, with duration of one to three years. The candidates must propose specific projects in one of the following themes (click on each theme to access its work plan).

The Center for the Study of Violence of the University of São Paulo is selecting four post-doctoral fellows to develop research projects in “Building Democracy Daily: human rights, violence and institutional trust” program, with duration of one to three years.

The candidates must propose specific projects in one of the following themes (click on each theme to access its work plan)

1- Public Policies and Innovations – 1 position

2- Innovations in criminal justice and resistance to change – 1 position

3- Reduction of violence, laws and the legitimacy of institutions – 1 position

4 – Theory and methodology in longitudinal studies on legitimacy and institutional trust – 1 position

The objective of the research program is to analyze how the legitimacy of key institutions for democracy is constructed or jeopardized, by exploring the contacts between citizens and civil servants from local public services in representative areas of the city of São Paulo. The study will have a longitudinal nature, in order to enable a deeper comprehension of the phenomena and changes through time.

Access an extended summary of the research programme here

For applications guidelines, click here

The post-doctoral (PD) fellows, from areas in the human sciences such as sociology, political science, anthropology, social psychology, urban studies, law etc., are expected lead theoretical and empirical research in the program, aside from other regular activities such as the organizing seminars, preparing papers, disseminating research results and cooperating with the educational projects.

Application deadline: November 15th, 2014.

FUNDING: Special Programme Security, Society and the State (Gerda Henkel Foundation)

Call for proposals

Colombia: Talking Peace while Waging War

By Caroline Delgado, 4 October 2014

Caroline Delgado

Caroline Delgado

September has been an eventful month for the peace process between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrilla group. In the beginning of the month, an unprovoked FARC attack killing seven police officers caused great outrage among the Colombian population. The attack is the latest of a wave of attacks that the guerrillas have been carrying out since June 2014 as a way of commemorating its 50 years of existence. This notwithstanding, only a week later the government announced the commencement of the 29th round of the peace talks in Havana. Thus as the FARC is increasing its attacks in Colombia, its negotiating team is sitting down with the government in Havana discussing the issue of victims´ rights and reparation – a paradox not easily accepted by the public. Shortly after the last round took off, the government reneged on its commitment to keep the talks confidential and made public the agreements so far reached between the parties during the course of the two years of negotiations. The release of the preliminary agreements sparked a vigorous debate in the media on whether the peace talks are steering the country towards peace or making dangerous appeasements to the guerrillas. Finally, as the month drew to a close, the government´s chief negotiator in Havana denounced that his email accounts, computers and telephone conversations had been illegally hacked into on at least 17 occasions. Evidence points towards members of the armed forces intelligence unit being behind the crime, which has been interpreted by the government as a deliberate attempt to sabotage the peace process.

Despite the many hurdles that have taken place throughout the negotiations, the parties are optimistic that an agreement will be reached. The recent presidential elections, which saw the re-election – albeit narrow – of President Santos were widely interpreted as a vote for peace. Scholars and experts have hailed the current talks as the most thorough and successful as of yet (Gomez-Suarez & Newman, 2013; The Economist). Fundamentally, they conclude, this time round there seems to be a recognition by both parties that their goals cannot be achieved on the battlefield. The government has admitted that it is unlikely to defeat the guerrillas through militarily means only, whereas the FARC has come to realise that they will not be able to gain political power through armed struggle (La Silla Vacia). As opposed to previous negotiation attempts, the Havana talks are focused on a limited and well-defined negotiation addressing five central themes: agrarian reform, drug trafficking, political participation of the guerrillas, victims´ rights and reparation, and the end of the conflict. So far, the parties have reached preliminary agreements on the first three points, while making clear that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. Furthermore, discussions are taking place outside Colombia secluded from the media and the public (that was until a couple of days ago) and adhere to strict procedural rules. Most importantly, the parties are negotiating without any bilateral ceasefire agreement in place.

The purpose of this structure of is to prevent the FARC from using the talks to regroup and mobilise and ultimately emerge as a stronger force, which was precisely what happened during the last peace talks held between 1999 and 2002 in Caguán, Colombia. The disastrous outcomes of the so called Caguán talks, which saw the FARC considerably strengthened and resultantly able to increase its offensive against the State, is an often cited argument by those opposed to the current peace talks. A significant part of the population and powerful segments of the political class fiercely oppose the talks. Favouring a continued military offensive against the guerrillas, they argue that the FARC is in terminal decline and can indeed be defeated through military means. Therefore they see no reasons for negotiating with the guerrillas or granting them any concessions. Furthermore, they argue the continued attacks by the FARC demonstrate its unwillingness to lay down arms and bring the conflict to an end through a negotiated settlement.

Nevertheless, much of the debate around the peace talks is taking place away from those on which the armed conflict has impacted the most. Shifting the lens to that of the conflict affected communities, which is a central aspect of my own research, there seems to be a certain disconnect with the ongoing peace talks. In these communities violence and intimidations are daily realities and peace is not a topic that can be freely discussed. These are areas with a high presence of illegal armed groups fighting each other for control, of which the FARC is but one of many. These same areas are consequently also on the radar of the state armed forces in their quest to assert control and neutralise the illegal groups. Nevertheless, the void left as one group is eliminated or driven out from the area is quickly filled by another. Meanwhile, community members are accused of and targeted for being supporters of the group that was previously in control.  Although many communities have tried to organise and resist, for example by forming human rights collectives, victim- and farmer associations, their work is precarious. Only this year, in the midst of the peace talks, 40 human rights defenders and victims´ leaders have been murdered and over 300 have received death threats, often accused of being guerrilla supporters (Semana, UNDP). Forced displacements, disappearances and homicides continue to add on a daily basis to the more than 6.5 million registered victims of the conflict. In recognition of the plight of the victims, the government has made efforts to include their voices in the peace talks. Nevertheless, the selection process that determined the 60 people to represent the millions of victims created yet further divisions and feelings of exclusion and misrepresentation. More worryingly, as one analyst put it, it has led to a form of double victimisation as victims through their exposure in the peace process become the target of threats and assignations all over again (Semana).

The Colombian government may well be on the verge of reaching a peace agreement with the FARC. Though while there can be little doubt that most Colombians wants peace, there seems to be little discussions however on what kind of peace that can be expected and for whom. This is not least so in the marginalised communities that have borne the brunt of the half a century long armed conflict. True that the FARC is the oldest and probably largest illegal armed group in Colombia, though it is far from the only one. The impact on local security dynamics of a potential FARC withdrawal – in whichever form that make take  – seems to be a question left hanging in the air. In the meantime, the negotiations continue. As does the war.


Gomez-Suarez, A., & Newman, J. (2013). Safeguarding Political Guarantees in the Colombian Peace Process: have Santos and Farc learnt the lessons from the past? Third World Quarterly, 34(5), 819–837.