Five two-year post-doctoral research positions

 The Faculty of Humanities, Leiden University, invites applications for:

Five two-year post-doctoral research positions (1.0 fte) in the Humanities

The Faculty of Humanities of Leiden University invites applications for five two-year full-time post-doctoral research positions in the Humanities, to begin no later than 1 December 2022. The positions are divided over themes from the Faculty's Strategic Plan: one position for Environmental Humanities, two positions for Methodologies of the Humanities, and two positions that are tied to the Netherlands Institute in Morocco, as specified below.
The projects
The five positions have been divided over five different research areas concurrent with the strategic plan of the university. Within these areas, you are invited to propose your own concrete research project. The projects have been divided over the five Institutes of the Faculty of Humanities and the NIMAR, most often in appointments that span more than one institute.
Project 1: Environmental Humanities (History / LIAS)
The Institute for History and the Institute for Area Studies are looking for a project within the rapidly developing field of Environmental Humanities. We welcome proposals on any aspect of climate and the environment with a clear historical dimension and a concrete focus on the Middle East or Asia.
Project 2: Moving People, Moving Things: Migrant Stories between Morocco and the Netherlands (NIMAR / LUCAS / ASCL)
The Netherlands Institute in Morocco, in collaboration with the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society and the African Studies Centre Leiden, are looking for a postdoctoral researcher who will explore the possibilities for connections and exchanges between the Netherlands and Morocco, with a focus on how migrant heritage between the two countries can be understood through the movement of cultural artefacts, such as daily objects, games, art, literature, and media, as material carriers and movers of contemporary heritage. We are looking for a colleague who will apply a mixed methods approach, including ethnography and co-creation with citizens (e.g., through play) and who will research how material traces of Moroccan culture are palpable and productive in Dutch urban culture, and vice versa. It is important that Moroccan migrants in the Netherlands will be involved as active participants in the project, and will be invited to contribute their own artefacts, stories, and narratives.
Project 3: Developing a Graduate Students Field School in Morocco (NIMAR / Faculty of Humanities / ASCL)
The Netherlands Institute in Morocco, in collaboration with all institutes from the Faculty of Humanities and the African Studies Centre Leiden, intends to develop a field school aimed at MA and doctoral students in Morocco that will explicitly focus on peer learning of students from various disciplines, such as linguistics, African studies, Middle Eastern studies, history, archaeology, anthropology, museum and heritage studies, biology, etc. Students from the Netherlands would work together with Moroccan students on a specific site and theme, to which they would bring their various competences, skills, and disciplines. We welcome proposals on one of the two following themes: 1) port cities on the Moroccan Atlantic coast, in which we can find traces of shared Dutch Moroccan heritage, and which at the moment enjoy considerable government investments; or 2) the management of natural resources, new social debates, and sustainable development goals.
Project 4: Methodologies in the Humanities: Open Humanities in a Digital World (LUCAS / LUCL / Philosophy)
The Humanities have a key, but under-used, role to play in fast-moving technological developments. For this we need to innovate existing methodologies as well as create new ones that combine an increased call for openness, actionable insights, and new digital technologies with the complex, contextual, and historical frameworks that are characteristic of large parts of the Humanities. For this project, we are looking for a colleague who will design ways to create synergies between widely adopted data principles (FAIR: Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) and research goals (SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) and the contextual and not easily quantifiable data that are characteristic of parts of the Humanities.
Project 5: Methodologies in the Humanities: Inclusive and Adaptive Communicative Artificial Intelligence (LUCL / LUCAS / Philosophy)
Current AI-based dialogue systems are mostly inadequate for dealing with differences in literacy, digital skills, age, and gender. Previous research has shown that adaptivity in style and linguistic registers is essential for humans to accept AI-based information provision. Such systems would contribute to inclusive information provisioning. For this project, we are looking for a researcher who will focus on the sociolinguistic markers that should prompt an AI-based dialogue system to adapt itself linguistically and paralinguistically (e.g., through sentiment, or stylistically) to the human it communicates with.

You can only send in a proposal for one of the five themes. Please make sure that you have mentioned the correct project number and name before submitting your application. In a first round of evaluation, all projects will be assessed by one committee composed of representatives from all institutes of the Faculty and the NIMAR. Selected proposals will then be evaluated by individual panels of experts. Interviews are part of the application process.

Key responsibilities: 
-    Original research leading to high-quality publications through appropriate channels;
-    Limited duties in teaching, to a maximum of 20 % of the appointment, in various programmes across the Humanities;
-    Initiatives to stimulate interdisciplinary work across Institute boundaries.
Selection criteria:
-    A completed PhD in a relevant field: PhD dissertation must be successfully defended before 1 November 2022;
-    A compelling research agenda that fits one of the proposed themes, as evident from a realistic and concrete project proposal including a time-planning and suggested outcomes;
-    A publication record that is commensurate with career stage;
-    A strong affinity with and capacity for teamwork in a multi-disciplinary, intercultural, and multi-ethnic work environment;
-    The ability to disseminate research findings to wider audiences.
Our organisation
Since its founding in 1575, Leiden University has built an internationally recognized record of excellence in teaching and research. The Faculty of Humanities is an international center for the study of languages, cultures, arts, and societies worldwide, in their historical contexts from prehistory to the present. We take culture broadly to include religions, philosophies, and worldviews as well as literature art, and technology. In research and teaching, we focus on Dynamics of Diversity, meaning the mobility of people, language, culture, ideas, art, and institutions in a globalizing world, and their interconnectivity through the ages. The Faculty is home to well over 8000 students and 1000 academics. It offers 26 BA programs and 27 MA programs. The Graduate School annually awards about 70 PhD degrees.
Terms and conditions

We offer 1.0 fte positions for initially one year. In case of good performance, the contract will be extended for one year. 
Salary ranges from € 2,960.- to € 5,439.- gross per month (pay scale 10/11) based on fulltime employment in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities and commensurate with qualifications and experience. 
Depending on qualifications, you may start at the appropriate step in scale 10 until you fully meet the requirements for scale 11 as specified by the Faculty of Humanities, particularly with regard to the number of years of relevant work experience. 
Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3%) and training and career development. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. For more information, see
Diversity and inclusion are core values of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop their full potential. Diversity in experiences and perspectives enriches our teaching and strengthens our research. High quality teaching and research is inclusive.
Queries can be directed to Marcel Belderbos, senior policy advisor of the Faculty of Humanities, email:, or to Professor Albert de Jong, Academic Director of the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies, email: 
Applications must be received no later than 13 August 2022. Applications should be in English and be submitted via the blue button in our application system. Please ensure that you include the following documents in one single PDF document named “FAMILY name – Given name – Vacancy number –  number and name of the project” in this order:
-    A letter of motivation, including a personal vision for the development of the relevant field
-    A CV including education and employment history, publications, language skills, invited talks and presentations and courses taught
-    A two-page concrete and realistic project proposal that fits the broad description of the position for which you apply
Interviews with shortlisted candidates are tentatively scheduled for the week of 29 August – 2 September.

Apply now

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