History of Medicine/Medical Humanities PhD opportunity

The University of Groningen in the Netherlands has a generous PhD position available. We are offering a four-year studentship to complete a PhD within a joint interdisciplinary project led by Prof. Rina Knoeff and Prof. Valentina Gallo. The proposed PhD research plan will be embedded in the department of History at the Faculty of Arts and Campus Fryslân.

The PhD project is located at the crossroads of medical history and public health and has been formulated in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic painfully shows that epidemics represent both a societal and a medical problem. They act as catalysts of social inequities, political impotence, and ecological crisis. As we increasingly consider how to adapt to the virus, so also it increases the call for new sustainable health models that include into the strategy planetary health, social justice, and the preservation of health. In relation to the UG theme of healthy societies and the strategic plan of the Aletta Jacobs School for Public Health, we aim at involving historical ‘models’ of preventive/lifestyle medicine in designing this ’new better normal’.

We invite proposals for a PhD project on the history of lifestyle medicine and/or preventive health, preferably in the period 1650 - 1900. The proposal must consider environmental and social aspects and be formulated in conversation with recent trends in medical and health humanities.


The PhD student is expected:

• to have a thorough training in research skills in history of medicine, or any other field within the medical/health humanities
• To have a completed MA degree related to one of the areas mentioned above with an excellent academic record (MA thesis grade: min. 8/10)
• to have a special interest in interdisciplinarity and willingness to bridge between history of medicine and contemporary practice of public health
• to be fluent in English (both oral and written)
• to be able and willing to work in an interdisciplinary environment
• to be able to finish the PhD thesis in four years
• to enjoy planning, taking initiative, and academic writing; and
• to have a desire to publish.


Since its foundation in 1614, the University of Groningen has enjoyed an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative center of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Balanced study and career paths in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 36,000 students and researchers to develop their own individual talents. Belonging to the best research universities in Europe and joining forces with prestigious partner universities and networks, the University of Groningen is truly an international place of knowledge.


The successful candidate will receive a scholarship € 2,249 gross per month. You will be required to be resident in Groningen.

General information about the University of Groningen’s PhD scholarship programme can be found here: https://www.rug.nl/(...)ditions-application/

The preferred starting date is 1 January 2022


Your application (uploaded in one pdf) should include:

• a brief letter of motivation
• a CV, including contact details of two academic referees
• a research proposal of up to 2,000 words, covering (a) state of the art, (b) main research question, key objectives, and relevance, (c) the proposed (methodological) approach, and (d) the proposed timetable for the writing of your thesis. This proposal should correspond to the project description above
• a writing sample of no more than 5,000 words, such as an essay or part of a Master’s thesis
• certified official transcripts of your academic degrees.

Official documents must be in the English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese or Dutch language. Any translation of originals not in these languages must be authenticated.

We recommend you contact either Rina Knoeff, or Valentina Gallo before applying for the Scholarship.

You may apply for this position until 7 November 11:59 pm / 8 November 2021 Dutch local time by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

Note that the procedure will include interviews. Selected candidates will be invited for an interview via online conferencing. Interviews are scheduled to take place 10 November 2021.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our University. We are committed to building a diverse faculty so you are encouraged to apply. Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP), https://www.nvp-hrnetwerk.nl/sollicitatiecode/ and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers, https://euraxess.ec.europa.eu/jobs/charter/code

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.


For information you can contact Nadja Zadorina (for questions regarding the submission procedure).