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  3. PhD candidate “Convention Conventions. Routines and Rituals in International Scientific Conferences, 1910-1960” at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Department of History & STS Programme, Maastricht University (1,0 fte, 3 years)

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PhD candidate “Convention Conventions. Routines and Rituals in International Scientific Conferences, 1910-1960” at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Department of History & STS Programme, Maastricht University (1,0 fte, 3 years)

The project is part of the European research collaboration “The Scientific Conference: A Social, Cultural, and Political History”, involving several international partners.

3 maanden geleden


Brusselsestraat, Maastricht, Limburg
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 uur
€ 2325 - € 2972 per maand


Today international conferences are standard features of scientific life. Since their emergence in the nineteenth century some 170 000 of them are estimated to have taken place. Still the reasons for this rise and the functions that conferences have fulfilled in scientific practice are unclear and have rarely been studied.

In a joint research project, funded by HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area), an international team of scholars from four different institutes will investigate the history of the scientific conference. They see it not as a background for other, ‘real’ action, but as a phenomenon to be grasped in itself. What happened at international scientific conferences? How have they exchanged knowledge and shaped expertise? How have conferences embodied social hierarchies and international relations?

The PhD project will look at conferences as forms of sociability. The PhD candidate will examine the development of conference culture from early to mid-twentieth century, especially the role of rituals and routines (such as toasts, keynotes, excursions, and lady programmes) in academic community formation and knowledge production. The focus will likely be on conferences in chemistry as a typical scientific field. Relevant archival materials are kept at the Science History Institute in Philadelphia, USA, where the candidate will spend a few months’ time. Within these parameters, s/he gets to carve out a more specific project.

The larger European framework provides a rich and stimulating international research environment. The PhD candidate will contribute to regular team meetings and joint academic publications. S/he will also receive individual supervision and extensive training by the Graduate School of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and the Netherlands Graduate Research School for Science, Technology and Modern Culture (WTMC) or the Huizinga Institute for Cultural History.


You hold a MA/MSc degree in history of science, science and technology studies, (historical) sociology or anthropology or a related discipline (or are expected to obtain such a degree by 31 August 2019). You have received excellent grades and you have an obvious interest in academic research, particularly historical or (micro)sociological approaches. You are capable of autonomously conducting original research as well as working in a team. You are fluent in English; knowledge of other languages such as French, German or Russian is an asset.


We offer a dynamic and challenging job in an internationally-oriented organisation where young people receive an advanced education and scholars conduct exciting research. She / he will be part of an international network of top universities and renowned scholars within the field.

We offer a 3 year full-time appointment as PhD student. The first year will be a probation period, after a positive assessment the position will be extended with another 2 years.

Remuneration will be according to standard salary levels for PhD students starting with a salary of € 2.325,00 with a yearly growth to € 2.835,00 gross a month (based on a full-time appointment). Each year the standard salary is supplemented with a holiday allowance of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%.

You have to be willing to move to (the vicinity of) Maastricht. If you do not already live in Maastricht (or its direct surroundings) you will be eligible for an allowance for moving costs. You may also be eligible for an allowance for alternative housing. Other secondary conditions include e.g. a pension scheme and partially paid parental leave.

You will be provided with shared office space and a PC.

The terms of employment of Maastricht University are set out in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Furthermore, local UM provisions also apply. For more information look at the website: www.maastrichtuniversity.nl > Support > UM employees.

Preferred starting date: 31 May 2019.

Additionele informatie

European project

The European collaboration that frames the PhD project involves four partners, located at: Uppsala University, Sweden; Birkbeck University, London; the Centre Alexandre Koyré in Paris; and Maastricht University, the Netherlands. Each partner consists of one principal investigator and one other researcher, and examines one dimension of conferences in history: social stratification, geopolitics, setting, and ritual, respectively. The partners will stay in close touch, meet twice a year, and produce individual as well as joint publications. Five Associate Partners (museums and academic institutions) offer support and societal embedding, the Science History Institute in Philadelphia being one of them. The project also runs an outreach programme.

The Maastricht leg consists of the PhD candidate and dr. Geert Somsen (PI). Any inquiries about the position or the project may be addressed to him: g.somsen@maastrichtuniversity.nl.

Further information on the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is available on our website: www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/fasos.