PhD/Postdoc Anchoring Innovation in the Philosophical Schools of the Empire (1.0 FTE)

PhD/Postdoc Anchoring Innovation in the Philosophical Schools of the Empire (1.0 FTE)

Published Deadline Location
25 Jan 24 Apr Utrecht

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We are looking for a PhD or Postdoc position in the Anchoring Innovation in the Philosophical Schools of the Empire.

Job description

The research programme in classical studies ‘Anchoring Innovation in the Philosophical Schools of the Empire’ studies the way in which ‘the new’ is made acceptable and understandable to relevant social groups in a process of ‘anchoring’. The new is frequently anchored in ‘cultural common ground’. In this work package of the Anchoring Innovation research programme, we study how the notion of cultural common ground (as opposed to personal common ground) can help explain different aspects of the coming-into-being of the Roman empire. The overarching issue for this WP, then, is precisely the role of cultural common ground as an anchor for self-understanding and identity-formation.

In the period of the Roman Empire, developments in the ancient philosophical schools were often ‘anchored’ in the Hellenistic period. In that period (and later), ancient philosophers tended to present their innovations as following from the work or thought of their school’s founder or constructed a philosophical pedigree reaching back even further. At the same time, there were philosophers who rejected past masters (cf Epicurus’ attitude to Socrates). Alongside instances of successful innovation there were less successful or failed attempts at innovation (cf the Cyrenaic school). Both the internal dynamics of philosophy and its interaction with society need to be taken into account.
Applicants will develop a research proposal for either a dissertation (PhD candidates) or a monograph or series of articles (ca. four) (Postdoc) concerned with one or more (related) cases of philosophical innovation in preferably the Imperial Period. The choice of subject is open, within the constraints posed by this periodization and the theme of the Anchoring Innovation programme.

We invite structured PhD/PD proposals (title, research question, scholarly background, aims, method, corpus) in which candidates may choose their own reseach questions to address this broad topic. More information about the Anchoring Innovation research programme can be found on the website ( Another good starting point to get acquainted with the research programme is an article by Ineke Sluiter, entitled “Anchoring Innovation: a Classical Research Agenda”.


Utrecht University


Tasks of the PhD candidate will include:

  • Completion of a PhD thesis within the contract period;
  • Participation in meetings of the project research group(s);
  • Presentations of intermediate research results at workshops and conferences;
  • Participation in the training programme of the local Graduate School, the National Research School in Classics (OIKOS) and the wider Anchoring Innovation programme;
  • Participation in staff meetings of the Utrecht philosopy programme and the intellectual life of the department and the institute;
  • Some teaching in the second and third years of the appointment.

Requirements for PhD candidates:
  • An RMA, MA or MPhil degree in Classics or Philosophy, held by time of appointment, with an MA thesis of high quality with a grade of at least 8.0 on a ten-point scale, or comparable assessment (if the degree is not yet obtained at the time of application, a statement by the applicant’s supervisor should confirm that it will be obtained by time of appointment);
  • Well-developed research skills, including the ability to formulate relevant and creative research questions and hypotheses, descriptive and analytical skills, and a clear and persuasive style of writing;
  • Knowledge of Latin and Greek if degree is in a different field than Classics;
  • Excellent competence in the methodology of humanities research and in English, as well as a reading competence in French and German;
  • Independent thinker, team player;
  • Grit.

Tasks of the Postdoc will include:
  • Completion of a monograph or, alternatively, at least three substantial articles within the contract period;
  • Presenting papers at conferences, both in the Netherlands and internationally;
  • Participation in staff meetings of the Utrecht Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, and the intellectual life of the department and the institute;
  • Participation in the academic community of the national research school OIKOS, and the wider Anchoring Innovation project;
  • Some teaching (max. 10%).

Requirements for PD candidates:
  • A PhD in Ancient Philosophy or Classics (or proof that the dissertation is finished);
  • An excellent research and publication record in relation to stage of career;
  • A strong cooperative attitude and willingness to engage in collaborative research;
  • Some organizational experience;
  • Excellent command of written and spoken English;
  • Competence in ancient Greek and Latin, as required by the research topic;
  • Willingness to move to the Netherlands for the duration of the contract.

Conditions of employment

PhD project, 4 years (1.0 FTE, 38 hrs per week), starting date to be agreed upon, with a preference for September 1, 2023.  Initially, a contract will be given for 18 months, with an extension for the following 30 months on condition of good performance and a positive evaluation. The appointment must lead to the completion of a PhD thesis. Salary range from €2,541 to €3,247 gross per month for a fulltime appointment (pay scale for PhDs, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Postdoc project, 3 years (1.0 FTE, 38 hrs per week), starting date to be agreed upon, with a preference for September 1, 2023. Initially the employee will receive a one-year contract, with extension for the following 2 years on condition of a positive evaluation. Salary range (depending on education and experience) of a minimum of €3,974 and a maximum of €5,439 (salary scale 11) gross per month for full-time employment, (pay scale for postdoctoral researchers, in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities). This includes medical and pension benefits. If desired, the position may be held part-time and thereby extended in length.

Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University.

Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. Please note that if the successful candidate is not already registered as living in the Netherlands, it is required that the candidate will officially relocate to the Netherlands on the starting date of the contract at the latest.


A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

The Faculty of Humanities has around 7,000 students and 1,100 staff members. It comprises four knowledge domains: Philosophy and Religious Studies, History and Art History, Media and Culture Studies, and Languages, Literature and Communication. With its research and education in these fields, the Faculty aims to contribute to a better understanding of the Netherlands and Europe in a rapidly changing social and cultural context. The enthusiastic and committed colleagues and the excellent amenities in the historical city center of Utrecht, where the faculty is housed, contribute to an inspiring working environment.

The Anchoring Innovation programme is strongly committed to diversity within its team and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.


  • Postdoc; PhD
  • Language and culture
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1204124



Janskerkhof 13, 3512 BL, Utrecht

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