PhD Candidates for Erc Project on International Scientific Consortia

Applications are invited for a PhD position in social sciences to join Leiden University. The initial contract for this position is three years. This position is open until filled.

The Faculty of Science at the University of Leiden is looking for

Project description

The INSCONS project is about international scientific consortia such as ITER (nuclear fusion), ALMA (astronomy), and the European Brain Project (neurobiology). We increasingly look at such consortia to come up with scientific and technological advances that are needed to address global challenges in areas such as health, the environment and clean energy. These international consortia represent a novel model for organising scientific research that is rapidly gaining in popularity. Yet, little or no research has been done on them. Organising international scientific consortia represents various challenges. These consortia are highly complex organisations, with budgets that often run in the billions of euros, and work spread out across a multitude of research sites around the world. Moreover, these consortia must navigate (competing) interests of various international stakeholder groups from across the realms of science, policy, and industry. INSCONS is a ground breaking project that will shed light on the challenges involved in organising these consortia, and the broader changes these consortia herald for the scientific endeavour. The project will employ 3 PhD researchers and 2 postdoctoral researchers. We are looking for two PhD candidates who will conduct qualitative research on the organisational dynamics of international scientific consortia for the European Research Council Consolidator program project titled Addressing Global Challenges through International Scientific Consortia (INSCONS). The PhD students will be working under the supervision of the principal investigator of the project Professor Dr Simcha Jong, who heads the Science Based Business group at the Faculty of Science of the University of Leiden in the Netherlands.

Key responsibilities

The two advertised PhD projects will focus on the distinctive challenges of organising research within scientific consortia and the organisational frameworks stakeholders use to deal with these challenges. To this end, each PhD researcher will be responsible for two case studies of international scientific consortia. For each case study the researcher will first produce a descriptive 'map' of the formal governance structures of the three ISCs, the routines that constitute the interfaces across the various parts of the organisation of these ISCs, and the organisational cultures governing scholarly work across different parts of the ISCs. Observations about the ISC organisations will be captured at different levels of the organisations of ISCs (e.g. laboratory level, consortium level). To create this map, the researcher will mostly rely on publicly available information and interviews with stakeholders.

The main thrust of the PhD theses will come from ethnographic field studies that will examine international scientific consortia at the level of individual research groups that are tied into the consortia the researcher is studying. Through these studies the researcher will develop insights into organisational routines that link work of research groups across international consortia and into organisational cultures. The researcher will complement ethnographic field studies with observations at practitioner conferences that members of ISCs attend and at dedicated meetings of consortium members.

The setup of the INSCONS will afford the two PhD researchers significant freedom to explore and develop further on specific theoretical themes they wish to pursue in the context of their case studies.

We are open to consider both applicants with relevant backgrounds in the social sciences and the natural sciences.

Research at our Faculty/Institute

Science Based Business (SBB) consists of a small, young, and dynamic group of researchers embedded within Leiden's Faculty of Science. Scholarship at SBB spans science, medicine, policy, and business, focusing on areas such as technology management, innovation, organisation studies, entrepreneurship, and operations. SBB programs fuse business scholarship with science, technology and industry engagement, and accordingly forge strong relationships to other groups within the Faculty of Science and the Leiden University Medical School. Members of the SBB team held previous academic appointments at or have research degrees form RSM, Harvard, UCL, KU Leuven, and UT Dallas. The Faculty of Science teaches more than 3,000 students in the context of 8 bachelor's and 11 master's programmes. Working at the Faculty of Science means being part of an exciting, dynamic scientific environment which sets high standards for its students, staff and support staff alike. The Faculty is known for its friendly and team-spirited atmosphere, which promotes mutual exchange of knowledge. For more information, see

Leiden University was founded in 1575 and is one of Europe's leading international research universities. It has seven faculties in the arts, sciences and social sciences, spread over locations in Leiden and The Hague. The University has over 5,500 staff members and 25,800 students. The motto of the University is ‘Praesidium Libertatis’ - Bastion of Freedom. In 2013 Leiden was the highest ranked university in the Netherlands in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. The University counts among its former students and faculty ten leaders and Prime Ministers of the Netherlands including the current Prime Minister Mark Rutte, nine foreign leaders, among them the 6th President of the United States John Quincy Adams, a Secretary General of NATO, a President of the International Court of Justice, and sixteen recipients of the Nobel Prize.

Terms and conditions

We offer a position for initially one year. After a positive evaluation of the progress of the thesis, personal capabilities and compatibility the appointment will be extended by a further three years. Salary ranges from 2,325 to 2,972 gross per month (pay scale P in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities). Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career program. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. More at

All our PhD students are embedded in the Leiden University Graduate School of Science. Our graduate school offers several PhD training courses at three levels: Professional courses, skills training and personal effectiveness.


Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups. Information

Enquiries can be made to Professor Simcha Jong ( If you have any questions about the procedure, please contact Lisa Fillekes (, telephone: +31 71 527 4551. Applications

To apply for this vacancy, please send an email Please ensure to upload the following additional documents quoting the vacancy number: Only applications received no later than 13 June 2019 can be considered.

Deadline: As soon as possible
Apply Link: Please send your application via email.

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