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2 PhD fellows in Medical Humanities/Science and Technology Studies

Medical Museion, University of Copenhagen, is offering two 3-year PhD scholarships in Medical Humanities/Science and Technology Studies as part of the interdisciplinary project ‘Microbes on the Mind’, commencing early 2019.  
 
Research Environment  
Medical Museion is an innovative and exciting house where research, museum work and public engagement are brought together at the intersection of medicine, culture and society. It is a university research department as well as a public museum and we believe it makes a difference to do research within a public environment, where new ideas and understandings can be brought to light. Our exhibitions and events are often approached as a kind of laboratory for research, and we are keen to push the boundaries of what research might be, and what it can lead to.  
 
We are fundamentally concerned with the place of medicine within social and cultural contexts and welcome different perspectives on our relationship to the body, health and the existential sides of our physical being; as well as the materiality, history, philosophy, aesthetics, and epistemic workings of medical science. We hold some of the finest and most fascinating medical/historical collections in Europe, and are keen to know much more about them, as well as how they can be inspiringly used in a museum environment. We are also interested in practice-based research that touches on curatorial practice, visitor experience, and exhibition design.  
 
Project Description  
In the last decade, a new scientific research field has grown up around a startling insight: the trillions of bacteria that live in our gut seem to affect how the brain develops and functions. Researchers have begun to investigate the role of gut bacteria in mental conditions such as schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, stress and autism. Whilst this scientific research is still at an early stage, results are already escaping the laboratory and catching the attention of journalists, doctors, and patients alike. This demands humanities research that asks: what does microbiome research mean for our understanding of mental illness and its treatment?  
 
The Velux foundation-funded research project Microbes on the Mind addresses this question, running across three analytical domains: science, media culture, and personal experience. The project explores the creation of meaning in each domain, and how the three domains mutually shape each other. The methods include open, experimental workshops in the Mind the Gut exhibition at Medical Museion, which test and further develop the analysis, whilst also bringing novel humanities-grounded health research into the public sphere. As part of this process, the project team will work with a poet and rhetorician, and contribute to co-authored publications about the experimental research methods.  
 
The 2 PhD projects will focus respectively on:  
 • 1) Scientific discourse about the relationship between microbes and the mind. This will include mapping the scientific literature, informed by interviews with scientists, and developing a theoretical framework to guide more targeted analysis of the aspects of scientific research most relevant for our cultural understanding of the microbe/mind relationship. This project will fall roughly within STS or History and Philosophy of Science depending on the eventual focus, and follows previous work examining how neuroscience has shaped our understanding of the relationship between mind and body.  
 
• 2) How connections between microbes and the mind are experienced and perceived by patients, doctors, and consumers. This will include an initial mapping of domains in which these connections are experienced, using materials such as patient blogs, product advertisements, and interviews with doctors and citizens intervening in the microbiome. Focus areas for in-depth textual analysis and fieldwork will then be developed, and interviews conducted to uncover how connections between microbes and the mind are experienced in everyday contexts. This project will fall roughly within the areas of anthropology or sociology of science, depending on the eventual focus.  
 
The precise focus, materials, and methodology adopted will be shaped by the successful candidates, and evolve in close dialogue with the other arms of the project. Both fellows will participate in collective research workshops in which team members will exchange materials and analytic concepts, and in public activities that enter into dialogue with the developing research. These activities will be based in and draw from the Mind the Gut exhibition that opened in Autumn 2017.  
 
The PhD fellows will join an immediate team including grant holder and primary supervisor Louise Whiteley, Associate Professor Adam Bencard, and a research manager. The fellows will also be integrated into the wider environment of Medical Museion, and will be expected to contribute to its public activities. They will join a cohort of 3-4 further PhD fellows sitting at Medical Museion, and will be affiliated with the wider graduate programme in Medicine, Culture, and Society, situated in the dynamic and interdisciplinary Department of Public Health.  
 
Principal supervisor is Associate Professor Louise Whiteley, Medical Museion, Department of Public Health. Email: lowh@sund.ku.dk, Tel: +45 21126712.  
 
Job description  
Your key tasks as a PhD student at SUND are:  
 • Carry through an independent research project under supervision  
• Complete PhD courses or other equivalent education corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS points  
• Participate in active research environments including a stay at another research team  
• Obtain experience with teaching or other types of dissemination related to your PhD project; at Medical Museion this can comprise museum work  
• Teach and disseminate your research  
• Write a PhD thesis on the grounds of your project  
 
Key criteria for the assessment of candidates  
Applicants must have qualifications corresponding to a master’s degree related to the subject area of the project e.g.  
• Science and Technology Studies  
• Science Communication  
• Medical Humanities  
• Anthropology or Sociology of Medicine  
• History and Philosophy of Science  
• Cultural Studies  
• Museum Studies  
 
In other words, applicants should have some experience with qualitative or humanities research, and a demonstrable interest in medicine, the body, medical experience, or biomedical sciences. Courses can be taken to develop the relevant research skills, including textual analysis and interview skills. Experience or demonstrable interest in public communication or cultural production are a bonus.  
 
Other important criteria are:  
• You must be enterprising and possess good interpersonal skills  
• Previous publications or other relevant forms of cultural production  
• Qualitative research experience  
• Demonstrable interest or experience in public communication or museum work is a plus  
• Fluent academic English.  
 
Terms of employment  
The position is available for a 3-year period.  
 
Salary and other terms and conditions of appointment are set in accordance with the Agreement between the Ministry of Finance and AC (Danish Confederation of Professional Associations) or other relevant professional organizations. The position is covered by the Job Structure for Academic Staff at Universities 2013.  
The starting salary is currently at a minimum DKK 321,054 including annual supplement (+ pension up to DKK 44,349). Negotiation for salary supplement is possible.
 
Application Procedure  
The application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.  
 
Please include  
• 2 page Cover Letter, specifying which of the two projects you are applying for, and detailing your motivation and background for being part of the Microbes on the Mind project. Include initial ideas about how the project theme could be addressed.  
• CV, including list of publications if relevant  
• Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and MSc)  
• Full contact details (Name, address, telephone & email) of 1-3 professional referees  
• Documentation of English language qualifications, cf. general rules and guidelines, p. 5  
• Full contact details (Name, address, telephone & email) of 1-2 academic references. They will only be contacted if candidates are selected for interview.  
 
The deadline for applications is 15th November 2018. Applications received later than this date will not be considered.  
 
After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Interview Committee.  
You can read more about the recruitment process.  
 
The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.  
 
Questions  
For specific information about the PhD scholarship, please contact the principal supervisor.  
 
General information about PhD programs at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences is available at the Graduate School’s website  
 
The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences comprises approximately 7500 students, 1500 PhD students and 3200 employees. The Faculty advances the field of health sciences through its core activities: research, teaching, knowledge sharing and communication. With basic research fields ranging from molecular studies to studies of society, the Faculty contributes to a healthy future through its graduates, research findings and inventions benefitting patients and the community.  
 
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Københavns Universitet giver sine knap 10.000 medarbejdere muligheder for at udnytte deres talent fuldt ud i et ambitiøst, uformelt miljø. Vi sikrer traditionsrige og moderne rammer om uddannelser og fri forskning på højt internationalt niveau. Vi søger svar og løsninger på fælles problemer og gør ny viden tilgængelig og nyttig for andre.

Kontakt

Louise Emma Whiteley
E-mail: lowh@sund.ku.dk

Info

Ansøgningsfrist: 15-11-2018
Ansættelsesdato: 01-02-2019
Arbejdstid: Fuldtid
Afdeling/Sted: Institut for Folkesundhedsvidenskab

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