Gepubliceerd op 16-04-2015

Vacature: Postgraduate pre-doctoral training positions Digital History


Since its foundation in 1614, the University of Groningen has established an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative university offering high-quality teaching and research. Its 30,000 students are encouraged to develop their own individual talents through challenging study and career paths. The University of Groningen is an international center of knowledge: it belongs to the best research universities in Europe and is allied with prestigious partner universities and networks worldwide.

The Faculty of Arts is a large, dynamic faculty in the heart of the city of Groningen. It has more than 5000 students and 700 staff members, who are working at the frontiers of knowledge every day. The Faculty offers a wide range of degree programmes: 15 Bachelor’s programmes and over 35 Master’s specializations. Our research, which is internationally widely acclaimed, covers the following fields: Archaeology, Cultural Studies, History, International Relations, Journalism, Language and Literary Studies, and Linguistics.

The international staff in the section Early Modern History holds expertise in the fields of early modern state formation, political culture, with a special focus on the relations between politics and the writing of history, politics and the press, diplomacy, international legal history and economic history. We have specialisms in gender studies, global cultural encounters, commercial and maritime history, and the history of science and medicine. We carry out the scholarly management of Sound Toll Registers Online, the online STR database accessible via http://www.soundtoll.nl

Job description

Applications are invited for two 18-months fellowships to undertake postgraduate pre-doctoral digital historical research training in the context of ForSEAdiscovery, a large research project funded by the European Union (Call identifier: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-ITN) with fourteen participating academic institutions from nine countries (see http://forseadiscovery.eu). The two fellows will be based at the University of Groningen.

ForSEAdiscovery (in full: Forest Resources for Iberian Empires: Ecology and Globalization in the Age of Discovery) focusses on the construction of ocean-going ships of the Iberian Empires during the early modern period (1500-1800). Large-scale shipbuilding made unprecedented demands on Iberian forests for the supply of timber. Forestry and sea power became inextricably linked, creating new geopolitical tensions, alliances and forest regulations. Key questions in this context are: could Iberian forest resources sustain the increasing demand of sound timber, or was wood imported from elsewhere? How were the trade networks organized? Did the lack of raw materials force the technological changes that occurred in shipbuilding in the 16th century? Or were these changes a result of the exchange between Mediterranean and Atlantic shipbuilding traditions?

Project Goals
The fellows will participate in the training programme of ForSEAdiscovery and consequently work in an international and interdisciplinary environment involving regular participation in workshops and courses abroad. They will be seconded for a few weeks abroad at other participating institutions. They will acquire experience in organizing digital historical research, in collecting, processing and extracting historical data using written sources and electronic databases, and in applying, for example, Microsoft Access. They will have the opportunity to acquire paleographical skills. They will collect in historiography, existing databases and archival sources quantitative information concerning the timber trade and transport between Northern Europe and Atlantic Iberia in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and analyze and explain that information. They will use as one of the main resources the Sound Toll Registers Online (http://www.soundtoll.nl).

Project Output
The fellows will produce (1) a database containing information about the volume of timber trade and transport between Northern Europe and Atlantic Iberia and about Northern European areas supplying timber for shipbuilding in Atlantic Iberia in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and (2) each at least one peer-reviewed article in which this information is studied.


  • MA degree in History
  • languages: English is indispensable, Dutch and/or Danish an asset
  • knowledge of Spanish and/or Portuguese will be valued
  • ability to work independently and as part of a team.

In accordance with the criteria set out by Marie Curie Innovative Doctoral Program, the candidates must not have resided or carried out main activity (work, study, etc.) in The Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to taking up the fellowship. At the time of recruitment, the candidates must not yet have been awarded the doctoral degree and must not have worked for longer than four years in scientific research.

Conditions of employment

The University of Groningen offers a salary of € 2,067 (scale 7, step 0) gross per month in the first year to € 2,125 (scale 7, step 1) gross per month in the second year (figures based on full employment). This position is defined according to the UFO function profile ‘Onderwijs-/onderzoeksmedewerker’. The 1.0 fte appointment is temporary for a specified period of 18 months. The fellows will first be appointed for 9 months. After the first 6 months, an assessment of the candidate’s results and the progress of the project will take place to decide whether the employment will be continued.

The appointment will preferably be effective from 1 September 2015.

The fellows will be based at the University of Groningen and are required to live in the city of Groningen during the time of their appointment.

The fellows will be enrolled in the Graduate School for the Humanities, affiliated with the Research Institute for the Study of Culture Groningen (ICOG), and based at the Department of History.

You may apply for this position before 1 May 2015 Dutch local time by means of the application form (click on “Apply” below on the advertisement on the university website).

Applications should be in English and should contain the following:

  • a letter of motivation
  • a curriculum vitae which includes email and postal address(es), copies of your MA degree and grades, the languages you master and – if applicable – the titles of your publications
  • a copy of the MA thesis
  • if the MA thesis has not been written in English, a synopsis of the thesis (1,000 words)
  • contact details of two referees (with full postal and email addresses and telephone numbers). Referees will be contacted directly by the search committee.

Please send your entire application in just two pdf files (one for the MA thesis, and one for all other documents).

Late applications will normally not be taken into consideration.


For information you can contact:

Dr Jan Willem Veluwenkamp, j.w.veluwenkamp@rug.nl
Drs Marijke Wubbolts (for practical information), m.r.b.wubbolts@rug.nl

More information

Het KNHG is de grootste organisatie van professionele historici in Nederland. Het biedt een platform aan de ruim 1100 leden en aan de historische gemeenschap als geheel. Word lid van het KNHG.
Het Huygens Instituut beoogt de Nederlandse geschiedenis en cultuur inclusiever maken. Het ontsluit historische bronnen en literaire teksten en ontwikkelt innovatieve methoden, tools en duurzame digitale infrastructuur.