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Apply by: 2024-06-28

PhD Candidate history of global north-south public health cooperation

Published 2024-05-17

Interested in researching the diplomatic history of global north-south public health cooperation in a vibrant team? Join us at the ERC-funded project COOPERATION as a PhD researcher.

Wat ga je doen?
Utrecht University invites applications for a PhD position in the ERC Consolidator Grant project “Fighting Pandemics from Below: Global North-South Public Health Cooperation in the Middle East and North Africa, 1792-1942 [COOPERATION]”

As a PhD candidate you will be working on a subproject within the Consolidator Grant project COOPERATION (2024-2029) funded by the European Research Council (ERC) and directed by Dr. Ozan Ozavci (Principal Investigator, PI) at the Department of History and Art History. COOPERATION project will recapture the lost archives and historical knowledge of international public health cooperation between the ‘global north’ and the ‘global south’ by analysing its first and longest-lasting instances: the sanitary councils in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Established in Tangier, Alexandria, Tunis, Istanbul and Tehran, these unprecedented institutions strategised against waves of epidemics and pandemics between the 1790s and the 1940s. Their European, American and native co-founders invented new models for fighting pandemics from below and stopping the diseases in their tracks. They continually strove to overcome the familiar barriers to cooperation posed by inter-imperial competition in a multipolar world, economic inequities, protests against quarantine restrictions and racial and Orientalist biases, among others. COOPERATION project will write an entangled history of health cooperation, by shifting the focus from top-down to bottom-up processes. Consulting archival sources in Europe, MENA, and North America, it will determine the historical preconditions for effective international public health cooperation.


The PhD candidate will examine the diplomatic history and dynamics of public health cooperation with a focus on the sanitary council in Istanbul or Tehran or Tunis. In this position, you will:

  • conduct research within the period of appointment in the Netherlands as well as at archives in MENA, Europe and, if necessary, the United States;
  • publish peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters;
  • help with the organisation of an international conference;
  • help organise a workshop on sanitary internationalism;
  • participate in project meetings and closely collaborate with the other members of the research team;
  • help set up project data;
  • help with knowledge dissemination activities of the project;
  • present research findings at national and international workshops and conferences.


General qualifications:

  • You hold a master’s degree in a relevant field (e.g. nineteenth- and early twentieth-century international history, imperial history, diplomatic history, Middle Eastern/North African history, history of medicine, etc.) at the time of appointment;
  • You have excellent command of spoken and written English;
  • You have very good reading ability of Ottoman Turkish and/or Persian and/or Arabic;
  • Preferably you have very good reading and speaking ability of one or more European (especially French and Italian) languages;
  • You have experience with historical archival research;
  • You have adaptability to travel;
  • You are collegial and have a responsible relationship with co-workers;
  • You are a team player and an independent thinker.


  • a job for 48 months;
  • a working week of 38 hours and a gross monthly salary between € 2,770 and € 3,539 in the case of full-time employment (salary scale P under the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU));
  • 8% holiday pay and 8.3% year-end bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave and flexible terms of employment based on the CAO NU.

In addition to the terms of employment laid down in the CAO NU, Utrecht University has a number of schemes and facilities of its own for employees. This includes schemes facilitating professional development, leave schemes and schemes for sports and cultural activities, as well as discounts on software and other IT products. We also offer access to additional employee benefits through our Terms of Employment Options Model. In this way, we encourage our employees to continue to invest in their growth. For more information, please visit Working at Utrecht University.


Universiteit Utrecht

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 strategic themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Pathways to Sustainability. Sharing science, shaping tomorrow.

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 centre of Utrecht, where the faculty is located, contribute to an inspiring working environment.

The faculty strives for diversity among its employees and students and is committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment for everyone, as can be read in Utrecht University's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy.

The core values of the faculty for Humanities are professionalism, transparency, responsibility, connectedness and safety. These values apply to everyone and we uphold these values in our work and in our communication with each other and with others.


For more information, please contact Dr. Ozan Ozavci at h.o.ozavci@uu.nl.

Candidates for this vacancy will be recruited by Utrecht University.