Ghent University

Doctoral fellow - Department of Languages and Cultures

2024-05-24 (Europe/Brussels)
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Ghent University is one of the top 100 universities in the Dutch language area, with more than 44,000 students and 15,000 staff members.

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Last application date May 24, 2024 00:00

Department LW21 - Department of Languages and Cultures

Contract Limited duration

Degree MA

Occupancy rate 100%

Vacancy type Research staff

Job description

Doctoral Fellowship in the ERC Funded Gandhāra Corpora Project at Ghent University

Applications are invited for one full-time PhD research position of 4 years within the ERC Starting Grant project “Corpora in Greater Gandhāra: Tracing the Development of Buddhist Textuality and Gilgit/Bamiyan Manuscript Networks in the First Millennium of the Common Era” (Gandhāra Corpora) led by Professor Charles DiSimone at the Department of Languages and Cultures, Ghent University located in the center of the beautiful and historic city of Ghent, Belgium. In the Gandhāra Corpora project, the researcher will join an international team of scholars working on manuscript materials recently uncovered from the historic area of Greater Gandhāra and contribute to the study and preservation of this material. Within the department, the Pre-doctoral researcher will be a member of both the Ghent Centre for Buddhist Studies ( and the South Asia Research Network Ghent research groups ( All nationalities are welcome to apply.

Brief Project Description:
In the last several years, fantastic manuscript finds have surfaced opening new windows into the scholarly study of the development of Buddhist literature. Gandhāra Corpora represents a multifaceted, holistic approach to the study of an important and voluminous genre of manuscript witnesses from an early era of Buddhist textual transmission composed mainly in Sanskrit in the Gilgit/Bamiyan type scripts from the historic region of Greater Gandhāra covering modern day Afghanistan, Pakistan, and parts of Northern India. This project centers on the study of large, recently discovered caches of highly significant Buddhist manuscripts excavated at Mes Aynak in Afghanistan and similar material in private collections and their place in the body of works from Greater Gandhāra. The philological, paleographical, codicological, and critical research conducted in this project will examine textual and material production, transmission, and relationship networks in the Buddhist manuscript cultures of Greater Gandhāra and beyond in the first millennium of the Common Era.

You will contribute to the project in the following ways:

  • You will complete a doctoral dissertation for a degree in Buddhist Studies or Oriental Languages and Cultures.
  • Your dissertation will consist of an original research project based upon your research interests within the scope of the Gandhāra Corpora project. The topic will be agreed upon in the early stages of your fellowship.
  • You will contribute to the project’s goals including but not limited to the digitization of manuscript materials in the field, the development of a database of akṣara usage in the manuscripts the project is focused upon, the creation of a digital archive of Buddhist and secular textual materials from the area of Greater Gandhāra, cataloging of manuscript witnesses, and additional research goals as deemed relevant to your doctoral project.
  • You will work closely with the research carried out by the project supervisor, post-doctoral fellows, and with the other project members including expert research partners stationed around the globe consisting of scholars in Europe and Asia and our partners at the Archaeology Institute of Afghanistan in Kabul consisting of a dedicated team of archeologists and conservationists.
  • You will be encouraged and expected to disseminate research results together with the research team via publications in international peer-reviewed journals, the participation in international conferences, etc.
  • You will contribute to the research environment in South Asian and Buddhist Studies at Ghent University through participation in reading groups, workshops, and other scholarly events.

Job profile

Required qualifications:

  • You hold a master’s degree in a relevant field (e.g., Buddhist Studies, Religious Studies, South Asian Studies, Indology, Sanskrit, etc.).
  • You have a good to excellent proficiency in Sanskrit.
  • You have some background in the study Buddhist textual transmissions.
  • You have the ability to develop an original research project.
  • You have an excellent command of written and spoken English.
  • You are a dynamic and enthusiastic person looking to do something you love in a thriving research community where you are valued.

Additional desirable qualifications (not required but viewed positively):

  • Proficiency in any of the historic languages of Buddhist textual transmission beyond Sanskrit (Classical Chinese, Classical Tibetan, Pali, Gāndhārī, etc.). Proficiency in Bactrian.
  • An interest in the philological and paleographical study of Buddhist texts and/or North Indian/Central Asian textual history broadly.
  • An interest in archeology and the preservation of objects of historic and cultural significance.
  • A previous background in the Digital Humanities or an interest in developing such skills.

Conditions and benefits:

  • We offer you a full-time position for four years as doctoral fellow, subject to positive evaluation after one year.
  • Your fellowship will start on September 1, 2024, at the earliest. We understand that moving and preparation for doctoral study can be difficult and as such the start date is flexible and can be set for a later date in Fall 2024 or Winter 2024/5 as mutually agreed between the fellowship holder and supervisor.
  • The scholarship amount is quite generous at 100% of the net salary of an AAP (Academic Assistant Personnel) member in equal family circumstances. The individual scholarship amount is determined by the DPO (Department of Personnel and Organization) on the basis of family circumstances and seniority. A grant that meets the conditions and criteria of the regulations for doctoral scholarships is considered free of personal income tax. Click here for more information about our salary scales.
  • You will be allocated office space and equipment. Project funding is additionally available for research materials, fieldwork, and for attending workshops and conferences, etc.
  • All Ghent University staff members enjoy a number of benefits, such as a wide range of training and education opportunities, 36 days of holiday leave (on an annual basis for a full-time job) supplemented by annual fixed bridge days, bicycle allowance and eco vouchers. Click here for a complete overview of all the staff benefits (in Dutch).
  • The City of Ghent is truly unique. The campuses of Ghent University are integrated in the medieval town and 19th century districts that circumvent the medieval part of the city. Ghent has a lively art scene and numerous world-class museums, covering ancient, modern and contemporary art, folklore and industrial heritage. The city is also home to a wide range of performing arts centers. The vibrant cultural scene of the city fuses in with the daily life of Ghent people and the city’s more than 70,000 students who together enjoy one of Europe’s largest pedestrian areas. This unique combination of old and new has made Ghent a cultural hot spot – no surprise that ‘Lonely Travel’ commented on Ghent as one of the ten ‘must-see’ cities of the world. Ghent is located in the center of Europe, with Brussels, Amsterdam, Paris, London and Cologne only a few hours (or less) away by train.

How to apply

To apply submit the following materials in pdf format to Prof. Charles DiSimone (

  • Your complete CV and an overview of your study results.
  • Your MA diploma (if already in hand) and transcripts of your studies at the undergraduate and MA level (official or unofficial).
  • A cover letter outlining your experience and interest in undertaking doctoral studies at Ghent University in the Gandhāra Corpora project.
  • A research statement (1500 words maximum excluding bibliography) outlining your research interests and past experiences including any potential dissertation project you may be interested in undertaking within the broader aims of the Gandhāra Corpora project.
  • Up to two samples of academic work (journal articles, research papers, a chapter of your MA thesis, etc.).
  • Names and contact details of two referees (do not include reference letters).

Shortlisted candidates will be contacted by mid-June for an online interview with the results announced shortly thereafter. Any questions about this vacancy may be sent by email directly to Prof. DiSimone. Interested parties are welcome to initiate contact before submitting their application.

Informatie over de vacature

Doctoral fellow - Department of Languages and Cultures
Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 33 Gent, België
Uiterste sollicitatiedatum
2024-05-24 23:59 (Europe/Brussels)
2024-05-24 23:59 (CET)
Soort functie
Baan opslaan


Please send your application to

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Over de werkgever

Ghent University is one of the top 100 universities in the Dutch language area, with more than 44,000 students and 15,000 staff members.

De pagina van de werkgever bekijken

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