Fully funded PhD in Digital Humanities

Applications are invited to apply for a PhD candidate position to perform research in the field of digital humanities methods at the Ghent Centre of Digital Humanities in collaboration with LT³ - Language and Translation Technology Team at the Department of Translation, Interpreting and Communication at Ghent University. Ghent CDH specializes in the field of Digital Humanities bringing together experts in geography, history, literature, linguistics and cultural studies, working on DH research projects, teaching activities and infrastructure projects. LT³ conducts fundamental and applied research in the domain of language and translation technology and has extensive expertise in the use of machine learning for a wide range of language technology problems, int.al. part-of-speech tagging and lemmatization, anaphora resolution, word sense disambiguation and named entity recognition.

Job description
You will be embedded in the Horizon 2020 INFRA Research project - Computational Literary Studies. This European project will develop a shared resource of high-quality data, tools and knowledge needed for literary studies using artificial intelligence and other computational methods. The PhD candidate will research new natural language processing toolchains to facilitate research in literature and history. Specifically, the candidate will address the development of digital humanities methods in the following ways:

Research the development of a NLP toolchain in literary research with enhanced multilingual workflows;
Develop with a team of researchers a suite of workflows and prototypes to facilitate common research tasks within literary studies using NLP enrichments; this includes: named entity recognition, relational extraction, and sentiment analysis;
Work to optimise the availability of fundamental NLP tools within a workflow for historical literary texts using case studies from KBR (the Royal Library of Belgium) multilingual serial publication collection.

The candidate will perform academic research in preparation of a doctoral dissertation. You will be enrolled in the doctoral training program of Ghent University. The PhD student will have the opportunity to attend international conferences and to spend a research stay abroad in other research labs.

Job profile

Given these tasks, we are searching for a candidate with a background in computer science or computational linguistics, with an interest in literature and cultural heritage.

  • You hold a Master’s diploma or certificate that is recognized as equivalent (Article V.20 Codex Higher Education) in computational linguistics, computer science or in information and library sciences OR a Master’s diploma in human or social sciences with additional certifications in computer science by 01/09/2021. (When assessing a foreign (non-EU) diploma, an equivalence certificate may still have to be requested from NARIC; we advise you - if necessary - to start the recognition procedure at NARIC as soon as possible. You must have this recognition no later than the date of appointment. You have a proven interest or experience in working in the digital humanities and implementing digital workflows using cultural heritage resources.)
  • You have interest in improving your knowledge of the intellectual, cultural or literary history of the 19th and 20th century in Belgium specifically.
  • You have technical and digital literacy, for example in-depth knowledge of programming languages ​​used in the humanities (Python, R, etc..), or web and metadata standards, interoperability and data exchange.
  • You have good oral and written communication skills in English, as well as knowledge of Dutch, or French, or German, and a willingness to learn Dutch if not spoken.
  • You take initiative in searching for new research ideas.
  • You are not afraid to be critical about your own work.
  • You are a highly motivated, hardworking, flexible, able to face complex issues and you have an appropriate problem-solving attitude.
  • You are able to take on responsibilities, work independently but also as part of an interdisciplinary research team.
  • You have strong communication and interpersonal skills.


Conditions of employment

This position after approximately four years of successful research results in a PhD title in Digital Humanities. We offer a position for 4 years with yearly evaluations, in an exciting research environment, working on the intersection between theory and application in the multi-disciplinary research environment of the Faculty Arts and Philosophy at Ghent University.

Remuneration will be determined according to salary scale AAP3 (more information about our salary scales). All Ghent University staff members enjoy a number of benefits, such as a wide range of training and education opportunities, 38 days of paid leave, bicycle commuting reimbursement, ecocheques, etc.

The exact start date of the position is negotiable, preferably as soon as possible but no later than 01/09/2021. Candidates that will graduate soon (before the starting date 01/09/2021) are encouraged to apply.

How to apply

How to apply
To apply please send your full application before 25 June 2021 to Prof Dr. Julie M. Birkholz - julie.birkholz@ugent.be) and Prof Dr. Christophe Verbruggen - christophe.verbruggen@ugent.be, which includes the following documents as pdfs and with appropriate file names (i.e. FAMILYNAME_FILETYPE):

- Your application letter in English (max. two pages) that indicates why you wish to pursue a PhD? And why in digital humanities? What is your -if any- prior experience?;
- Your curriculum vitae, including two referees;
- A copy of your Master’s thesis;
- A copy of your Master’s diploma.

After an initial screening, interviews will take place online in the week of 5 - 9 July 2021 through Zoom or MS Teams.

For more information about this vacancy contact:

Julie M. Birkholz, Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities at the Ghent Centre for Digital Humanities at Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium & Lead of the Royal Library of Belgium's Digital Research Lab julie.birkholz@ugent.be