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Ph.D. Researcher for the Dissident Networks Project

Brno, Czech Republic
Closing date
3 Mar 2021

Department: Centre for the Digital Research of Religion – Faculty of Arts
Deadline: 3 Mar 2021
Start date: 1 September 2021

Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University announces an open competition for the position Research

Three Ph.D. studentships in an ERC-funded digital research project on medieval heresy and inquisition

Department: Centre for the Digital Research of Religion, Department for the Study of Religions, Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University

Position: researcher (Ph.D. candidate)

Work time: 50% of a full-time employee (N.B. the successful candidate will also be enrolled as a full-time doctoral student at the university and receive the regular four-year doctoral stipend) 

Number of open positions:  3

Expected start: 1 September 2021

Duration: 31 August 2022 (probationary period), 31 August 2026 (full duration)

Deadline for applications: 3 March 2021 23:59 CET (UTC+1)

The Dissident Networks Project (DISSINET, - an ERC Consolidator Grant-funded research initiative based at Masaryk University (Brno, Czech Republic) - offers up to three funded Study of Religions Ph.D. studentships with a medieval focus from September 2021 to August 2026.

The focus of research for the successful candidates will be the computational study of medieval religious dissent and inquisition, and will be founded on medieval inquisition records (c. 1230-1520).

The successful candidates will receive the normal doctoral stipend for full-time Ph.D. students at Masaryk University, but in addition will also be given an additional contract for their participation in the DISSINET project (weighted at 50% of a full time employee). They will develop their own research direction for their Ph.D. thesis within DISSINET’s field of study in consultation with the Principal Investigator (Dr. David Zbíral), and be given a Ph.D. supervisor within the team. They will receive hands-on training, building on their core skills as medievalists through the use of computational techniques (social network analysis, geographic information systems, computational text analysis). The ERC-funded Ph.D. Studentships thus represent a unique opportunity for an early-career researcher to build a truly cutting-edge research profile from an early stage of their career.

The candidates must have completed (or be about to complete) a Masters focused on any aspect of medieval or early modern European history or literature. They must have demonstrable competence in Latin language and in historical research.

Candidates with particular experience in heresy studiesmedieval religionlate medieval history (c. 1200-1500, especially of France, Germany, Italy and England), social and economic approaches to the Middle Ages or digital humanities are particularly encouraged to apply. Nevertheless, we are very open to students whose previous research has focused on any aspect, period or region of pre-modern Europe, provided that they have a willingness to engage deeply in DISSINET’s computational approach to the study of medieval religious dissent and inquisition.

The position is residential (although with reasonable flexibility for the duration of the pandemic).

We offer:

  • A research position in an interdisciplinary team working on an exciting frontier-research project.
  • Training and growth in interdisciplinary digital research (databases, social network analysis, geographic information systems, computational text analysis).
  • Competitive salary above the average for similar positions in the Czech Republic (DISSINET project funding in addition to the regular Masaryk Ph.D. scholarship).
  • Individual research budget for participating in conferences and workshops, buying books, etc. (ca. 1,500 € each year).
  • Participation in writing high-profile publications in history, social network analysis, and the digital humanities.
  • Friendly and informal working environment.

Expected work tasks:

  • Conducting research concerning selected sets of inquisitorial records in close collaboration with the project’s PI and the whole team.
  • Compiling structured datasets on the basis of medieval inquisitorial records.
  • Co-authoring articles (incl. as first author).
  • Participating in the team’s discussions, meetings, tutorials, and other activities.
  • Contributing to the project’s visibility (papers at conferences, publications, online outcomes, social media, etc.).
  • Reading and excerpting literature.
  • Organizational responsibilities related to the project.

Attachments to the application:

  • Letter of motivation (in English).
  • Letter of recommendation from M.A. thesis supervisor or another scholar from a relevant field (candidates may either submit their referee’s letter themselves or, if preferable, ask their referee to send it to the PI confidentially at
  • Structured CV (in English) with an overview of competences, language skills (incl. Latin), previous research experience, and a list of publications (incl. submitted).
  • Two examples of academic essays authored by the applicant (in any European language).
  • Scanned proofs of the M.A. degree, either as part of the original submission, or at the latest by 15 September 2021.

The selection procedure has three rounds. The first will be based on the submitted attachments. In the second, the short-listed applicants will participate in tests (a translation test in Latin and a data entry test). In the third, they will discuss with the PI their possible research focus and dissertation topic within the larger DISSINET project, turn the topic into a research project proposal, and participate in an interview via videoconference.

Concurrent with the project selection procedure, the short-listed candidates will also be invited to submit a formal application for Ph.D. studies in the Study of Religions at Masaryk University (deadline: 30 April 2021; more information:

The candidate’s M.A. degree does not need to be recent for this position. Career breaks do not pose any problem. Applications from female candidates are particularly encouraged.

Application with all required documents should be sent by e-application available below. Electronic application deadline is: March 3, 2021.

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