PhD Positions in Early Modern History

Vienna (Landbezirke) (AT)
30 Aug 2023
End of advertisement period
26 Oct 2023
Contract Type
Fixed Term, Permanent
Full Time

40 Faculty of Historical and Cultural Studies
Startdate: 01.01.2024 | Working hours: 30 | Collective bargaining agreement: §48 VwGr. B1 Grundstufe (praedoc)
Limited until: permanent
Reference no.: 1238  

The University of Vienna is offering two salaried PhD positions (4 years) as part of the ERC Starting Grant Project “Sustained Concerns: Administration of Mineral Resources in Central Europe, 1550-1850" (SCARCE), working at the intersection of history of science and technology, social and economic history, and environmental history. SCARCE provides a critical history of today's stakeholder conflicts by showing how contradictory principles of resource management – economic development, sustainability, and technological innovation – were forged in proto-industrial settings. It explores alternative, historical ways of provisioning for communities, making them available for current debates on environmental degradation and climate emergency.

Your position:

This is an exciting opportunity for an early career researcher to be involved in an impactful international project. One of the largest research institutions in Europe, the University of Vienna offers an excellent infrastructure for humanities research as well as many opportunities for transdisciplinary collaboration. You will join the History Department and collaborate closely with colleagues in History of Science. The project’s scientific advisory board includes leading scholars from Columbia University, the University of Cambridge, the University of London, and the University of Antwerp.

Candidates should propose a PhD project, based on their own interests and expertise, in response to one (or a combination of) SCARCE’s four research themes ( Their proposal should reflect the regional focus on Central/East Central Europe (within European and global entanglements) and have a plausible connection to mineral resources. A cotutelle (shared supervision) with another university outside of Austria can be arranged; please indicate interest in your proposal ( SCARCE is an opportunity to work collaboratively on diverse and understudied archival materials and contribute to big debates through microhistorical research.

Your tasks:

Your main task is to carry out research and write up the results as a thesis in German or English. Additional duties are

  • to follow a PhD curriculum (training sessions, seminars, internal presentations);
  • to present own research, and represent SCARCE, at international conferences;
  • to assist in research-related aspects of project coordination (e.g. helping to run a seminar series);
  • to assist in organizing one conference related to own research
  • to participate in regular project meetings and events.

Teaching is not required by contract, but can be arranged.

Your profile:

  • Candidates must have (or be close to obtaining) a MA or equivalent degree in history or a related field.
  • They must have written and spoken proficiency in English (at least B2) as much of the project’s communication will likely be in English.
  • They must have reading proficiency in German (at least B2). The ability (or willingness to learn) to read German research literature and period sources is necessary. This includes reading Kurrent script.
  • They must have proficiency in German or English corresponding to level C1 in order to be admitted to the PhD program. [This information was added on 05/09/2023.]
  • The ability or willingness to learn to read literature and sources in another (East) Central European language is a strong advantage.
  • Experience in collaborative research is an advantage.

We will offer resources to improve language skills during employment.


  • You will be employed for 30 hours/week.
  • The contract will start on a mutually agreed date between 1 January and 31 October 2024.
  • The employment duration is 4 years. Initially limited to 1.5 years, the employment relationship is automatically extended to 4 years if the employer does not terminate it within the first 12 months by submitting a non-extension declaration.
  • Your annual salary before taxes is based on a rate of 45.882,20€ for full-time employment, according to Collective Bargaining Agreement, Group B1 (a) (, which amounts to ca. 34.400€ for 30h/week and ca. 25.400€ after taxes (approximation, see; previous experience may result in higher initial salary. Taxes include payments for health care, social insurance and pension.
  • The primary work place is Vienna (and another university in case of a cotutelle), when not travelling for research and conferences. Working partially from home can be discussed. We are committed to a high degree of flexibility with regard to applicants' caring responsibilities.

How to apply

Please submit your application in English or German through the University of Vienna’s recruiting portal, no later than 26 October 2023. Please include a

  • cover letter
  • CV (incl. title of MA thesis, and publications if there are any)
  • electronic copy of up to 2 writing samples representative of your interests and approach (e.g. MA thesis, seminar essays, publications)
  • research proposal (ca. 1000-1500 words, excluding bibliography)
  • electronic copy of MA diploma or official letter with estimated award date

If you like to discuss your application, please contact the project’s PI:

Sebastian Felten

The University of Vienna has an anti-discriminatory employment policy and attaches great importance to equal opportunities, the advancement of women and diversity. We lay special emphasis on increasing the number of women in senior and in academic positions among the academic and general university staff and therefore expressly encourage qualified women to apply. Given equal qualifications, preference will be given to female candidates.

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​Application deadline: 10/26/2023 

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