PhD positions for the Globalizing Palliative Care: Research project in Jakarta and Delhi

The Leiden University Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology (CA-DS) is hosting the ERC Starting research project "Globalizing Palliative Care? A Multi-Sited Ethnographic Study of Practices, Policies and Discourses of Care at the End of Life" (grant 851437) funded by the European Research Council, and directed by Dr. Annemarie Samuels. The PhD candidates will work within this project.

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This project undertakes a comparative and multi-scalar medical anthropological study of the globalization and cultural mediation of palliative care practices, policies, and discourses. Its central objective is to gain insight in what is universally shared and what is culturally specific in end-of-life care, by analyzing how local end-of-life care practices impact palliative care and how globally circulating discourses of palliative care are transforming local notions of death and dying.

Key responsibilities
In the context of a research team consisting of 2 PhDs, a postdoctoral researcher, and the principal investigator we will work towards a multi-sited comparison of end-of-life care. Within this project, it is the responsibility of the PhD students to do research in respectively Jakarta (Indonesia), and Delhi (India). Through prolonged ethnographic fieldwork, the PhD candidates will study care-trajectories of people in the last phase of life. Deliverables for both positions:

  • Elaborating a research proposal, conducting fieldwork (total 17 months) and writing a PhD thesis, which will result in a completed PhD thesis and an article in a peer-reviewed journal;
  • Submitting research papers and presenting reports at the project’s workshops and at the project’s final conference;
  • Actively contributing to the project’s public dissemination activities;
  • Organising and participating in reading and discussion groups, seminars, workshops, and masterclasses (as appropriate) within the research group and the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology.

Selection criteria

  • A Research Masters or a Master degree in Cultural Anthropology or related field, with a top quality Masters thesis;
  • Demonstrated affinity with Medical Anthropology;
  • Well-developed research skills, including the ability to formulate relevant and creative research questions and hypotheses, descriptive and analytical skills, and a clear and persuasive style of writing;
  • Experience with ethnographic research;
  • Excellent mastery of English (spoken and academic writing);
  • Independent thinker and team player;
  • Determined and motivated to complete the proposed PhD research within 4 years;
    For the study in Delhi the PhD student must have a native or near native competence in Hindi, for the study in Indonesia the PhD student must have a native or near native competence in Indonesian. 

Our organisation
The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences comprises five institutes: Education and Child Studies, Political Science, Psychology, Cultural Anthropology & Development Sociology and the Centre for Science and Technology Studies. The Faculty is home to 5,000 students and 600 members of staff. Our teaching and research programmes cover diverse topics varying from adoption to political behaviour. For more information, see the website of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural studies.

At the department of anthropology and development sociology we  study the everyday practice of individuals, groups, and communities worldwide and at home to situate them within the complex processes of social and global change. In Leiden, we specialize in the impact of globalization on environment, equity, and economy, and the ethnographic analysis of visual and material culture. Our unique combination of interdisciplinary interest, a comparative area studies approach, and social scientific research methods positions us within a larger partnership of Leiden Institutes and links our research and teaching to the extensive interdisciplinary and international networks we are currently involved in.

Terms and conditions
The project follows the Leiden University Protocol for Ethnographic Research in Times of COVID-19. We offer a fulltime position for one year, starting from 1 March 2021. The appointment may be extended for up to a total of four years, subject to need and satisfactory performance. Salary range from € 2,395.- to € 3,061.- gross per month on a full-time basis (pay scale P, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %) and training and career development. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. For more information, see the website.

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

Enquiries can be made to Annemarie Samuels, email If you have any questions about the procedure, please contact Ilse Prins, email

Please submit online your application no later than November 27, 2020 via the blue button of our application system. Applications (in English) should include:

  • A one page cover letter stating your motivation for the position and any relevant work experience/skills;
  • A curriculum vitae;
  • MA thesis;
  • Two referees names and contacts. Referees will be contacted directly by the search committee.
    Online interviews with shortlisted candidates are expected to be held the week of December 14th. 


Nähere Informationen

Annemarie Samuels

a.samuels[ at ]