Vacancy: two doctoral researchers for the GOA-project “Interconnected Texts”

Posted on 22/03/2023

The Ghent University Departments of Linguistics, Literary Studies, and History are hiring

2 doctoral researchers for the GOA-project

“Interconnected texts. A graph-based computational approach to Byzantine paratexts as nodes between textual transmission and cultural and linguistic developments”

Description of the research project

The research team of the GOA (Concerted Research Action) project “Interconnected texts” at Ghent University is inviting applications for two PhD fellowships. The project is based upon the corpus of Byzantine book epigrams available at It aims to investigate book epigrams as texts at the threshold between the material and the textual, with a focus on their formulaic nature, and to explore the possibilities of innovative technologies to pursue multifaceted humanities research. The project brings together linguistic, literary, historical and computational experts.

Description of the research positions

PhD Fellowship 1: Linguistics

The first PhD candidate will be embedded within the work package ‘Linguistics’, the main aim of which is to better understand formulaic phraseology in the DBBE corpus. More specifically, the PhD candidate will study the different types of formulaic patterns that occur in the corpus, create a typology of the deviations of standard patterns that can be found, and situate the use of formulae in its broader literary and socio-cultural context, making a comparison with other Byzantine and/or Ancient Greek corpora. In order to answer these research questions, the PhD candidate will apply insights from linguistic disciplines such as historical sociolinguistics and cognitive linguistics – under the guidance of the main supervisor, Klaas Bentein – and work closely together with other PhD students and team members who are applying digital methods to the corpus and its metadata (natural language processing, graph-based data exploitation and analysis). The research is expected to lead to a PhD thesis, either in the form of a monograph or a collection of single- or co-authored articles and chapters. Next to the PhD thesis, the candidate will be expected to engage in a limited amount of teaching and dissemination activities that are connected to the research.

PhD Fellowship 2: Manuscript culture

This PhD candidate will be engaged in the Work Package ‘Manuscript Culture’. This WP will investigate the multiple connections that book epigrams establish between the material production of texts and their intellectual, spiritual and/or social significance in Byzantine society. Research questions involve various reading strategies that book epigrams propose for specific texts, as well as discourses of community building present in these epigrams. The research is situated at the intersection of Byzantine Studies, Palaeography and Manuscript Studies, and Digital Humanities.

The PhD student will perform research in preparation of a doctoral dissertation on a specific innovative theme within this general framework. The dissertation will be supervised by Floris Bernard (Medieval Greek literature) and Els De Paermentier (Medieval history and manuscript studies). The candidate will make extensive use of the Database of Byzantine Book Epigrams, working closely together with the other members of the research team. The student will regularly exchange intermediary results and help evaluate the computational tools developed within the project. The candidate will disseminate the research results in (partly co-authored) publications, implement the research in (limited) teaching duties, and create public awareness of the Greek manuscript heritage.

Job profile

  • At the time of appointment, you hold an MA degree (or equivalent) in the field of Classics, History, and/or Byzantine Studies, or in a related discipline;
  • You have a good knowledge of ancient and/or Byzantine Greek;
  • You have good oral and written communication skills in scientific English;
  • You have experience in working with digital resources in the field of Humanities;
  • You are able to take on responsibilities, work independently but also as part of an interdisciplinary research team;
  • You are able to develop new research ideas and are not afraid to be critical about your own work;
  • You are highly motivated, hardworking, flexible, able to face complex issues and you have an appropriate problem-solving attitude;
  • You have demonstrated skills in working with medieval manuscripts, and you are familiar with the disciplines of paleography and codicology (necessary for PhD2; recommended for PhD1);
  • You have an interest and acquaintance with corpus linguistics and/or other linguistics disciplines such as historical sociolinguistics and cognitive linguistics (only applies to PhD1).

Conditions of employment

For each of both positions, we offer a full-time, fixed-term appointment for initially 1 year, renewable after positive evaluation up to 4 years. You will work in an exciting multi-disciplinary international research environment, consisting of PhD students, postdocs and professors. Aside from an internationally very competitive monthly salary, you will enjoy all the staff benefits of Ghent University staff. 

Both fellowships are expected to start on 1 September 2023 or soon thereafter. 

How to apply

To apply, send your full application before 30 April 2023 to Prof. Dr. Klaas Bentein (PhD Fellowship 1) or Prof. Dr. Floris Bernard (PhD Fellowship 2). Your application includes the following documents, which you are required to be sent as pdfs named according to the template FAMILYNAME_FILETYPE:

  • A motivation letter in English;
  • A curriculum vitae;
  • Two recommendation letters, to be sent separately by the referees;
  • A relevant piece of academic writing (MA thesis, BA thesis, research essay, etc.);
  • A copy of your Master’s diploma or a statement that indicates the timeline to obtain one.

After an initial screening, interviews will take place (online if needed) in the week of May 15, 2023.


For more information about this vacancy, please contact:

Fellowship 1:

Fellowship 2: