PhD candidate in Buddhist Studies (1.0 FTE)

Leiden, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands

Job description

Faculty of Humanities, Leiden Institute for Area Studies is looking for a

PhD candidate in Buddhist Studies (1.0 FTE)
Vacancy number 18-200

Project description
The successful candidate will carry out research on Buddhist scriptures. This is part of the ERC-funded project, “The Composition of Buddhist Scriptures: Open Philology” headed by Professor Jonathan A. Silk. Details of the project may be found at The project is working to develop architectures for editing Buddhist scriptures which by their nature lack an Ur-text, and therefore cannot be edited in a traditional stemmatic fashion. Candidates are asked to familiarize themselves with the proposal before submitting an application.

The PhD student will, in addition to core work on a thesis, contribute to a database which will provide the materials for alignment of the Tibetan and Chinese translations of the Mahāratnakūṭa collection of sūtras, and will work on this alignment itself. The thesis will normally include an edition and critical study of one or more of the sūtras in this collection.

The postholder will have high level knowledge of the relevant Buddhist languages, optimally Chinese, Tibetan and Sanskrit.

Key responsibilities

  • Write a thesis on a sūtra in the Mahāratnakūṭa collection;
  • Participate in the research team building the editing environment;
  • Aid in the alignment of the Tibetan and Chinese versions of the Mahāratnakūṭa collection;
  • Disseminate his/her own research and the project to non-academic parties and on social media.

Selection criteria

  • An MA degree in Buddhist Studies or a relevant degree;
  • Sufficient command of the relevant languages to engage in the research;
  • Ability to communicate in written and oral academic English;
  • Commitment to high-quality research, publication, and dissemination;
  • Ability to plan and execute tasks independently and punctually;
  • Ability to work as part of a larger team.

Our Faculty/Institute
The Faculty of Humanities is rich in expertise in fields such as philosophy, religious studies, history, art history, literature, linguistics and area studies covering nearly every region of the world. With its staff of 995, the faculty provides 27 master’s and 25 bachelor’s programmes for over 7,000 students based at locations in Leiden’s historic city centre and in modern buildings in The Hague.

The PhD candidate will hold a position in the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies. LIAS is comprised of a School of Asian Studies and a School of Middle-Eastern Studies, with international staff and student populations. The institute is committed to a present-day vision of area studies, integrating disciplinary and regional-historical perspectives on a solid foundation of excellent language skills.

Terms and conditions
We offer a fixed-term position, for 38 hours per week, from, at latest, January 2019, through December 2022. Applicants might begin before January 2019, but a later start is not possible in view of the end of funding for the project on 31 December 2022. Salary range, depending on education and work experience, from €31,624 to €40.430 (pay scale P in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities) gross per year, based on a full-time appointment.

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. 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. More at

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

Enquiries can be directed to Jonathan Silk, email

How to apply

Applications must be received no later than 31 August 2018. Applications should be in English, and be submitted Please ensure that you include in a single PDF document named ‘FAMILY NAME – Given name – vacancy number and in this order:

  • A CV including education history and publications;
  • A letter of motivation;
  • One sample publication or other piece of academic written work;
  • Names, positions and email addresses of two referees (no reference letters).

Enquiries from agencies are not appreciated.

Leiden is a typical university city, hosting the oldest university in the Netherlands (1575). The University permeates the local surroundings; University premises are scattered throughout the city, and the students who live and study in Leiden give the city its relaxed yet vibrant atmosphere.