Saturday, August 16, 2008

PhD Student for viral genomics - Netherland

PhD Student for viral genomics as an imaginative science Nijmegen,
(Gelderland), 40 hours per week Radboud University Nijmegen

Job description
Between uncertainty and catastrophe: viral genomics as an imaginative
science Public audiences and mass media tend to be receptive to the idea
that we are heading for anthropogenic (man-made) catastrophes: dramatic
events on a global scale that can only be prevented if we (rather
drastically) change our behavioural patterns and basic attitudes, - or
develop a new generation of technologies and new forms of expertise in order
to prevent disaster.

This idea gives impetus to a broad variety of current
debates, ranging from concerns regarding ecological crises, sea-level
fluctuations and climate change (on the “macro” level) up to concerns over
nanotechnology and synthetic biology (on the “micro” level). It is against
the backdrop of these developments that viral genomics quickly becomes a
research field of eminent importance. Due to a number of social trends such
as increase of global mobility (notably air traffic) and of bio-mobility
(animals, bacteria, viruses etc.), but also increased population density
(notably in large urban centres) and climate change, the urgency of this
type of research is bound to increase. How to detect and counter-act the
emergence of new epidemiological threats to the health and well-being of
human populations, of new infectious diseases? Experts involved in this
field are facing a number of dilemmas. While policy-makers and mass media
expect solid knowledge and reliable predictions, viral genomics studies
complex developments characterised by high levels of uncertainty that call
for an imaginative approach. Moreover, by becoming increasingly involved in
the production of synthetic life forms for research purposes, viral genomics
itself will affect the boundary zones of life. The developments outlined
above raise a number of questions, such as: what is the role of the
catastrophe narrative in the governance of viral threats? How to assess,
from a societal perspective, issues involved in research with novel life
forms? The PhD researcher will address these issues in an interactive
manner, involving viral genomics experts as well as various societal actors.
The project will be conducted in close collaboration with VIRGO, a
consortium that studies intervention strategies for respiratory virus
infections. Output: Ph.D. thesis, articles, lectures (both academic and

University Graduate
Applicants must have a Master’s degree in philosophy or science studies. All research projects of CSG combine descriptive activities with normative assessments as well as interventions. Researchers (and project leaders) should display a willingness to engage in interdisciplinary collaboration, ambition to design and use innovative interactive methods, ambition to interact with relevant groups and stakeholders during the project, and must have excellent analytic capacities, excellent communication skills, and openness towards (and willingness to respond to) important scientific and societal developments.

Radboud University Nijmegen Faculty of Science, Mathematics and Computing Science
Strategically located in Europe, Radboud University Nijmegen is one of the leading academic communities in the Netherlands. A place with a personal touch, where top-flight education and research take place on a beautiful green campus in modern buildings with state-of-art facilities.

Understanding and improving the interaction between society and genomics is the mission of our Centre, which is based at Radboud University Nijmegen. CSG is one of the research centres funded by the Netherlands Genomics Initiative (NGI). Genomics is a rapidly growing research field with a far-reaching impact on healthcare, food, industry and the environment. Since 2004, CSG has been developing a programme on genomics and society which includes interdisciplinary research as well as innovative communication and education activities. In 2007, CSG received funding for an additional five-year term. The new programme (CSG Next) includes more than 50 research projects, most of them conducted in collaboration with other research centres of the genomics network. CSG research projects are carried out at various universities in the Netherlands and include a variety of disciplines (e.g. philosophy, STS, ethics and social science). All projects combine research with innovative methods for societal interaction and foster collaboration with genomics scientists, policy-makers and societal stakeholders. CSG offers an active and inspiring network of junior and senior scientists and scholars who regularly collaborate and convene to exchange experiences and views.

Conditions of employment
Estimated maximum salary per month: eur 2500 - 3000

Maximum salary amount in Euro’s a month 2558
Employment basis: Temporary for specified period
Duration of the contract: Eighteen months, with possible extension to four years
Maximum hours per week: 40

Additional conditions of employment:
Salary scale: PhD scale.

Additional Information
Additional information about the vacancy can be obtained from:

prof.dr. H. Zwart
Telephone number: +31-24-3652038
E-mail address:

You can apply for this job before 15-08-2008 by sending your application to:

Faculteit der Natuurwetenschappen, Wiskunde en Informatica
RU, FNWI, P & O, mrs. M. Nelemans
PO Box 9010, 6500 GL, Nijmegen, NL

E-mail address: