Application Deadline: 7 February 2018.

Three PhD research assistant positions, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, are available at the University of Geneva (General History Department), the Graduate Institute Geneva (International History Department) and the University of Lausanne (Institute of Political, Historical and International Studies).

Start Date: 1 September 2018

Contract Duration: four years

Position Percentage: full-time (100%)

Gross Annual Salary: Sfr. 47,040 (first year), Sfr. 48,540 (second year), Sfr. 50,040 (third and fourth years)

Host Institution: each institution will host one of the three positions

Work Location: University of Geneva (the three PhD students will work together in a team that includes a postdoctoral researcher and an IT engineer)

Project Description

The three PhD research assistants will be part of the project “Rockefeller Fellows as Heralds of Globalization: the Circulation of Elites, Knowledge and Practices of Modernization (1920s–1970s).” The project is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and co-led by Ludovic Tournès (University of Geneva), Thomas David (University of Lausanne), and Davide Rodogno (Graduate Institute) in collaboration with the Rockefeller Archive Center (Sleepy Hollow, NY, USA).


– Masters degree in history or equivalent degree in another social science;
– Proficiency in either French or English with at least passive knowledge of the other; proficiency in a third language an asset, depending on the thesis topic chosen. Candidates without French language proficiency must commit to learning French during their first two years.
– Familiarity with the field of transnational history and with network and database analysis; interest in multidisciplinary studies; aptitude for collaborative work.

Research Area

Candidates are free to choose their thesis topics. However, project coordinators will take the topic’s compatibility and/or the candidate’s personal interest in the research project into account when considering applications. Priority will be given to topics in the following areas:
– The development of social sciences programs within universities, research institutes, and international organizations;
– Humanities, culture, and global heritage;
– African elites and decolonization;
– The reconfiguration of the public health and economic fields in Central and Eastern Europe;
– The circulation of development practices, particularly in education, public health, hygiene in rural areas, social policies, or agriculture;
– The founding of public administrations in newly independent States during the 20th century, particularly in the Middle East;
– Fundamental research and applied research in biomedicine.

Job Description

PhD students working on the project will be required to:
1. Prepare a doctoral thesis;
2. Publish papers related to their thesis topic;
3. Contribute to collaborative research on the project, including the creation of a database of Rockefeller Foundation fellows (approximately 11,000 individuals from 80 countries between 1917 and 1970);
4. Take part in organizing workshops and conferences related to the project.

The three project coordinators will provide appropriate supervision and an inspiring work atmosphere as part of a team of historians actively engaged in research.

Application Checklist
– Statement of purpose letter
– CV
– Copies of all university diplomas
– Electronic copy of a research paper (Masters thesis, seminar or conference paper, or other academic publication)
– Thesis proposal (welcome but not required)

Interviews with selected candidates will be held during 10-15 February 2018

Send all application materials to:

Ludovic Tournès
Université de Genève, Département d’histoire générale
5 Rue Saint-Ours, 1211 Genève 4

…or via email to

Please contact Ludovic Tournès at either of the above addresses with any questions you may have.

For more information, please visit the Kommunikation und Fachinformation fuer die Geschichtswissenschaften website.  Be advised that although the website does provide information in English, much is still available only in German.