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Education PhD programmes PhD Scholarship Programme

PhD scholarship in Big Data Archaeology (GIA) (B066220H)

Scholarship opportunities

We offer 1 PhD scholarship (bursary) position in Big Data Archaeology. As a PhD candidate, you will be committed to conducting independent and original scientific research, and will be expected to disseminate this research in academic (international peer-reviewed publications and presentations) and nonacademic forums.

Applicants are invited to propose a research outline, based on the archaeology of northwest Europe, or one of the other regions specified below. The central topic is the long term development of prehistoric or protohistoric communities, and big data analysis is the general approach. The Netherlands has several huge repositories (archaeobotany, archaeozoology, sites, 14C dating) that may be used as primary datasets for the project. See our staff pages for recent projects to which your outline may refer, and see below. In this proposal outline, an integration of theoretical and methodological approach and selected dataset(s) is suggested by the candidate. This proposal outline is used as input for the selection procedure, and the selected candidate will further develop her/his project on the basis of the input from the supervisors and datasets available.

Project examples include:

• Hunter-gatherer land use patterns in Northwest-Europe in relation to climate change (e.g. 8.2 ka event, sea level rise, drowning of Doggerland)
• Prehistoric farmers settlement patterns in Northwest-Europe (e.g. developments in settlement and burial location or subsistence strategies, sea level rise)
• The occupation and exploitation of the terp mound area of the northern Netherlands in relation to sea level rise and landscape development
• Pastoralism and state in Bronze and Iron Age Anatolia and the Levant, investigated through legacy zooarchaeology data from key sites (e.g. Troy)
• Crop selection in The Netherlands from the start of agriculture until the recent past. This research includes a critical update of available data, both with respect to taxonomy and morphology.


We are looking for talented and ambitious researchers in the relevant disciplines with:

• a master's degree in archaeology with an excellent academic record
• proven research abilities and close affinity with the research topic
• excellent command of English and proven academic writing skills.


Since its foundation in 1614, the University of Groningen has established an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative university offering high-quality teaching and research. Its 32,000 students are encouraged to develop their own individual talents through challenging study and career paths. The University of Groningen is an international center of knowledge: it belongs to the best research universities in Europe and is allied with prestigious partner universities and networks worldwide.

GIA (Groningen Institute of Archaeology) is a leading international research institute with a strong interdisciplinary research tradition in bioarchaeology, Mediterranean archaeology and post-glacial prehistory. GIA engages in fundamental archaeological research in Northwest Europe, the Mediterranean and the Polar Regions. GIA stimulates and integrates fundamental research on past human societies and their environments, from Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers to complex urban societies. The current scholarship is related to the research group Archaeology of northwest Europe. This group researches the prehistory and protohistory of the Netherlands in its international setting, and has a strong tradition in bioarchaeological research, also beyond this area.

The Graduate School for the Humanities is the home for all PhD candidates of the Faculty of Arts (circa 200), and is committed to creating and maintaining excellent conditions for PhD research in all fields of the humanities. In addition to organizing local courses, the GSH works closely with 16 national research schools, which offer regular courses and seminars by top national and international researchers.


The PhD scholarship programme:
Information about the legal and financial framework of the PhD scholarship programme can be found here: Please study the conditions carefully before applying.

You will participate in the Faculty’s GSH training programme for PhD students (cf. Part of the training consists in following the Career Perspectives curriculum, which aims to prepare students for their (academic or non-academic) careers after the PhD trajectory. You are also strongly encouraged to expand your skill set by following the faculty-funded Start-to-Teach programme as part of your PhD training, see:

Preferred start date: 1 October 2020 (may be adjusted subject to agreement)


Please send your entire application (in English) as a single PDF-file until the deadline of Thursday 30 July 11:59 pm / before Friday 31 July 2020 Central European Time, by means of the application form (click on 'Apply' below on the advertisement on the university website). Please upload your entire application as "letter of motivation".

The submission should contain the following:

1. A cover letter introducing yourself, describing your motivation and suitability for PhD research, and explaining how your planned research will be integrated with the Groningen Institute of Archaeology and contribute to its future success
2. A full CV demonstrating academic excellence, including publications and presentations (if applicable), and a copy of the data page of your passport
3. A certified copy or scan of your MA diploma (or equivalent) and academic record
4. A research proposal, focusing on the central research question to be addressed and the proposed method of approaching and answering this question (circa 1500 words, plus tables and references, a project title plus a timeline through to completion). See the guidelines in the following website:
5. Names and contact details of two academic references.

For questions regarding the submission procedure, please contact Drs M.R.B. Wubbolts: m.r.b.wubbolts

Interviews with shortlisted candidates are planned for the second half of August 2020.

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.


For information you can contact:

  • Prof. R.M. Esser (questions regarding the Graduate School for the Humanities), r.m.esser
  • Prof. D.C.M. Raemaekers (question regarding the research group and topic), d.c.m.raemaekers

Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.