JOBANNONCE: Roskilde University PhD in Historical Population Health Sciences
Afdeling: Institut for Naturvidenskab og Miljø. Ansøgningsfrist: 27-05-2019
Department of Science and Environment, Roskilde University, invites applications for a position as a PhD student in historical epidemiology from August 1 2019 or as soon as possible thereafter. The position as PhD is limited to a period of 3 years.  

Description of the PhD project  

The title of the PhD project is: Studies of epidemic diseases responsible for exceptional mortality impact in Denmark in the 19th century.  
While much research has been done on the diffusion and impact of the 1918 “Spanish Influenza” pandemic, not much attention have been given to other major epidemic diseases in the 19th century – despite the fact that they caused far more deaths and reduction in life expectancy. The lack of such studies is in part because of a lack of detailed historical health data needed for such studies, and in part because of a siloing of researchers into various disciplines that communicate only rarely. Our field requires serious interdisciplinary study. Denmark with its unique availability of detailed historical records of morbidity and mortality data from the 19th and 20th century is a perfect setting for addressing novel questions about important epidemic diseases and their health impact.  
The work we do in the department of science and environment in the mathematical bioscience team encompasses the uncovering of data material, digitalization, and the analysis of the epidemic “signature” patterns, using all quantitative and qualitative tools available (modeling, mapping) and more. We also find that it is necessary to firmly place the analyses in the socio-economic-demographic and medical context at the time.  
The PhD candidate will join our interdisciplinary team of excellent scholars of historical pandemics. The team has expertise in epidemiology, global health, statistical and mathematical modeling and we are looking to strengthen the historical medicine/demography aspects of this research.  

The Doctoral School  

You will be enrolled as a PhD student at the Doctoral School of Science and Environment  
The Doctoral School of Science and Environment is an international graduate school that covers a broad range of research topics within the areas of science and environment. The PhD scholarship is financed by Roskilde University.  
As a PhD student, you will be associated with the research area “Modeling of Epidemic Diseases”. The successful candidate will join an interdisciplinary team of researchers who conduct studies on historical and contemporary epidemic diseases. The group is now looking to strengthen the “context” component in order to better understanding epidemic dissemination, eradication as well as their health and societal impact as it was centuries ago. An important aspect of all of this is to understand the population immunity and risk of severe outcomes of diseases due to other factors such as co-morbidities and insults to the immune system; also, the impact of system changes such as agricultural developments, laws protecting children from hard labor, maternal education and other factors are of interest.  

Responsibilities and tasks  

The PhD position is an educational position and the main tasks are in accordance with chapter 3, Ministerial Order on the PhD Programme at the Universities and Certain Higher Artistic Educational Institutions (,  


You must hold a master’s degree or equivalent within history, historical medicine or historical demography. Qualifications within the following areas are required  
  • Experience with study of historical diseases impact or patterns  
  • Experience with identifying, digitalizing and analyzing historical health datasets  
  • Research experience  
  • Proficiency in Excel or similar, and interest in learning statistical/analytic software such as R, Python, GIS  
We also emphasize the following qualifications:  
  • Experience with working in an interdisciplinary team towards a common goal  
  • Experience with oral and written presentations  
  • Fluency in written and spoken English – a working language in this research team  
You are required to be enterprising and to possess good communication skills and to be a visible, involved participant in the department’s daily activities, in addition to being willing to engage in disciplinary and interdisciplinary collaboration across the department.  
In the assessment regarding employment consideration will be given to;  
In the assessment regarding enrollment consideration will also be given to the following criteria:  
  • Educational skills and any further professional qualifications  
  • Grades at Master’s programme or equivalent (must be completed by summer 2019)  
  • Quality and relevance of the project description  
    • Considerations regarding 19th century major epidemic and pandemic diseases in Denmark shall be included in your project description  
    • Your project description shall be no more than 4-6 pages  
  • Quality and relevance of the methodical and theoretical choices  
  • Consistency and coherence between the problem and the choice of method and theory  
  • If the PhD project seem realistic and feasible  
  • Ability to complete the PhD project  
  • Relevance of the project to the profile of the Doctoral School  


For further information about the position, please contact professor Lone Simonsen on tlf +(45) 4674 26 06 or mobil +45 23429503, or Head of department Susanne Sørensen (+45) 46742111  

Terms of employment  

The employment is on full time 37 hours per week and you will refer to professor Lone Simonsen.  
The position will be filled according to the Agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC) and Job Structure for Academic Staff at Universities.  

Application procedure 

After the deadline for applications the Head of Department will shortlist applicants for assessment with assistance from the recruitment committee including the chairperson of the assessment committee.


Shortly after the application deadline all applicants will be notified whether or not their application has been selected for assessment.


The shortlisted applicants will be informed about the composition of the assessment committee, and each applicant will be given the opportunity to comment on the composition of the committee and - later on - their assessment.


Once the recruitment process is completed, all applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application.


To apply for the position go to 
Only applications in English are accepted. 
Applications must include: 
1. Cover letter 
2. CV 
3. Documentation of education including grades from Master’s programme or equivalent 
4. Your description of the PhD project 
5. Your time schedule of the PhD project 
6. If applicable: Documentation for any research experience, work experience or publications. 
7. A 1 or 2-page description of how you can contribute to the research project
Please submit your application no later than May 27, 2019.
Material received after this date will not be taken into consideration. 
Roskilde University wishes to reflect the diversity of society and welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background. Podcast

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