PhD Student

Last application date
Jan 09, 2022 00:00
LW21 - Department of Languages and Cultures
Limited duration
MA diploma in Assyriology, Ancient Near Eastern studies or equivalent
Occupancy rate
Vacancy type
Research staff

Job description

Applications are invited for a four-year PhD candidate position to perform research in the field of Assyriology at the Research Unit Assyriology of the Department of Languages and Cultures in collaboration with LT3 - Language and Translation Technology Team and the Ghent Centre for Digital Humanities at Ghent University. The Research Unit Assyriology specializes in the analysis of documentary cuneiform sources for the study of the socio-economic history of the Old Babylonian period. LT3 conducts fundamental and applied research in the domain of language and translation technology.

The PhD candidate will perform research within the framework of the Belspo funded project CUNE-IIIF-ORM: Towards an Internationally Interoperable Corpus of Cuneiform Tablets. CUNE-IIIF-ORM brings together an interdisciplinary consortium of ancient historians, museum curators, digital humanities and heritage experts, digitisation specialists and computer scientists to open up the collections of the Royal Museums of Art and History for scientific exploitation and social valorisation. The PhD candidate will work on a corpus of Old Babylonian documentary cuneiform sources, including transliterating, translating, annotating, and applying digital humanities methodologies (Natural Language Processing).
The PhD candidate will perform academic research in preparation of a doctoral dissertation and will be enrolled in the doctoral training program of Ghent University.

Job profile

We are searching for a candidate with a background in Assyriology or Ancient Near Eastern studies with a strong interest in digital humanities methodologies.

  • You hold a MA diploma in Assyriology, Ancient Near Eastern studies or equivalent or a certificate that is recognized as equivalent (Article V.20 Codex Higher Education). When assessing a foreign (non-EU) diploma, an equivalence certificate may still have to be requested from NARIC; we advise you - if necessary - to start the recognition procedure at NARIC as soon as possible. You must have this recognition no later than the date of appointment.
  • You have thorough knowledge of cuneiform, Akkadian (Old Babylonian) and Sumerian
  • You have technical and digital literacy and have basic notions of Python or are willing to acquire them.
  • You have a background or strong interest in Natural Language Processing.
  • You have excellent oral and written communication skills in English.
  • You take initiative in searching for new research ideas.
  • You are not afraid to be critical about your own work.
  • You are highly motivated, hardworking, flexible, able to face complex issues and you have an appropriate problem-solving attitude.
  • You are able to take on responsibilities, work independently but also as part of an interdisciplinary research team.
  • You have strong communication and interpersonal skills.

We offer a position for four years with annual evaluations, in an exciting research environment, working on the intersection between Assyriology and Digital Humanities in the multi-disciplinary research environment of the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy at Ghent University. Remuneration will be determined according to salary scale AAP3 (more information about our salary scales at
All Ghent University staff members enjoy a number of benefits, such as a wide range of training and education opportunities, 38 days of paid leave, bicycle commuting reimbursement, ecocheques, etc. The starting date of the position is 1 March 2022.

How to apply

If you would like to know more about the vacancy or if you would like to apply, please contact Prof. Dr. Katrien De Graef ( and send your full application to the same e-mail address before 9 January 2022.
Your application should include the following documents in pdf-format:

  • application letter in English (max. 2 pages) indicating why you wish to pursue a PhD in Assyriology and outlining your prior experience in Ancient Near Eastern studies and/or digital humanities
  • curriculum vitae including your grades and two referees
  • copy of your MA thesis
  • copy of your MA diploma
  • copies of your publications (if applicable)

After an initial screening, interviews will take place in the week of 17 January 2022 through Zoom.