Job vacancy: PhD position in history and philosophy of the life sciences

The Freudenthal Institute and Descartes Centre at Utrecht University are looking for a PhD candidate to join the research group “Microbiome research and race in the ‘Local South'”, which investigates the use and legitimacy of the concept of race in human microbiome research. The main questions of the research group are: How can scientists in human microbiome ecology adopt epistemically fruitful, non-discriminatory, and locally relevant classification criteria of human diversity and race? And how can such local epistemologies of human diversity be integrated within a globally operating science?

Within this framework, the PhD candidate will lead the sub-project “Transitions in Racial Classification from Human Genetics to Human Microbiome Research.” This subproject involves detailed analyses of genomics and metagenomics publications (esp. on the gut microbiome), historical and empirical research, including interaction with scientists working on human microbiome research in local settings in South Africa. Findings on historical shifts in racial classifications are key to develop new tools to study human diversity in the field of microbiome research.

For all information on the vacancy and to apply, please visit this page. You can also contact Dr Abigail Nieves Delgado, via

Deadline for applications: 6 November 2023.