PhD Fellowship in Philosophy of Science

Updated: 5 months ago
Deadline: 01 Dec 2023

We are looking for a highly motivated candidate for a three-year PhD project commencing April 1st, 2024 or as soon as possible thereafter. The PhD position is available via an ERC-funded project called DataSpace, conducting theoretical and ethnographical studies of what drives the establishment of cross-border data infrastructures and how they affect everyday healthcare (PI: Professor Klaus Hoeyer at the Department of Public Health). The PhD project will be part of a work package led by Associate Professor Sara Green, at the Section for History and Philosophy of Science, Department of Science Education, University of Copenhagen.

The project
DataSpace explores what is driving the establishment of cross-border health-data infrastructures and proposes a new conceptualization of how the pursuit of health is shaped by data. Healthcare is increasingly datafied and a wide range of actors – patients, clinicians, administrators, policymakers and industry – want to be able to exchange and access health data across national boundaries. Competing initiatives for fostering cross-border data integration proliferate, and the EU provides major investments, e.g., through the European Health Data Space (EHDS). These massive investments will influence healthcare, administration and research, but we do not know how. The project investigates which types of infrastructures are being established, with which implications for whom, and what comes to be included and acted upon in relation to health, organizational performance, and health policy. Furthermore, these investments emerge in tandem with wider social changes where data have become constitutive for the lives we can live. With DataSpace we therefore explore and conceptualize how people experience themselves and the world around them with and through data.

The PhD (sub)project will explore contemporary attempts to facilitate transnational sharing and reuse of data from general practice (GP). With the EHDS and some national Danish initiatives, data from GPs are expected to be integrated with genomic data, data from specialized care, and patient-generated data (wearables and privately purchased test results). The benefits of using so-called ‘real-world data’ for research is highlighted in the justification of the EHDS as well as EU Darwin, but general practice is often considered a missing link in the wider data chain. Policy reports promote Denmark as a “digital frontrunner” of the EHDS, highlighting unique potentials for integrating electronic health records from general practice and specialized care in the same data space, as well as facilitating the sharing of self-collected patient data (e.g., from wearables). These political promisesinstall investments in infrastructure. They have implications for the usersand the practical conditions for data workin clinical practice. The purpose is not only clinical, but also to stimulate research and innovation across EU member states. In the positivistic discourses of policy reports, it is seen as a necessary step to build knowledge – to know the ‘truth’. To be useful for research, however, data from general practice must be standardized, preferably in line with data formats in specialized care. Integration thus implies that standards for diagnostic coding in the two contexts are epistemically and practically compatible. It is a major challenge, however, not least across different national jurisdictions and medical traditions. The PhD project explores what this implies for general practice and for research, and how patients and GPs experience new roles and responsibilities. The project is situated in the field of philosophy of science in practice and employs an empirically informed philosophical analysis, e.g., participant observation, qualitative interviews with Danish GPs and patients, as well as an analysis of online discussions among patient groups and health professionals. The project thereby explores the everyday living of data production and exchange at the level of care that European citizens engage with most frequently.

Further information about the project and the position can be acquired from main supervisor Associate Professor Sara Green ([email protected] ) or PI, Professor Klaus Hoeyer ([email protected] ).

Place of employment
The PhD candidate will be based at the Department of Science Education but will also be affiliated with the Department of Public Health. The candidate will thus be embedded in two stimulating research environments, as part of the HPS-group at the Section for History and Philosophy of Science and the Center for Medical Science and Technology Studies (MeST ). As part of the PhD education, the candidate will receive teaching training and is expected to contribute to teaching of courses offered by the Department of Science Education.

The principal supervisor will be Associate Professor Sara Green and co-supervised by Professor Klaus Hoeyer . It is possible to suggest additional co-supervisors.

Who are we looking for?
We are looking for a highly motivated and enthusiastic PhD candidate with the following competencies and experience:

  • Applicants should have a Master’s degree (see specifications below) and educational background in a relevant discipline, e.g., philosophy, history and philosophy of science, science and technology studies, anthropology, medicine, or a related field of study.
  • Additional training and experience with qualitative methods is strongly preferred.
  • Applicants should have good English skills, both written and spoken. Danish language skills are considered an advantage.
  • It is desirable to have basic knowledge of the medical field and data studies.
  • It is considered an advantage that candidates have an interest in and experience with teaching of philosophy of science or similar topics.
  • It is desirable for candidates to be comfortable working in research groups.  

About the Section for History and Philosophy of Science
We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in a dynamic and international research environment. The Section for History and Philosophy of Science currently has 10 permanent faculty members. Our research is dedicated to history and philosophy of science, with a focus on practice-oriented and empirically informed history and philosophy of science, addressing epistemological and ethical aspects of science and its use. The HPS Section offers mandatory courses in philosophy of science to approximately 1000 science students per year and also works on the development of teaching strategies and teaching materials in connection to these courses. Our website provides more information on the members of the Section and the research we conduct. The Section for History and Philosophy of Science is part of the Department of Science Education, in the Faculty of SCIENCE at University of Copenhagen. We are located centrally in Copenhagen, in the Niels Bohr Building near the central park Fælledparken.

The PhD programme
A three year full-time study within the framework of the regular PhD programme (5+3 scheme), if you already have an education equivalent to a relevant Danish master’s degree. 

Qualifications needed
To be eligible for the PhD programme, you must have completed a degree programme, equivalent to a Danish master’s degree (180 ECTS/3 FTE BSc + 120 ECTS/2 FTE MSc) related to the subject area of the project, e.g., in history and philosophy of science, philosophy, or science and technology studies. For information on eligibility of completed programmes, see General assessments for specific countries and Assessment database .

Terms of employment
Employment as a PhD fellow is full time and for a maximum 3 years.

Employment is conditional upon your successful enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD School at the Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project formulated by the applicant.

The terms of employment and salary are in accordance to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State (AC). The position is covered by the Protocol on Job Structure.

Responsibilities and tasks

  • Carry through an independent research project under supervision
  • Complete PhD courses corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS / ½ FTE
  • Participate in active research environments, including a stay at another research institution, preferably abroad
  • Teaching and knowledge dissemination activities (corresponding to approx. 1/2 FTE)
  • Write scientific papers aimed at high-impact journals
  • Write and defend a PhD thesis on the basis of your project

We are looking for the following qualifications:

  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project
  • Relevant work experience
  • Other relevant professional activities
  • Curious mind-set with a strong interest in practice-oriented philosophy of science
  • Interest in collaborative work
  • Good language skills
  • Publications (if available)


Application and Assessment Procedure
Your application including all attachments must be in English and submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include

  • Cover letter (max. two pages)
  • Motivation letter explaining your reasons for applying for this particular PhD position (max. one page)
  • Curriculum vitae including information about your education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position
  • Original diplomas (Bachelor and Master degree or equivalent) and a transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation if issued in another language than English or Danish. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor is accepted.
  • Publication list (if available)
  • Names and email addresses of two references (reference letters are not required)
  • Application deadline:
    The deadline for applications is December 1 2023, 23:59 GMT +1.

    We reserve the right not to consider material received after the deadline, and not to consider applications that do not live up to the above mentioned requirements.

    The further process
    After the deadline, a number of applicants will be selected for academic assessment by an unbiased expert assessor. You are notified, whether your application will selected for assessment.

    The assessor will assess the qualifications and experience of the shortlisted applicants with respect to the above mentioned research area, techniques, skills and other requirements. The assessor will conclude whether each applicant is qualified. The assessed applicants will have the opportunity to comment on their assessment. You can read about the recruitment process at .

    Interviews with selected candidates are expected to be held in the week of January 22-26, 2024

    For specific information about the PhD fellowship, please contact Sara Green ([email protected] ).

    General information about PhD study at the Faculty of SCIENCE is available at the PhD School’s website: .

    The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding community and invites all regardless of personal background to apply for the position. 

    Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.

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