PhD candidate in Buddhist Studies

Faculty of Humanities, Leiden Institute for Area Studies is looking for a

PhD candidate in Buddhist Studies (1.0 fte)
Vacancy number 17-209

Project description

The candidate will carry out research on Buddhist scriptures. This is part of the ERC-funded project, “The Composition of Buddhist Scriptures: Open Philology” headed by Prof. Jonathan A. Silk. Details of the project may be found at Candidates are asked to familiarize themselves with the proposal before submitting an application.

The project seeks to develop architectures for editing Buddhist scriptures which by their nature lack an Ur-text, and therefore cannot be edited in a traditional stemmatic fashion.

The PhD candidate will, in addition to core work on a thesis, contribute to the concept design of a database which will provide the materials for alignment of the Tibetan and Chinese translations of the Mahāratnakūṭa collection of sūtras, and will work on this alignment itself. The thesis will include an edition and critical study one or more of the sūtras in this collection. For the design of the database, researchers will work together with IT specialists and the PI (Silk).

Key responsibilities

  • Write a thesis on a sūtra in the Mahāratnakūṭa collection;
  • Participate in the research team building the editing environment;
  • Aid in the alignment of the Tibetan and Chinese versions of the Mahāratnakūṭa collection;
  • Disseminate his/her own research and the project to non-academic parties and on social media.

Selection criteria

  • A MA degree in Buddhist Studies or a relevant degree;
  • The postholder will have high level knowledge of the relevant Buddhist languages, optimally Chinese, Tibetan and Sanskrit;
  • Sufficient command of the relevant languages to engage in the research;
  • Ability to communicate in written and oral academic English;
  • Commitment to high-quality research, publication, and dissemination, including through social media, blogs or websites;
  • Ability to plan and execute tasks independently and punctually;
  • Ability to work as part of a larger team.

Our Faculty/Institute

The Faculty of Humanities is rich in expertise in fields as philosophy, religious studies, history, art history, literature, linguistics and regional studies covering nearly every region of the world. Our faculty is home to more than 5400 students and 800 staff members. For more information, see
The PhD candidate will hold a position in the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies ( LIAS is comprised of a School of Asian Studies and a School of Middle-Eastern Studies, with international staff and student populations. The institute is committed to a present-day vision of area studies, integrating disciplinary and regional-historical perspectives on a solid foundation of excellent language skills.
LIAS is committed to the integration of disciplinary and regional-historical perspectives, on a solid foundation of excellent language skills, and comprises a School of Asian Studies and a School of Middle-Eastern Studies

Terms and conditions

We offer a fixed-term post from 1 January 2018 until 31 December 2021. A slightly later start is possible. Salary range, depending on education and work experience, from €2,191 to €2.801 (pay scale P in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities) gross per month, based on a full-time appointment.

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. More at


Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.


Enquiries can be made to Jonathan Silk at email


Applications must be received no later than 31 August 2017. Applications must be in English, and be submitted to, with the items listed below included in this order in ONE single PDF document named ‘FAMILY NAME – Given name – 17-xxx’:
• A CV including education history and publications;
• A letter of motivation;
• One sample publication or other piece of written work (e.g. thesis chapter);
• Names, positions and email addresses of two referees (no reference letters).

Acquisition following this advertisement is not appreciated.

Laatst Gewijzigd: 04-08-2017