Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Birkbeck University of London
  • Location
    London, United Kingdom
  • Sector
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Apply by
  • Posted
    May 28

Position description

The Department of History at Birkbeck College, University of London, invites applications for one full-time Post-Doctoral Research Associate post for 11 months, to work with Dr Jessica Reinisch as part of a new HERA project on The Scientific Conference: A Social, Cultural, and Political History

The project explores the evolution of scientific and medical conferences as public spaces where knowledge is defined and exchanged, communities are shaped, and international relations are performed. We will trace the history of their emergence and development over the long twentieth century, study their various forms, and identify their inclusionary and exclusionary effects.

Project partners are Professor S. E. W. Widmalm (Uppsala University, Sweden), Dr Jessica Reinisch (Birkbeck), Dr Charlotte Bigg (Centre Alexandre Koyré, France), Dr Geert Somsen (Maastricht University, Netherlands). UK-based Associate Partners include the Science Museum and Royal Observatory Greenwich.

The Post-Doctoral Research Associate will assume responsibility for a case study that contributes to the project strand on ‘Scientific and medical experts and the conferences of international organisations, ca. 1920 – 1965’. The case study will be based on archival research and will help to shed light on the nature, work and impact of scientific experts at the conferences of international organisations in the interwar, war and post-war decades. Research questions for this project strand include:

  • What roles did scientific and medical experts perform at these conferences, and with what results?
  • Of what significance were the locations and formats of the conferences?
  • How important were these organisations’ conferences to their programmes, mandates, self-representation and public perception?
  • To what extent and by what means did these conferences give rise to a new ‘public sphere’ for internationalists of the post-war era, complete with their own language and cultural practices?
  • In what formal and informal ways did conferences reflect and shape international relations and wider geopolitical realities?

The Post-Doctoral Research Associate’s work is expected to lead to academic publications.

In addition to research on the case study, the Post-Doctoral Researcher will be involved in all aspects of the project and Birkbeck’s Centre for the Study of Internationalism so as to gain valuable professional and intellectual experience.

Applicants must have, or expect to obtain shortly, a PhD with a specialisation in modern history, the history of science, technology and medicine or related field. Prior experience of conducting archive research is essential, as is the ability to work in a team. Working knowledge of a relevant language other than English is highly desirable. A commitment to distributing academic knowledge widely and accessible is highly desirable, as is a demonstrable interest and track record in the themes and facets of the project.

The position is based in London but will require travel to the relevant archives. Research expenses for these trips are included in the post.

The position will start on 1 September 2019 or as soon as possible thereafter.

To apply, please click on apply below and provide a CV, a research statement of up to 1,000 words, and a statement explaining how your background and interests fit the position's requirement.


Grade 7 of the College's London Pay Scale which is £37,912 rising to £43,333 per annum.

The salary quoted is on the College's London Pay Scale which includes a consolidated Weighting/Allowance which applies only to staff whose normal contractual place of work is in the Greater London area.

Application instructions

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