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Fully Funded PhD Researcher (f/m/d) in Geography, History, Digital Humanities or Social Sciences - Ref 22-17

Campus Belval , 11, Porte des Sciences, L - 4366 Esch-Sur-Alzette , Luxembourg

  • Ref 22-17

  • Full time, 40 hours/week 

  • 36 months fixed-term contract, renewable up to 4 years

  • Work contract at LISER, department of Urban Development and Mobility (UDM)

  • Candidate should begin the PhD between September 2022 and January 2023

  • Deadline for application: 15th August 2022

  • Start date: as soon as possible


LISER invites highly motivated applicants for a PhD position on the broad topic of “land and property ownership from feudalism to industrialisation”. The doctoral candidate will work within the framework of the Doctoral Training Unit (DTU) Deep Data Science of Digital History (D4H). This interdisciplinary DTU coordinated by the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH) focuses on multiple challenges at the intersection between the disciplines of history and data science. The C²DH is a research centre for the study, analysis, and public dissemination of contemporary history of Luxembourg and Europe, with a particular focus on digital methods and tools to enable innovative historical research.

The D4H DTU involves the C²DH, the Faculty of Science, Technology and Medicine (FSTM), the Institute of History (IHIST) of the Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (FHSE), the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) and the Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER). For a detailed description of the conceptual framework and the training program see: https://dhh.uni.lu/d4h. The DTU will include 18 PhD positions, all of which will be formally enrolled in the University of Luxembourg.

Under the supervision of LISER Research Scientist Antoine Paccoud, the candidate will develop a PhD project on the long run evolution of land and property ownership. There are very few systematic studies of the structure of land and property ownership in Europe between the 18th and the mid-20th century. In Luxembourg, land registry and other archives make it possible to reconstruct the accumulation trajectories of families who owned land and property for close to two centuries. Through this data, it would be possible to study the impact of two major historical events in Luxembourg: the transition from feudalism to a ‘modern’ property ownership structure (in the aftermath of the French Revolution in 1789) and the transition from a rural to an industrial economy from the second half of the 19th century. Both of these events had spatially differentiated effects. For example, during the revolutionary times, some areas experienced more conflict and some areas saw larger expropriations of church and noble land than others. The industrial revolution also had a clear geography: while it started in the centre of the country around the capital in the 1840s, steel production moved to the southern region (close to the iron ore deposits) from the 1860s. The project will thus draw on historical big data, historical mapping as well as land registry and genealogical sources to reconstruct the evolution of land and property ownership and explore its social and economic impacts.

Antoine Paccoud (https://liser.elsevierpure.com/en/persons/antoine-paccoud) is a social geographer with a PhD from the London School of Economics (LSE). He is a research scientist at LISER and coordinates the Housing Observatory, a collaboration between LISER and the Luxembourg Housing Ministry focused on the analysis of housing data and policies. He has published on Haussmann’s transformation of Paris, on gentrification linked to the private rental sector in the United Kingdom (buy-to-let gentrification) and on the application of contemporary philosophy to the social sciences. He is currently studying the consequences for housing production and local economic development of Luxembourg’s highly unequal landownership structure.


Your Role

– Prepare a PhD thesis in geography or history;

– Participate in DTU and LISER training activities and research workshops;

– Present papers at academic conferences;

– Publish peer-reviewed journal articles.


Your Profile

– A Master’s degree in geography, history, digital humanities or social sciences;

– Good digital literacy;

– Excellent command of English and French. Knowledge of Luxembourgish or German will be considered as an asset;

LISER particularly encourages female researchers to apply.


We offer

– A highly competitive salary for the full-time PhD position plus a generous annual training budget;

– Ad-hoc training and career development as well as access to a wide range of courses and seminars offered by LISER and the University;

– A dynamic and stimulating research environment with top-tier and many other PhD students;

– An exciting multi-disciplinary and international research environment with ample opportunities to exchange with scholars from related disciplines at both LISER and the University;

– Personal workspace at LISER and excellent work equipment.


About LISER and the University of Luxembourg

LISER is a publicly funded research institute in Luxembourg devoted to applied research in economic, social, and spatial sciences. The institute has about 180 employees and 100 researchers. LISER excels particularly in the fields of public and labor economics, urban planning and mobility, being among the top 10 institutions worldwide for research on migration (IDEAS). Interdisciplinary is at the heart of the institute, which creates a stimulating and innovative environment. The working languages at LISER are English and French.

Founded in 2003, the University of Luxembourg is a modern institution aspiring to be one of Europe’s most highly regarded universities. With less than two decades of existence, the University of Luxembourg already ranks among the best 300 universities in the world (THE, 2022). It is structured around three faculties and three interdisciplinary centers with a distinctly international, multilingual, and interdisciplinary character. In 2021, the university’s staff included 270 professors and about 8,000 students, 52% of them foreigners coming from over 120 different countries.

The institute is located on the new Belval campus in the south of Luxembourg, which hosts the University of Luxembourg and a substantial part of the country’s publicly funded research facilities, i.e. LISER, the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) cross-national data center, the Luxembourg institutes of Health (LIH) and of Science and Technology (LIST).

Information for foreign researchers interested in Luxembourg research is accessible via the national EURAXESS platform http://www.euraxess.lu/


About Luxembourg

Despite its small size, Luxembourg is one of the most dynamic and diverse countries in Europe. It mixes modern culture and tradition, a majestic capital city, and breathtaking nature. As one of the wealthiest countries in the world, Luxembourg offers excellent health care, education, and amenities, including a variety of cultural activities such as museums, music venues, theatres, etc. Located between France, Belgium, and Germany, the country is superbly connected to other major cities like Paris or Brussels, which can be reached in 2-3 hours by train. Luxembourg is home to a large international community, with close to 40% of its population being foreigners. The official languages are French, German, and Luxemburgish, yet given the high number of international people, English is widely spoken throughout the country.


Application process

Please submit your complete application through our online system: https://jobs.liser.lu/jobs :

  • Motivation letter (max. 1 page);

  • Sketch of PhD project (2/3 pages or so)

  • Curriculum vitae

  • List of publications (if available)

  • Copies of diplomas

  • Two letters of recommendation (to be uploaded with the application documents or sent separately to recruitment@liser.lu mentioning the reference 22-17).

Deadline for applications: 15th August 2022.

Interviews will take place in early September for shortlisted candidates.

For PhD related information, please contact Antoine Paccoud antoine.paccoud@liser.lu (no applications).

For administrative matters, please contact recruitment@liser.lu


LISER is an Equal Opportunity Employer