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Job ID: 104637

PhD Research Fellow in social anthropology: Universal Health Coverage and the Public Good in Africa
University of Oslo

  • Mar. 15, 2018
  • PhD Research Fellow in social anthropology: Universal Health Coverage and the Public Good in Africa
  • Institute of Health and Society
  • University of Oslo
    Oslo, Oslo
  • Apr. 30, 2018
  • Sep. 1, 2018
  • Graduate Student
  • Anthropology
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The Institute of Health and Society and the Department of Social anthropology, University of Oslo (UiO), invite applications for a fully-funded 3-year PhD fellowship in Social Anthropology, starting on September 1, 2018. The PhD position is will form part of a new anthropological project, Universal Health Coverage and the Public Good in Africa (UNVERSAL HEALTH). The project is funded by a European Research Council Starting Grant under the Horizon 2020 programme, led by Dr Ruth Prince at the Institute of Health and Society.

The PhD Fellow will critically explore moves towards Universal Health Coverage in the context of wider experiments with social protection and welfare in the Global South.

More about the UNVERSAL HEALTH project:

UNIVERSAL HEALTH is a comparative anthropological project that will critically explore movements towards Universal Health Coverage in the context of new forms and imagniaries of social protection and welfare in Africa.

Defined by the WHO as ensuring that all people can use the health services they need without financial hardship, Universal Health Coverage is a powerful concept that approaches public health as a matter of justice and obligation and is included in the Sustainable Development Goals. UHC is particularly important in Africa, where structural-adjustment policies undermined state capacity, promoted privatization and pushed the burden of payment onto the poor. Recent global health initiatives have done little to address the neglect of national health-care systems and citizens’ lack of trust in them. In these contexts, the move towards Universal Health Coverage appears to represent a new approach and new ways of thinking about poverty and redistribution, the state and citizenship, health and development. UHC is innovative in its ambitions concerning social solidarity and in its vision of the role of the state in tackling inequity. However, in a post-austerity world, UHC poses a conundrum, and is surrounded by contradictions. UHC involves struggles to formalize social protection as the same time as health-care is increasingly privatized. Historically many African states have only partially pursued the public good. While appearing to return to key post-war values concerning health for all, UHC takes shape in a very different world and it can serve very different social and political agendas.

Such paradoxes render moves towards UHC interesting sites for exploring issues of redistribution, inequality and solidarity, as well as the social and political collectives forming around struggles for health-care. UHC is not a universal model but a contested field, making it an intriguing site for anthropological research.

Please see the project’s webpages for further details.

The fellowship period is 3 years. The successful candidate must take part in the approved PhD programme and is expected to complete the project within the set period. The main purpose of a PhD fellowship is research training leading to the successful completion of a PhD degree. In addition to following the required PhD courses, the PhD education includes one year of fieldwork in an African country.

The PhD candidate will be part of the UNIVERSAL HEALTH project and will be expected to work collaboratively with the project team, and to jointly organise workshops and conferences with other members of the team.

The applicant must, in collaboration with her/his supervisor, within 3 months after employment, have worked out a complete project description to be attached to the application for admission to the doctoral program.

Supervisor is Dr Ruth Prince, UiO. The applicants must contact the main supervisor before applying for the position.

Qualification requirements

  • Applicants must hold a Master’s degree or equivalent in anthropology or related social sciences and humanities disciplines. They must have reiceved their Master’s degree (120 ECTS) or an equivalent qualification, no later than 31 August 2018.
  • A high grade point average in their BA and Master’s studies.
  • Fluent oral and written communication skills in English
  • Demonstrated research capabilities
  • Extensive knowledge of anthropology
  • Candidates with research experience in Sub-Saharan Africa will be given special consideration although this is not a requirement.

Personal skills

  • Ability to work as part of a team and contribute to a conducive environment for collaborative work.
  • The ability and willingness to do fieldwork under demanding circumstances and work across disciplines

We offer

  • salary NOK 436 900 – 490 900 per annum depending on qualifications in a position as PhD Research fellow, (position code 1017)
  • academically stimulating working environment
  • opportunities to work in an interdisciplinary academic environment
  • funds for research, travel, conference participation and dissemination, books and equipment
  • attractive welfare benefits and a generous pension agreement, in addition to the attractions of a Scandinavian capital city with its rich opportunities for social, cultural and outdoor activities

How to apply

The application must include:

  • cover letter (statement of motivation and research interests)
  • CV (summarizing education, positions and academic work as well as pedagogical and adminisrtative experience, publications and other qualifying activities)
  • project description (for details see below)
  • copies of educational certificates (academic transcripts only)
  • a complete list of publications and academic works (if applicable)
  • Examples of 1-2 writing samples that the applicant wishes to be considered by the evaluation committee
  • Names and contact details of 2-3 academic referees (including relation to candidate, email and phone details)

The application with attachments must be delivered in our electronic recruiting system, please follow the link "apply for this job". International applicants are advised to attach an explanation of their University’s grading system. Please note that all documents should be in English (or a Scandinavian language).

Project description: Please write a maximum of 5 A4 pages of 2500 characters per page (total 12.500 characters) and use the following structure in your proposal:

  • Introduction/background
  • Research questions and study objectives
  • Theory
  • Methodology (incl. ethics)
  • Work schedule

Please include a separate reference list with up-to-date literature on the chosen topic (max 2 A4 pages).

Evaluation of the application

When evaluating the application, emphasis will be given to the applicant’s project description for his/her proposed Ph.D. project, a good match between the candidate’s proposal and the wider research project of which it will be part, as well as the applicant’s educational qualifications and academic and personal prerequisites to carry out the project.


About the project: Associate Professor Ruth Jane Prince


About the application process and employment: HR Advisor Marie Cecilie Bakken

Phone number: +47 22 85 05 08

Please reference in your cover letter when
applying for or inquiring about this job announcement.

Contact Information

  • HR Contact Marie Cecilie Bakken
    Institute of Health and Society
    University of Oslo
  • +47 22 85 05 08


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