Research Associate in the History of Medicine (Life of Breath)

University of Bristol - Department of Philosophy

The Life of Breath project is a Wellcome Trust funded project, headed by Prof Havi Carel (Bristol) and Prof Jane Macnaughton (Durham). Life of Breath examines breathing and breathlessness, suggesting that these can only be understood fully by drawing not only on physiological and physiopathological data, but also on cultural, historical and phenomenological sources. For more information on the project see (see also job description via link below).

The successful applicant for this position will pursue a two-year project of research within the medical history research strand of the project. The project proposal outlines a possible direction of research for this strand (see below), but the PIs remain open to proposals of other research.  Therefore, we ask that you submit with your application a research proposal explaining what research you are interested in doing and how it will link to the project’s other strands. Please read the project description (available on carefully before writing your proposal.

The Life of Breath proposal suggests that the postdoctoral researcher examine the recent history of COPD, which has not so far been the subject of major historical study. COPD’s defining symptom is breathlessness, and it provides an important and prevalent standard to focus clinical attention. Historical texts pertaining to breathing problems, including bronchitis and emphysema, texts documenting advances in pathology and medical diagnostic tools, and more recent clinical guidelines for COPD, could be analysed in this postdoctoral research project. However, we are happy to discuss other ideas for research relevant to the project.

The successful applicant will be expected to work independently at a postdoctoral level, and to publish and present work in academic and non-academic contexts. They will be mentored by a multidisciplinary team, consisting of Prof Tim Cole (Bristol, history), Prof Gareth Williams (Bristol, medicine and medical history), and Prof Havi Carel (Bristol, project PI). 

Applicants should have a PhD in medical history, and should have research experience in the field. It is not essential that your work is in the specific field of the project, although prior research on breathing and breathlessness would be an advantage. Candidates considering applying for this post are encouraged to contact Professor Havi Carel to discuss their ideas and the post.

For person specification and further details about the post please access the job description via the link below. Please read the job description carefully before submitting your application.Please address the person specifications and provide a detailed research proposal in your application.

In your application please supply:

  1. CV (including a publication list)
  2. Writing sample of up to 8,000 words
  3. Names and contact details of two academic referees
  4. Research proposal (3,000 words): it is essential that you explain your research ideas and how you would make a valuable contribution to the Life of Breath project.

The start date for this post is 1 September 2017. Closing date for applications is 21 May 2017.

The University is committed to creating and sustaining a fully inclusive culture.  We welcome applicants from all backgrounds and communities.

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