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PhD Candidates in Chinese Studies (2 positions of 1.0 FTE)

University of Leiden - Leiden Institute for Area Studies (LIAS)

The Faculty of Humanities, Leiden Institute for Area Studies (LIAS), School of Asian Studies China is looking for

PhD Candidates in Chinese Studies (2 positions of 1.0 FTE)
Vacancy number 6008

Project Description
The PhD Candidates will carry out research in the framework of the project “The Smart State: Law, Governance and Technology in China”, funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). Dr Rogier Creemers is the Principal Investigator of this project. This project examines the deployment of digital technologies in Chinese law and governance mechanisms. The project as a whole aims to identify how Chinese governance practices and techniques evolve through the use of technologies including big data and artificial intelligence. It will also investigate how these systems require new forms of regulation in turn, most notably in the area of data protection and cybersecurity.

Key responsibilities
The two PhD candidates will each study a specific subtopic within the project focusing on a particular issue area;

Subproject 1: Smart law enforcement; this subproject will evaluate the role of smart systems in the post-4th Plenum legal reform agenda. This agenda intends to enhance the professionalization of courts and law enforcement bodies, strengthen courts’ autonomy from local governments, broaden access to justice, and give priority to formal litigation. This project will review whether and how smart systems contribute to realizing these objectives, and how different categories of agents (law enforcement officers, judges, lawyers, court users, etc.) influence this process;

Subproject 2: Social credit and social management; this subproject will survey how China’s Social Credit System (SCS) is conceptualized, constructed and implemented. The SCS an effort to more effectively use information about individuals and corporate entities to strengthen law enforcement and provide greater deterrence against dishonest conduct. The research scope will include central and local levels, state and citizen perspectives, and the role of the private sector;

  • The PhD candidates will be primarily based in Leiden, where they will join a research team with the principal investigator and a project data manager. The project will also require them to conduct fieldwork in China;
  • They will participate in regular team meetings, present their research findings at workshops and conferences both in Europe and Asia;
  • They will also contribute to the construction of a database of Chinese source materials emerging through their research;
  • Where useful, they will be invited to contribute to the Leiden Asia Centre project “China in Global Cyberspace”, which examines China’s cyber diplomacy efforts;
  • In the 2nd and 3rd years of their appointment, they will be given opportunities to contribute to teaching.

Selection criteria

  • A Master’s degree or equivalent in Chinese studies, law and governance, or technology studies; Candidates near completion of a degree will be considered;
  • Excellent command of Mandarin Chinese, both written and spoken;
  • Ability to effectively communicate in written and oral academic English;
  • Demonstrable interest in the topic;
  • Ability to work independently, and as part of a larger research team;
  • Willingness to work in an international and competitive research environment;
  • Demonstrable experience of or the potential to generate research impact beyond the direct academic context;
  • Previous experience with fieldwork in China.

Our organization
The Faculty of Humanities is rich in expertise in fields such as philosophy, religious studies, history, art history, literature, linguistics and area studies covering nearly every region of the world. With its staff of 995, the faculty provides 27 master’s and 25 bachelor’s programmes for over 7,000 students. For more information:

Terms and conditions
Successful applicants will be invited to take up their position on 1 July 2019 or as soon as possible thereafter. The appointment will initially be for 12 months and if evaluated positively, with an extension of 3 years and must lead to the completion of a PhD thesis. Salary range from €32,447 to €41,477 gross per year (pay scale P, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities) bases on a full-time appointment.

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with 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 directed to Dr Rogier Creemers, email

Please submit online your application no later than 15 March 2019 via the blue button in our application system. Applications should be in English, and be submitted with the items listed below included in this order in *one* PDF document named ‘FAMILY NAME – Given name – XXX’:

  • A CV including education history and publications;
  • A letter of motivation;
  • A 2-page research proposal, elaborating one of the two research topics specified above, in relation to the overarching theme of the project. The research proposal should be accompanied by an annotated sample bibliography of no more than one page;
  • One sample publication or other piece of academic written work;
  • Names, positions and email addresses of two referees (no reference letters).

Enquiries from agencies are not appreciated.

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Leiden - Netherlands
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: €32,447 to €41,477
£28,858.39 to £36,889.69 converted salary* gross per year.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 12th February 2019
Closes: 15th March 2019
Reference: 6008
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* Salary has been converted at the prevailing rate on the date placed
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