PhD position in the research project 'Optimal Proofs' (1.0 FTE)

Hours per week: 
38 to 40
departement Filosofie en Religiewetenschap
Application deadline: 
1 April 2020

Job description

The PhD project is embedded in the research project Optimal Proofs funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research led by Rosalie Iemhoff at Utrecht University. The project in mathematical and philosophical logic is concerned with formalisation in general and proof systems in particular. Its mathematical aim is to develop methods to describe the possible proof systems of a given logic and establish, given various criteria of optimality, what the optimal proof systems of the logic are. Its philosophical aim is to develop general criteria for faithful formalisation in logic and thereby distinguish good formalisations from bad ones.  The mathematical part of the project focuses on, but is not necessarily restricted to, the (non)classical logics that occur in Computer Science, Mathematics, and Philosophy, while the philosophical part of the project also takes into account domains where formalisation in logic is more rare. The research of the PhD lies mainly within the mathematical part of the project, but can, depending on the interests of the candidate, be extended to the philosophical part of the project. 

The PhD candidate will be part of a research team consisting of two PhD candidates, two Postdoctoral Researchers and Rosalie Iemhoff. Besides research the candidate is expected to take part in various group activities, such as the organization of workshops, and there will be ample opportunity for the candidate to attend international conferences and visit logic groups abroad. 
The project is based at the Discipline Group Theoretical Philosophy at the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies of Utrecht University. The research carried out in the lively group is broad and varied, and part of the humanities as well as the sciences. The department is currently involved in Utrecht University's focus area Artificial Intelligence. All this provides a stimulating and internationally oriented research environment.


  • a Master's or equivalent degree in Mathematics, Computer Science or Philosophy, specialising in logic; 
  • proficiency in academic English;
  • the ability to work both independently and as part of a team, with good organisational and communication skills;
  • a keen interest in abstract fundamental research.


We offer a temporary position (1.0 FTE) for the duration of 18 months. In case of good performance and a positive evaluation, the contract will be extended for the remaining period of 30 months (4 years in total). The gross salary ranges between €2,325 in the first year and €2,972 in the fourth year of employment (scale P according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) per month for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year. In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). More information about working at Utrecht University can be found here.

About the organisation

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

The Faculty of Humanities has around 6,000 students and 900 staff members. It comprises four knowledge domains: Philosophy and Religious Studies, History and Art History, Media and Culture Studies, and Languages, Literature and Communication. With its research and education in these fields, the Faculty aims to contribute to a better understanding of the Netherlands and Europe in a rapidly changing social and cultural context. The enthusiastic and committed colleagues and the excellent amenities in the historical city center of Utrecht, where the Faculty is housed, contribute to an inspiring working environment.

Additional information

For additional information about the project, please contact Rosalie Iemhoff (Professor), via Please also check the websites of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies and of Utrecht University for general information. Interviews will take place in the last week of April. 

Starting date: 1 September 2020.


Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. To apply, please send your curriculum vitae, including a letter of motivation via the ‘apply’ button below.

Applications should contain the following:

  1. an application letter with your qualifications and motivation for applying for the position;
  2. a curriculum vitae;
  3. two letters of reference;
  4. a copy of your Master's thesis and, if applicable, a sample of your published work;
  5. a transcript of grades and/or scan of the Master's certificate. 

The application deadline is 1 April 2020.