Postdoctoral Research Assistant, History of Medicine (Life of Breath) based in the Department of Philosophy

Job number



School of Arts

Contract type

Fixed term contract staff

Working pattern

Full time


£31,342 - 35,256

Closing date for applications

The Life of Breath project is a 5-year 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 three-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, or be very near completion of, 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 Prof 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.


The start date for this post is flexible.  To apply, please click on the ‘apply for job’ button below.


Informal enquiries may be addressed to Prof Havi Carel by telephone at +44 (0)117 954 6690 or by email at [log in to unmask].


 The closing date for this post is Monday 30 March 2015. It is anticipated that interviews will be held in late April 2015.