If you are interested in working on a postdoc in philosophy at UCLouvain, we are always excited to hear from you! You’ll be joining a vibrant community in our Center for the Philosophy of Science and Society (CEFISES): three permanent faculty, two emeritus faculty, and a number of postdoctoral fellows, doctoral students, and master’s students. If you work on any topic that falls within the general scope of my work, or the broad intersection of the work of our various faculty members (which includes the philosophy of physics, general epistemology, metaphysics of science, logic, scientific reasoning and explanation, philosophy of mind, and more), we would be glad to consider your application.
There are many sources of funding for postdoctoral research. The following are permanent programs that allow a scholar to bring their own project with them, if supported by the faculty of CEFISES during our internal review process.
Finally, I often apply for postdoctoral positions as a part of other grant applications for specific projects, which will be listed below.
All these fellowships are quite well funded, and UCLouvain is a convivial, active, exciting place to work. For more information on CEFISES, visit the center’s website. If you’re interested in applying, please send me an e-mail!
Belgian postdoctoral fellowships come in two kinds, depending on whether or not you are currently located or have worked or studied in Belgium within the last few years. If you are outside Belgium, you are eligible for what’s known as a “mobility” postdoc. These are extremely competitive, with a very advantageous tax scheme. Depending on your seniority (number of years since PhD), the funding will range from a monthly net salary of around €2,500–€2,700 (last updated: 2021).
For those who have already been working in Belgium, your salary will be similar, though it’s more difficult to calculate as we will also be paying for your social security, retirement, and taxes at the full “citizen” rate.
Notably, there is no additional salary if you decide to teach a course. Postdocs involve no teaching by default, and some funders require zero teaching; if you would like to teach that’s something you should let me know early on and we can look at what kinds of opportunities are available.
In short, these are competitive salaries on the international level, and are certainly sufficient to live comfortably in Belgium.
Our staff and faculty live in a wide variety of areas, including in Louvain-la-Neuve itself, several surrounding villages in the Wallonian countryside, or in Brussels, which is a beautiful, multicultural European center. You thus can choose from a variety of different living arrangements depending on your needs.
As regards family concerns, the quality of Belgian education is generally quite high (and optional public education begins from the age of 2½), and Belgium tends to be exceptionally child- and pet-friendly.
As you’ll see by reading the rest of the website here, the group works primarily in the philosophy and history of biology, with significant further research in digital humanities and in the ethics of science and technology. More specifically, though, we cultivate special skills in integrated history and philosophy of science, and the application of textual analysis to philosophical problems. If you want to learn more about how to do that stuff, that’s absolutely our goal.
More broadly than this, you’ll need to get a job when you’re done. So that means you need training in getting grants, writing and publishing, structuring your research, and a handful of further little things like structuring events, administration, etc. The academic job market is a dumpster fire, and there’s nothing I can do about that – what I can do is try to help you get a better CV and money to keep working.
Our group has been pretty excellent at landing project-based funding since I arrived in Belgium, and I expect that both to continue and to be something that I can help you learn how to do. The same is true for publications; I try to encourage pretty radical co-authorship and collaboration, and so if you think you’re the kind of person who would benefit from that kind of environment, that’s what we can offer you.
I have started to receive more requests for positions per year than I have space to satisfy, even in terms of applications – part of our success in funding has to do with our careful choice of which candidates to support. What makes a file stand out?
No, I don’t mean KU Leuven. (They’re up the road about an hour by train, and they speak Dutch instead of French. Crazy story involving sectarian linguistic politics, doesn’t make much sense if you’re not Belgian.)
We’re the leading university in French-speaking Belgium, one of the top three in Belgium as a whole (depending on who’s counting and how), and always ranked in the top tier of continental European universities. The philosophy department is widely recognized as one of the best departments in the university (along with theology and pharmacy), and the philosophy of science has been a central focus of the department since the early twentieth century (a focus that dates back to before the split between UCLouvain and KU Leuven).
At the post-doc level, that’s no big deal! We have a variety of international researchers from all over the world (I moved to Belgium in 2018 myself), our international office is pretty good at handling the relevant paperwork, and the working language of CEFISES (the center for philosophy of science) is English. Of course, if you want to pick up some French that’s absolutely something you can do in Brussels – people are very flexible about language as all kinds of people around are working in their second and third languages all the time. But you won’t need it to operate in our group or center.
If you have questions about what life would be like as a postdoctoral fellow, feel free to send me a message, and I will do my best to either answer or get information from someone who can!
All project-based positions that open in the lab (as opposed to the standing calls for FSR and FNRS postdocs) will be advertised here on the website, as well as the usual channels (such as PHILOS-L, PHILOS-NL, and philJobs).
none at the moment – watch this space