PhD Candidate: Ritualisation of Euthanasia

14 November 2022

Do you want to improve the theoretical grasp of the design of best ritual practices, to facilitate a 'good death'? Do you want to gain empirical insight into the actual ritual practices surrounding euthanasia in The Netherlands? If so, you have a part to play! Radboud University is looking for a PhD candidate Ritualization of Euthanasia.

Picture from Pixabay.

The research

"For twenty years now, the Netherlands has had statutory rules and procedures regarding the termination of life on request. It is known that assisted dying has a considerable emotional and psychological impact and that rituals at the end of life can offer solace and have beneficial effects on resolving grief. So far, there has been no sustained research into the ritualisation of this contemporary form of dying. Euthanasia, however, is an important social phenomenon that has the potential, as preliminary research indicates, to challenge the status quo of ritual studies, not least because of the ultimate control over circumstances and timing of death and thus its highly 'programmed' character. At issue is the contrived malleability of rituals in relation to their actual efficacy, especially in terms of offering solace. You will describe and analyse the rituals in question through a survey, direct observation, and ethnographic interviews. 

You will work on the project under the supervision of a team consisting of Prof. Eric Venbrux (Radboud University), Prof. Christoph Jedan (University of Groningen) and Dr Derek Strijbos (Radboud University).

Your teaching load may be up to 10 percent of your working time. You may be asked to give some lectures on topics related to your research in, for example, interdisciplinary courses in Health Care Humanities. 

You will participate in the Graduate School of Humanities and take a number of courses. Furthermore, you will be a member of the Department of Comparative Religious Studies and the Centre for Religion and Contemporary Society of the Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies. You will present your work at conferences and workshops, publish your research in first-author papers in peer-reviewed journals, and produce a PhD thesis. In addition, you will communicate your key findings to special interest groups and the general public.


  • You should hold a Master's degree in religious studies, medicine, anthropology or a related discipline.
  • You have good knowledge of the study of ritual.
  • You have previous experience with ethnographic research methods or can make clear that you would be well suited to conduct such research.
  • You have good communication skills and an excellent command of English.


The Department of Comparative Religious Studies is part of the Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies at Radboud University. The faculty is a compact, ambitious organisation with over 160 staff members, housed in eight academic departments and a supporting office, and over 1,000 students. The educational programme includes several top-notch courses in both in-depth disciplinary fields of study and interdisciplinary and interfaculty studies. The faculty has innovative education and research programmes with a strong focus on current societal issues.

The faculty believes in equal opportunities for everyone. We stand for an inclusive community and believe that diversity contributes to education and research quality. We welcome all employees who contribute to the diversity at our faculty through their unique background and perspective.

Radboud University

We want to get the best out of science, others and ourselves. Why? Because this is what the world around us desperately needs. Leading research and education make an indispensable contribution to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all. This is what unites the more than 24,000 students and 5,600 employees at Radboud University. And this requires even more talent, collaboration and lifelong learning. You have a part to play!

What they offer

  • It concerns an employment for 0.8 (5 year contract) - 1.0 FTE (4 year contract).
  • The gross starting salary amounts to €2,541 per month based on a 38-hour working week, and will increase to €3,247 from the fourth year onwards (salary scale P).
  • You will receive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • You will be employed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4 year contract) or 3.5 years (5 year contract).
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Care Services. Our Dual Career and Family Care Officer can assist you with family-related support, help your partner or spouse prepare for the local labour market, provide customized support in their search for employment and help your family settle in Nijmegen.
  • Working for us means getting extra days off. In case of full-time employment, you can choose between 30 or 41 days of annual leave instead of the legally allotted 20.

Additional employment conditions

Work and science require good employment practices. This is reflected in Radboud University's primary and secondary employment conditions. You can make arrangements for the best possible work-life balance with flexible working hours, various leave arrangements and working from home. You are also able to compose part of your employment conditions yourself, for example, exchange income for extra leave days and receive a reimbursement for your sports subscription. And of course, we offer a good pension plan. You are given plenty of room and responsibility to develop your talents and realise your ambitions. Therefore, we provide various training and development schemes.

Would you like more information?

For questions about the position, please contact Prof. Eric Venbrux, full professor at + 31 6 83995678 or

Practical information and applying

You can apply until 3 January 2023. Kindly address your application to Eric Venbrux. Please fill in the application form and attach the following documents:

  • A letter of motivation.
  • Your CV, including courses taken and grades obtained, and the names and  contact details of at least two referees.
  • Your Master's thesis."

Please do not send your application via e-mail, but by visiting the following website and using the button on there: