Vacancy: Social Science PhD Student (Tanzania based)

Vacancy: PhD student

Hours: 40-hour work week, Full-time

Location: Shinyanga Region, Tanzania

The position

The Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development (AIGHD) is looking for a highly motivated PhD student to work on a social science study within an innovative HIV Test & Treat and Differentiated HIV Care project in Shinyanga and Simiyu regions, Tanzania (in short ‘the T&T project). The project is carried out by an international multi- stakeholder consortium with both implementing and research partners. The PhD student will be part of a larger multi-disciplinary team on site, consisting of scientific, project operational and health care staff and report to the  AIGHD lead social science research in Amsterdam.

Background: The Shinyanga HIV Test & Treat project

The new WHO guidelines advocate the so-called ‘HIV Test and Treat approach’: immediate antiretroviral treatment (ART) for all HIV infected persons, independent of clinical stage or CD4 count. AIGHD has been awarded the task of scientific evaluation of a unique project in Tanzania, aiming to put and maintain 20,000 HIV patients on ART through T&T and decentralized ART provision through a Hub and Club model. The implementation of this T&T project is led by an Italian NGO (Doctors with Africa CUAMM) through a network of Tanzanian healthcare providers, under the Diocese of Shinyanga. In this context, AIGHD, as the research partner, is responsible for performing multi-disciplinary operational research (clinical, epidemiological, economic and socio-anthropological). The Principal Investigator (PI) from the United Kingdom and a co-PI from Tanzania oversee the coordination between the research and implementation sections.

Main Responsibilities

The PhD student will be responsible for collecting and analyzing data and scientific writing up of the qualitative research performed within the T&T project. In order to complete a PhD at the University of Amsterdam the PhD student will also need to complete all the requirements of the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR). The PhD student is expected to complete and defend a PhD thesis within 4 years. Aside from conducting ethnographic fieldwork the PhD candidate is expected to spend one day a week on the broader multidisciplinary research questions within the project, coordinating with the economic and clinical PhD projects.

The work will include the following tasks:

  • Write PhD proposal, do ethnographic data-collection and qualitative analysis, write scientific papers, contribute to project reports and write and defend doctoral thesis
  • Organize and participate in regular meetings with supervisory team (face to face and via conference call) and with internal staff and core partners
  • Coordinate the PhD project with the implementation studies performed by Doctors with Africa CUAMM team
  • Assist Post-doctoral researcher in gathering data required to answer the broader social science (mixed method) and multidisciplinary research questions
  • Submit to and present research findings at national and international conferences, and apply for scholarships to attend conferences

Educational qualifications

Academic level: Master degree in Social Anthropology, Sociology or Development studies.

Work experience

At least 2 years of professional experience in social science research in HIV programs, using qualitative methods such as participant observation and in-depth interviewing. It is crucial that the candidate has proven independent research experience. Experience with the following is an advantage: working with a (international) research institution, evidence of (co-)authorship of peer-reviewed publication(s), data management and qualitative analysis skills, quantitative research skills.

Desired skills

  • Ability to work proactively and independently with minimal supervision, flexible work-attitude
  • Attention to detail, structured and well-organized
  • Excellent analytical and writing skills
  • Excellent computer software skills – Microsoft Office (Excel, Outlook, Word, PowerPoint), .ly N-VIVO
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, ability to connect to diverse groups of people
  • Willingness to travel and live within the project region and occasionally travel to Dar es Salaam and Amsterdam


Excellent command of both written and spoken English and Kiswahili and Kisukuma, or willingness to learn Kisukuma is a pre.


The opportunity for doing a PhD is a 2-step process. After 1 year the academic progress of the PhD candidate will be evaluated and the experiences and motivation of the candidate to pursue the program discussed. Should both parties decide to continue, the second phase will encompass a 3 year period with the opportunity to complete a PhD degree at the University of Amsterdam. In this context AIGHD offers annual short-course trainings in the Netherlands.

AIGHD offers

AIGHD offers an excellent job opportunity in a cutting-edge working environment in global health and development and a salary in line with prevailing sector standards. For more information about the job description please contact Ilona Sips (

Interested candidates are requested to submit a cover letter, a CV, and evidence of writing skills to HR Support ( Evidence of writing skills can include a publication, an MA thesis written by the candidate or another writing sample

Closing date: Sunday February 10th, 2019

About AIGHD Stichting AIGHD takes a problem-oriented approach and transcends the boundaries of traditional academic disciplines to provide sustainable solutions in the field of Global Health. It is a dynamic network focused on research, education and policy advising. The Institute stands for a collaboration among biomedical researchers from the Academic Medical Center (AMC), social scientists and economists from the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and from the VU University Amsterdam (VU). AIGHD links expertise, resources and programs from institutions that are involved in health-related research, education and capacity building. By doing this, it brings a “delivery perspective” to health research, and a “quality aspect” to health care services in countries with more limited resources.

Candidates should have Tanzanian nationality or be in possession of a Tanzanian resident and working permit.