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Doctoral Positions – Decision Making and Communication Patterns of Genomic Test Results (Belgium) Deadline: July 04, 2018

The Life Sciences and Society Lab and

The Center for Biomedical Ethics and Law

KU Leuven

Application Deadline

July 04, 2018

Program Commencement


Duration of the Program

Four Years

Program Details

KU Leuven is a research university in Leuven in Flanders, Belgium that consistently ranks among the top 100 universities in the world. It conducts teaching, research, and services in the sciences, engineering, humanities, medicine, law, and social sciences.

The Life Sciences and Society Lab and the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Law of the University seek to appoint two Doctoral Researchers on a project, ‘Socio-Ethical Analysis of Standardization in Decision-Making and Communication Patterns of Genomic Test Results’ funded by the KU Leuven Research Fund. The aim is to explore:

  1. how laboratory scientists and clinicians decide what information to report,
  2. how this information is reported and communicated with patients,
  3. how genetic test results are (or are not) being shared within families, and
  4. what responsibilities clinicians have towards non-disclosure.

A combination of methodologies, including ethnographic studies, semi-structured interviews and normative ethical analysis will be used. The focus is on decision-making and communication patterns related to tests results from Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies. The project will help to better understand the factors that play a role in decision-making, the role of standardization, and communication patterns generated by NGS in the clinical context, and work towards policy development.


Descriptions & Requirements

Read Clinical Applications for Next-Generation Sequencing to learn about the translational use of Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) in clinical environments!

A successful PhD candidate should have:

  • A Degree in bioethics, sociology, science and technology studies, health sciences, biomedical sciences, medicine, or a relevant other discipline.
  • An outstanding record of undergraduate and master’s degree work.
  • Strong interest in the ethical and social aspects of biomedical innovations and a demonstrable affinity with the project.
  • Experience with empirical qualitative methods in the social and health sciences (e.g., document analysis, interviews, ethnography).
  • Proven proficiency in English, both written and oral is a must. (Please note that at least one of the selected candidates will be a native Dutch speaker or will have excellent Dutch language skills).

An ideal candidate will have strong writing and analytical skills along with good communication and organization skills. S/he will be able to work both as an independent researcher and as part of a team, and will be able to meet deadlines and complete a PhD thesis within four years. Ability to work in an interdisciplinary context is important. Basic knowledge of human genetics and genetic technologies is a bonus.

Application Process

To apply for the positions, click here.

Mention ref. BAP-2018-336 as the reference no.

The two full time appointments as a PhD student for a period of 4 years, are either within the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Law (Faculty of Medicine, KU Leuven) or the Life Sciences & Society Lab (Faculty of Social Sciences, KU Leuven).

For more information, contact :

  • Prof. Dr. Pascal Borry, tel.: +32 16379517, or
  • Prof. Dr. Ine Van Hoyweghen, tel.: +32 16323167,
For any queries, write to
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