Postdoctoral Researcher in Multilingual Healthcare Communication and Multimodal Analysis
Catholic University of Leuven Faculty of Arts

The KU Leuven Linguistics Research Unit is an internationally renowned centre for research and teaching. Within the Faculty of Arts, the Linguistics Research Unit forms a dynamic research community hosting various research groups and labs, each with its own methodological and theoretical expertise. The Linguistics Research Unit offers many opportunities for exciting collaborations.


We are looking for a part-time post-doctoral researcher (50%) for an interdisciplinary research project entitled The right to health:overcoming language barriers in a superdiverse world, funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO). This project involves a collaboration between the University of Amsterdam, the Amsterdam University Medical Centers, the University of Gent and the University of Leuven. The project takes as its starting point the observation that when healthcare professionals and patients do not share a common language, communication difficulties may arise, which in the end may lead to suboptimal quality of care. The project develops and evaluates a decision-aid to overcome language barriers by combining communication strategies improving communication with migrant patients.

As the postdoctoral researcher appointed to the project, you will take the lead in a subproject that focuses on the analysis of the communication process between migrant patients, healthcare professionals, interpreters, and digital communication tools. Using insights from linguistics, interpreting studies and health communication, you develop an evidence-based account of the specific characteristics of language-discordant medical consultations (i.e. involving parties who do not share a common language), zooming in on the role of different types of interpreters and the impact of various digital communication strategies.

You will collect and analyze a set of audio- and video-recorded language-discordant medical consultations using methods from interactional linguistics, multimodal analysis and discourse studies. The main goal is to advance our understanding of the ways in which patients, healthcare professionals and interpreters try to reach mutual understanding, with a view to fulfilling the medical goals of the interaction. Findings of these studies will be reviewed against clinical relevance by medical members in the project team.


  • You hold a PhD in Linguistics, Interpreting Studies ora comparable relevant domain
  • You have an excellent scientific track record, demonstrable by (co-)authorship of international peer-reviewed publications
  • You have experience in conducting (multidisciplinary) research projects. Relevant background in project management is considered as a bonus
  • You have relevant experience in the use of qualitative and quantitative methods for (multimodal) interaction analysis
  • You are an enterprising person who likes to work with an international team of colleagues with a different research background
  • You have strong self-organization skills as well as people skills, including a strong sensitivity to cross-cultural differences in communication
  • You have a (near-)native command of Dutch as well as an excellent command of English.


We offer a 50% position as post-doctoral researcher for 3,5 years (starting with a 1-year, extendable up to 2,5 years), the first 2,5 years of which will be at KU Leuven and the last year at UGent. The starting date is 1st March 2022, but this is negotiable. Remuneration is according to the standard scales of KU Leuven and UGent.


Applications mustinclude, in separate PDF files:

      1) A motivation letter (max. 2 pages), including a description why you thinkyour research profile fits in with the project as described above

      2) A full curriculum vitae

      3) Names and contact details of two references

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Geert Brône, tel.: +32 3 502 15 16, mail:
You can apply for this job no later than January 20, 2022 via the
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at
  • Employment percentage: Deeltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: January 20, 2022
  • Tags: Taalkunde / Letterkunde

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