Full-time PhD position in History of Science and Technology at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland

The Laboratory for the History of Science and Technology (LHST) at EPFL invites applications for one full-time PhD position within the project The Internationalization of Patent Systems: From Patent Cultures to Global Intellectual Property, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator: Jérôme Baudry). The aim of the project is to better understand how national patent systems have been progressively internationalized, from the mid-nineteenth century until the birth of the World Intellectual Property Organization in 1967. By focusing on a plurality of actors (inventors, industrialists, patent agents and lawyers, economists, associations for the protection of industrial property, states and international proto-bureaucracies), the project seeks to uncover the networks of stakeholders, the economic and legal strategies, the material and intellectual practices, the convergences of interest and the conflicts that have shaped today’s global intellectual property.

Within this framework, the PhD student will develop their own research project, for example focusing on (one of) the following topics: the history of the international conferences and conventions for harmonizing patent rights; the role of patent agents and industrial property advocacy groups in the internationalization of patent systems; the emergence of specialized international organizations, from the Bureaux internationaux réunis pour la protection de la propriété intellectuelle to the World Intellectual Property Organization.

The project will also hire a postdoctoral researcher to work with the PhD student and the PI.

For more, click here.


  • Applicants should hold a master’s degree in history (or a related discipline in the humanities and social sciences) and have an interest/expertise in the history of science and technology, economic history, international history and/or legal history.
  • Fluent French and English; German an asset. The dissertation can be written in English or French.
  • Interest in working in a multidisciplinary, international environment.
  • Candidates of all nationalities are invited to apply; applications from women are especially welcome.

Starting date: September 1, 2022.

Duration: 4 years.

Terms of employment: Fixed-term at 100% work rate. EPFL offers internationally competitive salaries and generous research support. The annual gross salary for a first-year PhD student is CHF 52,700.

Deadline for application: Review of applications will begin on May 10, 2022 and will continue until the position is filled.

How to apply: If you are interested, please contact jerome.baudry@epfl.ch with (i) a curriculum vitae and (ii) a short cover letter explaining your interest in the project and outlining your proposed research questions.

What LHST offers:

  • LHST is a young and dynamic lab with an interdisciplinary perspective (history, history of science and technology, STS, anthropology) and an interest in experimenting with innovative methods in the digital humanities. The lab hosts a rich collection of historical scientific instruments.
  • EPFL provides an excellent and stimulating research and teaching environment as well as a dynamic and lively international campus with a vibrant student life.
  • Located on Lake Geneva, Lausanne is a picturesque city with various possibilities for recreational and cultural activities.


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