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I have a PhD in Art History from a university in the United States. I was wondering what a full-time senior researcher position might entail because this is very uncommon in the United States, specifically in art history. Here is a job posting I found for a position with a 6-year contract: https://arthist.net/archive/37784

  • I assume that a senior researcher position would mean that it's research only and not teaching, but I feel like the posting is unclear. Is a research position typically without teaching?

  • Is a six-year position for a senior researcher common?

  • Is a base salary of EUR 1404,00 - 1754,00 low, or is this figure only low based on my expectations coming from a very expensive city in the U.S.?

Update: I interviewed, but did not get the position. I was told that the 6-year contract was related to legalities regarding non-residents. I was also told that "eventually" there would be teaching, however, many of the other researchers did not live in Latvia (Germany, mostly).

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    I suspect living costs are a wee bit lower in Latvia than Paulo Alto …….
    – user438383
    Nov 30, 2022 at 18:02
  • Based on a cursory search, it's around or slightly above the average gross salary in Riga.
    – Anyon
    Nov 30, 2022 at 18:13
  • Thanks! And yes, I would not expect the salary to be at all comparable to living in Palo Alto.
    – Parrever
    Nov 30, 2022 at 18:14
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    "what a senior researcher position is like in Europe" Europe is not a homogeneous mass. The duties of a so-called senior researcher, and how long contracts are, are going to be different from university to university, let alone from country to country. In France, where I am, you can hold a permanent research position with the CNRS -- no teaching at all, forever, unless you want to earn a bit of extra cash. Anyway, why not just email someone in that department and ask if the post comes with teaching duties? It seems like a perfectly reasonable question to ask. Nov 30, 2022 at 20:36
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    @Parever After the interview, if you discover more, you can even answer your own question. Probably we don’t have many users from Latvia, and such an answer would be useful for future users. Dec 1, 2022 at 6:53

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  • Often in Europe teaching is part of research positions, and it is not separately accounted/billed/paid;
  • Six years position may have to do with the fact that the university cannot permanently employ someone, and that the maximum temporary employement for PsotDocs&similar is 6 years (this is the case in some universities in Switzerland, for example);
  • For costs of life comparisons you may get some indications here. It looks like a salary of 3000€ in Riga allows you to have a lifestyle comparable to 7500$ in Oakland, CA. Scale it accordingly to the offer you receive ...
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    Re. cost-of-living comparisons: be aware that your cost of living as an expat may be more than your cost of living at home - e.g. you may need to factor in the cost of flights if you wish to visit family/friends, and language/cultural barriers and lack of local knowledge may make it hard for you to access the best-value deals.
    – avid
    Dec 1, 2022 at 18:07

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