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PhD Candidate in Computational Social Science

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences – Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research

PhD Candidate in Computational Social Science
Publication date 11 November 2020
Closing date 3 December 2020
Level of education Master's degree
Hours 38 hours per week
Salary indication €2,395 to €3.061 gross per month
Vacancy number 20-690

Are you a passionate and committed young researcher and well versed in cutting-edge computational social science approaches? Would you like to be involved in frontier research on large-scale network analysis and official register data and work with highly qualified researchers in an interdisciplinary academic environment? Effective immediately, we are seeking a PhD candidate on Population Scale Network Analysis. You will be part of the POPNET platform, and your position is hosted by the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences – Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR).

As an ideal candidate for this position, you find yourself at home in the international computational social science research community. You have a well-developed skillset in scientific programming and an affinity with network analysis in particular. You are able to work with very large data and have the creativity and curiosity to develop new network measures and statistics. You are keenly aware of the ethical issues related to using large scale social register data and want to contribute to a responsible scholarly practice on big data analytics. You may have a disciplinary background in either social sciences, humanities or computational sciences, but you strongly believe in interdisciplinary collaboration. You are a creative team player who does not shy back from entering new scholarly terrain. You have creativity, precision, and perseverance. You do not believe universities should be ivory towers but rather sites for independent thought and academic progress, working together with stakeholders inside and outside academia. You take initiative, have excellent communication skills, and you are well able to work in a team as well as independently. You like to collaborate both with academics and non-experts and you can present complex statistical models to both groups in a bespoke manner. You care more about (social) impact of your work than impact factors, but because you are ambitious you always aim for the top.

Do you recognize yourself? Do you want to be involved in frontier computational social science research? Are you thrilled by the opportunity to work in a truly interdisciplinary research environment? Send us your application.

Project and job description

POPNET-SSH is a novel digital infrastructure and research community with the aim of unlocking longitudinal social network data on the entire population of the Netherlands for academic research purposes. A first-of-a-kind research infrastructure tailored in terms of hard- and software specifically for large-scale social network analysis will be developed. The available data includes the complete social network (at population-scale) of the 17 million inhabitants of Netherlands, including all family, neighborhood, school and work relations, as well as demographic information. From this, actionable insights into key issues including segregation, substantive social change, and UN sustainable development goals such as reducing inequality can be obtained. We invite candidates to think about what they would want to investigate using this data, and elaborate on this in their motivation letter.

What will you be doing as a PhD candidate?

  • Conducting research on population scale social network analysis;
  • co-supervise BSc and MSc students;
  • writing papers that ultimately constitute a PhD thesis;
  • working in an interdisciplinary environment.

What do we require of you?

  • An academic (research) master's degree in a relevant field, ideally with experience in network science, complex networks and/or social network analysis;
  • experience with programming in languages relevant for social network analysis;
  • able to work independently and in a team;
  • excellent writing skills and proficiency of the English language;
  • an academic, creative and curious mindset.

Further information

Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:

Would you like to learn more about working at the University of Amsterdam? Visit our website.

Our offer

The position concerns a temporary employment contract of 38 hours a week for a maximum term of four years. The initial term of employment is for one year. Following a positive assessment and barring altered circumstances, this term will be extended by a maximum of 36 months, which should result in the conferral of a doctorate. We will put together a curriculum which will also include the opportunity to attend training courses and both national and international events. 

Your salary will be €2,395 gross per month in the first year and will increase to €3,061 in the final year, based on full-time employment and in keeping with the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities). We additionally offer an extensive package of secondary benefits, including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8,3%.

What else can we offer you?

A challenging work environment with a variety of duties and ample scope for individual initiative and development within an inspiring organisation. The social and behavioural sciences play a leading role in addressing the major societal challenges faced by the world, the Netherlands and Amsterdam, now and in the future.

Job application

The UvA is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. We value a spirit of enquiry and endurance, provide the space to keep asking questions and cherish a diverse atmosphere of curiosity and creativity.

Does this profile sound like you? If so, we are eager to receive:

  • a letter of motivation of at most 2 pages where you explain why you will make a difference in our team;
  • two letters of recommendation;
  • a writing example (article, chapter, thesis);
  • a CV.

The deadline for applications is 3 December 2020. Interviews will take place between 7 and 11 December 2020. The intended starting date is 1 February 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.
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