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Postdoctoral researcher in Computational Social Science

Faculty of Humanities – Institute for Logic, Language and Computation

Postdoctoral researcher in Computational Social Science
Publication date 11 November 2020
Closing date 3 December 2020
Level of education PhD
Hours 38 hours per week
Salary indication €3,491 to €4.012 gross per month
Vacancy number 20-691

Are you a passionate and committed 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 postdoc in Computational Social Science. You will be part of the POPNET platform, and your position is hosted by the Faculty of Humanities. You will do your research under the aegis of the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC). The ILLC is a renowned research institute at the University of Amsterdam, in which researchers from the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Science collaborate.

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.    

The project is a collaboration of the University of Amsterdam (UvA), Leiden University (UL) and Statistics Netherlands (CBS). The researcher will work in an interdisciplinary social data science environment, bringing together computer science with the social sciences and humanities.

What will you be doing as a Postdoc?

  • Conduct research on population scale social network analysis;
  • co-supervise BSc and MSc students and possibly do small teaching activities;
  • collaborate with PhD students and other POPNET team members, both inside and outside UvA;
  • putting the POPNET project on the map in the Netherlands and internationally;
  • writing papers and developing new relevant collaborations with social scientists and researchers in related fields such as social historians;
  • securing additional external funding for research.

We will put together a curriculum which will also include the opportunity to attend training courses and both national and international events.

What do we require of you?

  • A PhD degree (completed before you start this project) in a relevant field, with a proven track record in network science, complex networks and/or social network analysis;
  • able to work independently and in a team;
  • willing to move towards a student supervisory role;
  • excellent writing skills and proficiency of the English language, demonstrated through published first author papers in respected and relevant conference proceedings and/or journals;
  • an academic, creative and curious mindset.

You may also be tasked with smaller teaching activities.

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 selected Postdoctoral researcher will be employed at the University of Amsterdam’s Faculty of Humanities within the Department of Media Studies and will execute the research in the ILLC. The employment contract will be for 38 hours per week (1,0 FTE) for a maximum of two years. The initial employment is for 1 year. Following a positive assessment and barring altered circumstances, this term will be extended by 1 year. The intended starting date is 1 February 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter. The gross monthly salary may range from €3,491 (scale 10/5) to €4,012 (scale 11/2) depending on experience and qualifications, in accordance 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?

To work at the University of Amsterdam is to work in a discerning, independent, creative, innovative and international climate characterised by an open atmosphere and a genuine engagement with the city of Amsterdam and society.

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. We especially welcome applications from members of underrepresented groups.

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

  • a research statement of at most 2 pages regarding your contribution to the POPNET project;
  • a letter of motivation of at most 2 pages where you reflect on the development of computational social science / social data science and your role herein. We specifically invite you to describe how the work done or the methodologies applied in your research statement relate to experience gained during your PhD;
  • a full CV;
  • at least three references (letters not needed at this stage).

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 1 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.
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