GESIS – Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences is an internationally active research institute, funded by federal and state governments and member of the Leibniz Association.

Starting on November 01, 2023, the department Computational Social Science (CSS), Team Data Science Methods located in Cologne is looking for a

Post-Doctoral Researcher in Computational Linguistics / NLP

(Salary group 13 TV-L, working time 100%, for 4 years with possible tenure)

The interdisciplinary and internationally constituted department Computational Social Science (CSS) is dedicated to the study of sociocultural phenomena and digital society. For this purpose, we are using new approaches to data collection (e.g., web data collection, web tracking, smartphone apps) as well as different types of analysis methods (e.g., machine learning, network analysis, text and data mining), and standards (reproducible analysis methods).

The advertised position will be part of the new Data Science Methods team, led by Gabriella Lapesa. The team will focus on the design, implementation, and evaluation of data-driven methods for computational social science (CSS), especially on Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning. The group aims to push the state-of-the-art to improve how we describe, quantify, and explain social and political phenomena. It will work at the interface between computational argumentation and political communication, focusing on highly subjective phenomena and the challenges they pose to computational modeling.

Within the team, the postdoctoral researcher will work on developing NLP methods that tackle the challenge of modeling subjective phenomena of interest in CSS.  

Your tasks will be:

  • Developing and sharing deep learning solutions to learn from annotated data, facing the challenges of the subjectivity of the target phenomena and annotations, as well as devising strategies to assess the robustness of such methods (e.g., exploring biases) and teaching their applications to social scientists
  • Designing and conducting large scale crowdsourcing studies to address research questions at the interface of computational argumentation and computational social science
  • Learning new skills and methods and develop your own research network and agenda
  • Publication in top-tier international conferences and journals
  • Disseminating your expertise through guides, consulting, open-science materials, and real-world implementations

Your profile:

  • Completed (or soon to be completed) doctoral degree in computational linguistics, computer science, machine learning, data science, or related disciplines; applicants with a social/political science background are also welcome to apply, if their research background equipped them with the right skillset
  • Expertise in developing NLP solutions with state-of-the-art deep-learning methods
  • First experiences in planning, conducting, and analyzing large scale annotation studies conducted with crowdsourcing methods are a plus
  • Ability to plan and manage research projects in interdisciplinary teams involving Computational Linguistics and other disciplines; background in computational argumentation and/or computational social science is a plus
  • Very good written and spoken communication skills in English, comfortable in communicating your findings to scientists beyond your field

Our Benefits:

  • An international and interdisciplinary working environment that will also support you in developing your own research profile
  • Close collaboration and scientific exchange with the BMBF project E-DELIB (University of Stuttgart), the DFG project MARDY, and the Institute for Internet Democracy (DIID) at the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
  • Flexible working hours and the possibility of up to 60% mobile working within Germany
  • Generous support for your pension provision as a direct insurance policy
  • Very good conditions for reconciling work and family life, e.g., subsidies for childcare for children who have not yet attained the age of compulsory schooling
  • Holistic company health management and discounted participation in the university's sports program
  • Promotion of your skills through further training measures

For further information concerning the tasks please contact Dr. Gabriella Lapesa via E-Mail. If you have questions about the application process, please contact Franca Tosetti via E-Mail.


Please apply via our Online-application portal until the position is filled (at least until September 05th, 2023).

Our reference number is: CSS-89.

GESIS offers an exciting work environment for interdisciplinary research at the interface between social sciences and computer sciences.  As an infrastructure institution, we serve the promotion of the social science research, and we are in close cooperation with well-known international research institutes.

GESIS supports your career developments. We offer a wide range of career possibilities within an attractive working atmosphere with a high level of self-responsibility and scope for action. You work in an international environment in the heart of Cologne and you benefit from our flexible working area.

GESIS guarantees the attention of the disability regulations and advances the professional gender equality. The position can also be filled on a part-time basis.

As a family-friendly employer, we are certified by the audit Work&Family since 2010.

Here you will find further information.