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 01st July 2020 at the latest our department Data Archive for the Social Sciences (DAS) in Cologne, Germany, is – within the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) “NoBIAS” – looking for an


Early Stage Researcher in Science and Technology Studies (STS)

(PhD Position, working time 100%, limited for 3 years)

“NoBIAS – Artificial Intelligence without Bias” is a project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement no. 860630.


NoBIAS aims at developing novel methods for AI-based decision making without bias by taking into account ethical and legal considerations in the design of technical solutions. The core objectives of NoBIAS are to understand legal, social and technical challenges of bias in AI-decision making, to counter them by developing fairness-aware algorithms, to automatically explain AI results, and to document the overall process for data provenance and transparency.


NoBIAS will train a cohort of 15 ESRs (Early-Stage Researchers) to address problems with bias through multi-disciplinary training and research in computer science, machine learning, artificial intelligence, law and social science. ESRs will acquire practical expertise in a variety of sectors from healthcare, telecommunication, finance, marketing, media, software, and legal consultancy to broadly foster legal compliance and innovation. Technical, interdisciplinary and soft skills will give ESRs a head start towards future leadership in industry, academia, or government.

Your tasks will be:

You will work on the exploration of the social and technical processes that shape the generation of bias in AI-based decision systems, focusing on the organizational and cultural context of their emergence and with particular attention to the data and artefacts that are in use. You will develop methodological expertise in combining attention to human and non-human actors in AI-based decision making systems and contribute a new understanding of the sociotechnical processes leading to algorithmic bias.

Your profile:

  • Masters degree in a social science discipline with a focus on Science and Technology Studies (STS) and ideally on algorithmic regimes, algorithmic accountability or a similar topic
  • Training and/or exeprience in ethnography or related approaches (e.g. praxeography), ideally within the context of organizations
  • Experience in or willingness to engage in computational methods
  • Experience in or willingness to engage in quantitative survey methods


To be eligible the applicant must satisfy the mobility requirements of Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions. According to these guidelines, at the time of recruitment, the potential candidate 

  • “must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the recruiting beneficiary for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention are not taken into account.” 
  • “must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and have not been awarded a doctoral degree”.


Required documents:

  • Detailed CV in Europass format (template available here) in English, highlighting your achievements and fit to the applied position;
  • Scans of BSc/BA and MSc/MA transcripts, with certified translation in English (if the degree qualification is not in English or in the language of the hosting country); 
  • A motivation letter in English, highlighting why you will be a good fit for the position and why you want to be a NoBIAS ESR to carry out of a PhD;
  • Contact details or recommendation letters of two referees in English or in certified translation;
  • Proof of excellent command of English (e.g., IELTS, TOEFL, Cambridge or equivalent). This is not required in case of native English speakers (i.e., English is your mother tongue).

For further information concerning the tasks please contact Katharina Kinder-Kurlanda (katharina.kinder-kurlanda@gesis.org) via email. If you have questions about the application process, please contact Alissa Vogt via E-Mail (alissa.vogt@gesis.org).

Have we areoused your interest?

Please apply via our Online-application portal until 28.02.2020
Our reference number is: DAS-72

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/Mannheim and you benefit from our flexible working area.

GESIS guarantees the attention of the disability regulations and advances the professional gender equality. 

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

Here you will find further information.