Doktorand*in (m/w/d) für das Projekt Shaping AI | HIIG

PhD Candidate (m/f/d) for the project Shaping AI

13 October 2020

Are you interested and engaged in the social and political debates on AI? Do you question why the trolley problem has been at the centre of these debates for so long and wonder whether AI is more than just deep learning? Are you interested and experienced in interdisciplinary research on digitisation and society? Then we look forward to receiving your application! 

The Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) is looking for 

a committed PhD candidate
for the Shaping AI project

The successful candidate will work in the research project “Shaping 21st Century AI. Controversies and Closure in Media, Policy, and Research” (SHAPING AI) for 3 years, in an 65% capacity (TVL 13). Family & travel support, as well as support for the procurement of research materials are included. Starting date for the position is February 1, 2021. 

This international joint project – with partners in the UK, France and Canada – empirically investigates the formation of “artificial intelligence” (AI) as a central socio-technical institution in contemporary societies. Over a ten-year period (2012-2021), we will  conduct a comparative study of the issue career, framing and problematisation of AI in the four participating countries and in three domains: media, politics and  technical research. The HIIG will act as consortium lead.

Key Responsibilities

  • Development of a dissertation topic within the scope of the project
  • Independent implementation of sub studies within the project (e.g. on policy debates and regulation of AI, on media debate and on technical research in Germany)
  • Contributions to design and implementation of the research project  
  • Collaboration and communication with international project partners
  • Publication of scientific articles in relevant journals, submission of conference papers and development of formats for knowledge transfer to a wider public, e.g. through events, blog posts, etc. 
  • Support or expansion of existing scientific networks of the institute

Requirements and Preferred Qualifications

  • Eligible candidates will have a very good university degree, ideally based in the social sciences with a topic related to the above-mentioned field   
  • Initial experience in social-science based Internet research, ideally with a focus on one or more of the following fields: AI, regulation/governance/ethics, science communication, controversies about science and technology.
  • Initial empirical experience with document analysis, discourse analysis and/or critical data and algorithm research, including digital methods, is desirable
  • Great interest in interdisciplinary research, first experiences in interdisciplinary cooperation are desirable
  • Open-mindedness for international scientific cooperation, ideally substantiated by experience abroad
  • Independence, creative will, sense of responsibility, motivation and teamwork
  • Business fluency in German and very good knowledge of English are mandatory

Resources & Benefits

  • Independent research and creative opportunities to develop your own scientific profile, gain visibility and publish at a high level
  • Participation in the development and establishment of a new research project with room for own ideas in cooperation with the project management  
  • International project context with a highly visible and relevant topic 
  • Strong international and interdisciplinary networking and cooperation with renowned project partners
  • The opportunity to gain a doctorate, participation in the doctoral programme and the mentoring programme and other excellent exchange and networking opportunities
  • An attractive and family-friendly working environment with flexible working hours, flat hierarchies in an embodied alternative to the traditional science business
  • A highly motivated team that works very closely together and committed colleagues from various disciplines in a forward-looking institute in the heart of Berlin

 Application Instructions

Do you recognise yourself in the profile described? Then we look forward to receiving your application with a letter of motivation, CV and relevant certificates. Please enclose a 1-2 page sketch with first ideas for a doctoral thesis topic within the project “Shaping AI”.  Please submit the documents using the online form below. The review of applications will start on November 2, 2020. The call for applications will remain online and thus open until a suitable applicant is found. The careful screening and selection of our new team members is very important to us and we ask for your understanding that we will conduct several selection interviews during the process. If you have any questions regarding the content of the position, please contact Dr. Christian Katzenbach (


Christian Katzenbach, Dr.

Head of research programme: The evolving digital society

About HIIG

The HIIG researches the development of the internet from a societal perspective with the aim to better understand the digitalisation of all spheres of life.

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