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

Postdoctoral researcher (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 postdoc 
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 80% capacity (TVL 13 or 14, depending on your qualification) in cooperation with the head of research programme “The evolving digital society” and in close coordination with the research directorate. 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

  • Joint responsibility and scope for development in the design of the research topic and the implementation of the research project  
  • Coordination of the international research network together with project management, cooperation in communication and coordination with project partners
  • Development of comparative research designs for the comparison of empirical results at the consortium level 
  • Supervision of sub-studies, executed by PhD candidate and graduate students (e.g. on policy debates and regulation of AI, on media debate and on technical research in Germany)
  • Publication of scientific articles in leading international journals, submission of conference papers and development of formats of knowledge transfer for a broader public, e.g. through events, blog posts, etc. 
  • Support and expansion of existing scientific networks of the institute
  • Monitoring of funding lines and tenders, raising of third-party funds by participating in public tenders or by supporting the fundraising activities of the HIIG, especially in the field of AI and society

Requirements and Preferred Qualifications

  • Eligible candidates will have an outstanding university degree and a completed doctorate in social sciences, ideally related to the above-mentioned field   
  • Experience in social-science based internet research, documented by relevant publications and lectures, ideally with a focus on one or more of the following fields: AI, regulation/governance/ethics, science communication, controversies about science and technology.
  • Empirical experience with document analysis, discourse analysis and/or critical data and algorithm research, including digital methods, are desirable
  • Great interest in interdisciplinary research, ideally already experience in interdisciplinary cooperation
  • Open-mindedness for international scientific cooperation, ideally substantiated by relevant experience abroad or within existing cooperations  
  • Initial experience in project management and the coordination of distributed work processes as well as very good communication skills are desirable
  • Independence, creative will, sense of responsibility, motivation and teamwork
  • Fluent business English is mandatory, good German is desirable

Resources & Benefits

  • Independent research and creative opportunities to develop your own scientific profile, gain visibility and publish at a high level
  • Development and establishment of a new research project with leeway for your own ideas and agenda in cooperation with the research programme manager and in close coordination with the research directorate  
  • International project context with a highly visible and relevant topic 
  • Strong international and interdisciplinary networking and cooperation with renowned project partners
  • 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 recognize yourself in the profile described? Then we are looking forward to receiving your application along with a letter of motivation, curriculum vitae, and relevant certificates. Please include a 1-2 page research sketch with first ideas of how you imagine the empirical implementation of the above mentioned topics of the project “Shaping AI”. Please submit the documents using the online form below. The review of applications will start on November 2,  2020 and the call for applications will remain 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 patience that we will conduct several interviews during the process. If you have any questions regarding the content of the job advertisement, please contact project lead 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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