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Postdoctoral researcher in NLP, Digital Humanities, and Semantic Web (0.8 FTE) (V23.0588)

Job description

Applications are invited for a 1.5 year position as postdoctoral researcher within the research project “Graphs and Ontologies for Literary Evolution Models” (GOLEM), financed by an ERC Starting Grant and coordinated by the Principal Investigator (PI), dr. Federico Pianzola. This is an interdisciplinary project at the intersection of NLP, Digital Humanities, and Semantic Web (linked data).

Millions of stories are shared on online platforms such as Wattpad, AO3, and, combined with readers' reactions and comments on these stories. The GOLEM project will analyze stories and their responses gathered from sites in five different languages – English, Spanish, Italian, Korean and Indonesian. This analysis can provide a wealth of information about the characters in a story, the genre, what a story is about, how a story is constructed, what themes are covered, as well as what readers from different countries and cultures find important in a story.

The core infrastructure of the project is a graph database of ca. 10 million stories, including information extracted from the full text of the stories via NLP techniques. Some information is already available in structured format, some other can be imported from resources like Wikidata or fan wikis. In addition, both the full text and the existing triples can be leveraged for the extension of the knowledge graph via automated reasoning, inferential learning, and other techniques.

The project will hire a postdoctoral researcher, who will work in the GOLEM lab.

Your Tasks
In collaboration with the other team members, you will work on the creation of a knowledge graph database generated extracting structured information from unstructured narrative text.

You will contribute to:

  • enrich a knowledge graph database with information obtained via NLP, namely with graph reasoning techniques (graph machine learning)
  • use graph-based representations for ontology learning
  • use NLP methods for modelling narrative text.

The focus on each of these tasks can vary based on the expertise of the applicant.

Founded in 1614, the University of Groningen enjoys an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative institution of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Flexible study programmes and academic career opportunities in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 37,000 students and researchers alike to develop their own individual talents. As one of the best research universities in Europe, the University of Groningen has joined forces with other top universities and networks worldwide to become a truly global centre of knowledge.

Faculty of Arts
The Faculty of Arts is built on a long-standing tradition of four centuries. Our mission is to be a top-ranking faculty with both an excellent education and world-quality research, with a strong international orientation, firmly rooted in the North of the Netherlands. We build and share knowledge benefits to society. We work at a modern, broad and international institution, educating over 5000 Dutch and international students to become forward-looking, articulate and independent academics. We form a hardworking and diverse team of 700 staff members.


  • a PhD degree in any area related to the tasks (e.g. Computer Science, Digital Humanities, or Information Science)
  • experience in extracting structured information from unstructured documents
  • commitment to Open Source and Open Science practices
  • an independent, proactive work ethic
  • good academic writing skills in English
  • knowledge of Dutch is NOT required.


Conditions of employment

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU):

  • a salary, depending on qualifications and work experience, between € 3,226 and € 4,332 (salary scale 10.7) gross per month
  • a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income
  • an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance
  • a temporary 0.8 FTE appointment for a specified period of 1.5 year (additional tasks up to 0.2 FTE are possible)
  • excellent work-life balance.

For more detailed information about working conditions and working for the University of Groningen, please check:

The conditions of employment comply with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU). For more detailed information about working conditions and working for the University of Groningen, please check:

Starting date: flexible, ideally 1 January 2024


Applications should be made in English and contain the following materials:

  • short statement (c. 500 words), explaining your motivation for applying
  • curriculum vitae with list of publications and links to GitHub profile and/or personal website
  • a copy of an article, book chapter or other academic text, in English, that you feel represents your work best
  • contact details of two academic referees (no letters of recommendation are needed for the application process).

Please send in your application as a PDF file (one for the academic article and one for all other documents). You may apply for this position until 28 September 11:59pm / before 29 September 2023 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

Only complete applications submitted by the deadline will be taken into consideration.

The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage:

Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers:

We provide career services for partners of new faculty members moving to Groningen.

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.


For information you can contact:

  • Federico Pianzola, Assistant Professor in Computational Humanities, f.pianzola

Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.