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14 Postdoc positions (1,0 FTE)

at the Humanities faculties, University of Groningen

In the context of the sectoral plan for the Humanities entitled ‘Tradition in transition’ and the University's strategic profile, the three Humanities faculties of the University of Groningen offer 14 postdoc positions.

The Faculties of Arts (FoA), of Theology and Religious Studies (FThRS) and Philosophy (FPh) are looking for expertise and experience in the fields of humane AI, cultural heritage & identity, languages & cultures, information & social inequalities in a digital world. We invite ambitious academics to apply for the following positions:

Humane AI – Data and platforms for social, cultural, and economic innovation: 4 positions

This theme is concerned with the social implications of the interaction between humans and new technologies, with specific attention to language-based technologies, which continuously foster innovation in human-human and human-machine interaction. A digital and global public space is emerging, where we have to ask how all citizens can participate in a digital society (digital literacy and inclusion) and how culture plays or can play a role in connecting those citizens.

  1. Targeted Generation with Small Data (FoA, Center for Language and Cognition Groningen - Computational Linguistics). Application form
    Existing large language models, both mono- and multi-lingual can provide a solid base to process varieties of languages which might not be included in the original model, or might relate to a specific task, such as changing the style of a text, or simplifying it, or adapting it to a given variety. As only few resources are usually available, this project will explore and develop data-scarce strategies for text and speech reformulation.
  2. Model Exposure and Adaptation to Less Represented Varieties and Communities (FoA, Center for Language and Cognition Groningen - Computational Linguistics). Application form
    Not all language varieties are or possibly can be represented in language models with overexposure of dominant communities, potentially yielding limited functionality of language technology tools to the disadvantage of minorities, and possibly reinforcing cultural stereotypes. In order to make models and therefore tools fairer and more inclusive, exposure and then (bias-aware) adaptation strategies must be developed so that technological advances are accessible to as many people as possible, rendering a concrete benefit to society at large.
  3. Digital platforms, Algorithms and Informed Citizenship (FoA, Centre for Media and Journalism Studies). Application form
    The development of algorithmically structured (social) media platforms changes how citizens are informed, how political and cultural identities are shaped discursively, and what levels of digital literacy citizens need in order to meaningfully participate in society. This project explores the social, cultural and political implications of the interaction between humans, AI, data and digital platforms.
  4. The Responsible Use of AI (FPh). Application form
    The rapid uptake of AI and data science methods in science and society requires us to relate to numerous ethical

    and epistemological questions. How can we justify the support of decision making by AI systems, for instance in medical, political, and economic contexts? What kind of institutional embedding can ensure proper accountability? The project will approach this question from a normative standpoint, taking into account the economic and political causes and consequences of the introduction of AI methods into society.

Cultural Heritage and Identity – Material and intangible heritage: 3 positions

In this theme the various forms and dimensions of heritage (textual, material, intangible, digital, visual, spoken, built, and environmental) are sources for the study of historical memory and identity, on a local and global level, in the past and in the present. The postdoctoral projects concentrate on the following topics:

  1. Heritage, Identity, and Nature (FoA, Groningen Institute of Archaeology). Application form
    Archaeological heritage includes finds of biological character: from plants, animals and humans. Traditionally these remains are studied to reconstruct past societies in general and human-plant-animal relations in particular. This postdoc brings in historical ecology and questions the role of biocultural heritage in identity formation related to contemporary nature development policies. The aim of the project is to explore how historical ecology can be more firmly situated in research and teaching in archaeology and related disciplines, using biocultural heritage collections (plant, animal, or human remains from archaeological settings). Specifically, we are looking for projects that use (one or some of) these datasets to add an historical ecological perspective to present-day nature development strategies, and contribute to more sustainable and insightful strategies.
  2. Digital Heritage: Inclusivity, Innovation, and Curation (FoA, Groningen Institute of Archaeology). Application form
    What is the impact of digitization on how we perceive and study heritage? Large digital datasets require not only new research methods and modes of preservation, but also critical reflections on the selection processes and access to digital heritage. This postdoctoral project focuses on data science in heritage fields employing FAIR data principles. The aim is to map out the needs and opportunities in research and teaching related to big data, digital heritage, and open science in archaeology and possible collaborations with other disciplines. Specifically, we are interested in candidates with experience in digital databases and data analysis. Projects may focus on innovative research methods, curation, the ethics of digital database creation and management, or the future of legacy databases.
  3. Contested Cultural Heritage and Identity Formation Processes (Fo,A Center for Historical Studies). Application form
    Present global transformations that shake up the geopolitical, socio-economic, cultural, and ecological status quo intensify controversies around cultural heritage. Yet struggles over cultural heritage are hardly a new phenomenon and were central in the creation of historical memories of past societies. This project offers a historical perspective on contested cultural heritage and identity formation. The task is to map out the opportunities to establish critical heritage studies more firmly within the research agenda of the Center for Historical Studies and the curricula of the study programs affiliated with the Center, as well as in those of related disciplines. More specifically, we are looking for a candidate with an established track record in the study of contested cultural heritage and identity formation in the past, for instance in the context of armed conflicts, the (dis)integration of empires, revolutions, economic crises, democratization, and struggles against various forms of silencing and discrimination. The general, although not exclusive, focus of this position is on material forms of heritage.
Cultural Heritage and Identity – Creative industries, Media and Popular Culture: 2 positions

The mediatization of society has fundamentally changed the way we perceive and define cultural heritage. Popular media and creative industries shape identity formation while films, television, videos, games and pop music become cultural heritage themselves. Digital and digitized cultural archives, whether they are curated by cultural institutions or users on social media or entertainment platforms, are key in understanding future heritage and identity construction.

  1. Platforms, Cultural Consumption and Taste Formation (FoA, Centre for Media and Journalism Studies). Application form
    As cultural consumption increasingly occurs through online platforms that employ automated recommendation systems, there is an urgent need to understand how contemporary taste affinities and boundaries are cultivated and drawn through practices and styles of consumption. This project will examine taste formation through platforms (Tiktok, YouTube, Spotify, Netflix, etc.) and the implications for cultural identities, social cohesion and political polarization.
  2. Cultural Archives, Digital Collections, Identity Formation, and Care for Heritage (FoA, Centre for Arts in Society). Application form
    Our engagement with cultural heritage via popular media, ranging from photography, film, and TV to social media platforms has changed not only how local and global identities are formed and perceived but also how heritage is cared for; moreover mediatization continually produces new heritage. This project examines the possible futures of digital and material heritage by studying how producing, re-using, and curating digital and digitised artefacts shapes cultures and identities and opens new perspectives on care at individual, collective, and institutional levels.
Languages and Cultures: Language in cultural-political contexts: 4 positions

Language allows humans to engage in meaningful and complex interactions with others. Choices in language use and discourses including the choice to exclude the use of given language(s) greatly impact and define human identities, societies and cultures. Crucially, insights from language studies help shape other disciplines, such as political, social, and spatial sciences. In a time where extra efforts are needed to increase interest for and research into language & culture studies, the four postdoc positions in language and cultures at the Faculty of Arts aim to provide a renewed impetus in explaining to (interdisciplinary) scientific fields and society at large the relevance of language and culture research. The shared commonality of the four projects is their broad focus on language and language choices in cultural-political contexts.

  1. Discourse, Communication, and Sustainability (FoA, Center for Language and Cognition Groningen - Discourse and Communication group). Application form
    This project follows a discourse and communication approach to the topic of sustainability and the sustainable food transition as a major societal transition. It may focus on various elements, including but not limited to the role of populism in the food transition debate (e.g., politicians, policy documents, and/or social media), investigating citizen and consumer perceptions (e.g., attitudes and beliefs about sustainable food transitions), persuasive communication (e.g., promoting sustainable food transitions with selected target audiences), the role of regional or minority languages in the food transition debate, and/or processes of shared decision making and expert-layman interaction. The project may consider diverse methodological approaches to the broad topic of discourse, communication, and sustainability (e.g., interaction analysis, conversation analysis, critical discourse analysis, experiments, survey research, multimodal analysis).
  2. The Language of Education (FoA, Center for Language and Cognition Groningen - Neurolinguistics and language development group). Application form
    The fourth sustainable societal goal as formulated by the United Nations is to ensure ‘inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. This project examines how language policies pertaining to, among other things, the allowance of multiple languages including minority and regional languages in classrooms at regional, national, European and global levels lead to safe learning spaces and equal life chances. The project may also include an exploration of the use of English versus native language use as a medium of instruction in non-Anglophone settings and look at multilingual and translanguaging practices in and outside the classroom. This topic is of special interest in the light of international mobilization and globalization and heavily impacts on cultural and political decision making.
  3. Discursive, Linguistic and Cultural Practices in Democratic Societal Transformations (FoA, Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture - Research Centre for the Study of Democratic Cultures and Politics (DemCP). Application form
    This project will investigate correlations between discursive, linguistic and/or cultural practices on the one hand, and the vast transformations that democratic societies around the globe are undergoing today on the other: globalization and a transnational flow of goods, people and ideas; an increasing cooptation of daily life with market principles; and a profound restructuring of political, social and cultural institutions.
  4. The Role of Language in Defining International Relations (FoA, Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture - Research Center for International Relations Research). Application form
    This postdoc project explores the role of language in framing contemporary discourses and practices in international relations. Based on any empirical domain within the field, projects are expected to make theoretical contributions to the understanding of the politics of identity, nationalism, or geopolitics within the broader humanities.
Communication, information and social inequalities in a digital world: 1 position

Digitalisation affects all citizens and all domains of everyday life. To take advantage of the opportunities that digitization offers, research is needed on social, cultural and political participation in the online world, as well as the barriers that hinder participation. How do citizens find access to the digital world? What motivates people to interact digitally? And what digital literacy competencies and conditions are needed for full participation in a digital society?

  1. Media and Digital In- and Exclusion (FoA, Centre for Media and Journalism Studies). Application form
    Digitalisation and the ubiquity of online platforms offer opportunities for having better access to public services, being better informed and more participation in public debate and decision making processes. At the same time, there are major risks of digital exclusion; millions of citizens are not digitally literate enough to fully participate in a digital society. Projects within this theme could study media and digital in- and exclusion in different domains of everyday life from the perspectives of citizens, but could also focus on the role of institutions, or analyse (social) media texts.

Your research will be embedded in the relevant institute of the respective faculty. You will set up research collaborations with colleagues both within the UG and from other Dutch Humanities faculties, in order to develop a research agenda, and draw up a substantial grant proposal within the relevant theme. You will also teach in our Bachelor's and/or Master's degree programmes. For all positions the appointment is divided into 80% research and 20% teaching.

Qualifications

We encourage you to apply if you have:

  • a PhD in a field relevant to the position of interest, or if your PhD thesis is accepted by the review committee;
  • an excellent research skills, as demonstrated by a track record of publishing in high-ranked venues or a demonstrable capacity to develop such a record;
  • an excellent command of English (CEFR C1/C2);
  • a strong cooperative attitude and willingness to engage in collaborative research and instigate cross-disciplinary collaboration;
  • enthusiasm for communicating academic research to non-academic audiences.

Applicants are invited to propose a specific project within the wider scope of the five themes and the specific sub-projects within these themes (see below the section ‘Your application’).

Organization

The University of Groningen has an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative institute of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Balanced study and career paths in a wide variety of disciplines encourage our 39,000 students and researchers to develop their own individual talents. Ranking among the best research universities in Europe and joining forces with prestigious partner universities and networks, we are truly an international place of knowledge.

For more information about the UG Humanities faculties, see:

What do we offer?

In accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO-NU) we are offering you:

  • a postdoc position of 1.0 FTE for a period of two years starting from 1 October 2022.
  • a salary, depending on qualifications and work experience, of a minimum of €3.557 (salary scale 10, number 4) to a maximum of €5.439 (scale 11) gross per month for a full-time position.
  • an excluding 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% end-of-year bonus and participation in a pension scheme for employees
  • favorable tax agreements may apply to non-Dutch applicants. We offer 232 holiday hours per calendar year for full-time employment and provide career services for partners of new academic staff members moving to Groningen.

We strive 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, visit our diversity policy webpage.

Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Netherlands Association for Personnel Policy (NVP) and the European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers.

Your Application:

You may apply for this position until 28 August 2022 at 11.59 p.m. / before 29 August 2022 (CEST). We invite you to submit a complete application including:

  1. a 1-2 page project description/project idea expanding on the project descriptiopns above and a reflection on how those ideas connect to the overarching theme (500-750 words)
  2. a letter of motivation
  3. your CV
  4. names and contact details of two referees

The interviews for the postdoc positions will be held in the first half of September 2022.

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Information

For more information you may contact:

  • For the positions in Humane AI – Data and platforms for social, cultural, and economic innovation: prof. Malvina Nissim
  • For the positions in Cultural Heritage and Identity – Material and intangible heritage: dr. Lidewijde de Jong
  • For the positions in Cultural Heritage and Identity – Creative industries, Media and Popular Culture: prof. Susan Aasman
  • For the positions in Languages and Cultures: Language in cultural-political contexts: prof. Merel Keijzer
  • For the position in Communication, information and social inequalities in a digital world: prof. Marcel Broersma

Please do not use the email addresses shown above to apply.

Last modified:18 July 2022 09.35 a.m.