Post-doctoral Researcher in Computational (Social) Science

Research / Academic

The Institute of Security and Global Affairs and the Institute of Public Administration are looking for a post-doctoral researcher with expertise in natural language processing for a period of 31 months at 1.0 FTE. The postdoctoral researcher will contribute to two research projects. The NWO Open Competition project ‘Unravelling the Rule of Law: A Machine Learning Approach’ aims to understand the meaning of the rule of law concept and track it over time. The NWO VIDI-project ‘Making Finance Sustainable? A Comparative Perspective on the Politics of Investment’ interrogates the institutional and regulatory conditions for sustainable financial systems in Europe.

The role of the postdoctoral researcher is to employ natural language processing models (e.g., word embeddings and topic models) to find the meaning, patterns, and themes within a large volume of text data. The candidates should have vast experience with applied research employing natural language processing models and machine learning more broadly and, ideally, should demonstrate a solid social science background or interest in socially relevant problems.

Key responsibilities

  • Conduct independent and collaborative research on the concepts of rule of law and sustainable finance by using natural language processing models, in particular word embedding and topic models.
  • Disseminate the project’s findings as co-author in high-ranking international peer-reviewed journals, conference presentations, policy reports, and other relevant formats.
  • Collaborate in presenting the projects to key stakeholders, academics and policymakers/practitioners working on occupational pensions.
  • Work within an interdisciplinary team of colleagues.


Selection criteria

  • A PhD in political science, public administration, economics, sociology, computer science, or any other relevant discipline.
  • Specific (applied) research expertise in natural language processing; background in computational social sciences (a mix of computer and social sciences skills) is considered as an asset.
  • Excellent programming skills in Python and/or R.
  • Outstanding research qualities demonstrated through an established track record of publications in peer-reviewed, international journals.
  • Demonstration of open science output, such as open-source code and/or data.
  • Experience participating in interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary research.
  • Demonstrated ability to work in an independent manner.
  • A ‘can-do’ mentality and a team-player spirit.
  • Excellent command of English.

Salary Benefits:

Terms and conditions
The position starts on December 1, 2023 at the latest. The salary ranges from €3.226,- to € 5.090,- gross per month (pay scale 10 in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities). The candidate will initially be appointed for 1 year and will be extended for another 19 months, depending upon research performance.

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3%), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.

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