Postdoc in Computational Social Science: Building the Text Analysis Infrastructure for Political Communication

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • Postdoc in Computational Social Science: Building the Text Analysis Infrastructure for Political Communication
  • Doctorate
Are you passionate about open science and text analysis? Do you believe there is more to text analysis than counting words in English tweets? Do you want to develop the next generation infrastructure for comparative research using textual data? Are you looking for a position where developing, evaluating and writing about tools and methods is a core part of the job? Come work with us at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

FTE: 0.6 - 1

Job description

In this project you will work on (re)developing an on-line interface that can be used for annotating textual data for automated approaches. The postdoctoral position is embedded in the international network of the H2020 Observatory for Political Texts in European Democracies - A European Research Infrastructure (OPTED) Grant. This network is committed to implement the Open Science norms to go beyond the state-of-the-art in automated text analysis.

The project starting date is 1 November 2020. The position is for 3 years at 60% employment or shorter for a full time position (extension possible with additional teaching if desired). 

Your duties

Within the project you will take the lead on developing tools and methods for transparent and replicable access to and analysis of textual material in multiple languages. Concretely, you will:

  • Develop an infrastructure for text storage for storing, sharing, and research collaboration on political texts
  • Develop an annotation interface for enriching data for analysis and evaluation 
  • Develop and evaluate linguistic processing tools for multiple European languages
  • Develop methods for non-consumptive research to facilitate collaboration and transparency where needed.
  • Disseminate the developed tools and methods through publications, packages, and workshops.


  • PhD in Communication Science, Political Science or a related field
  • Affinity for Open Science and/or comparative text analysis
  • Strong background and experience in computational research
  • Experience or affinity with working in an interdisciplinary team
  • Excellent communication skills

What you will get from us:

  • Embedding in the Computational Communication Science Amsterdam lab
  • Direct collaboration with highly experienced computational social scientists
  • Good support for further personal development to build your CV and network for a career in computational social science
  • Working in a European project with established and upcoming political communication researchers

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of € 2709 (scale 10)
and a maximum € 5 127 (scale 11), depending on your education and experience. The position is related to UFO profile Researcher 3 or 4, depending on experience.

The initial employment contract will affect a period of 1 year, with the possibility of extension.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP), contribution to commuting expenses
  •  good paid parental leave scheme

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavour – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,000 students. We employ over 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

Faculty of Social Sciences
The Faculty of Social Sciences examines the major social problems of our time from multiple perspectives. From bullying at school to dealing with transnational immigration, from the rise of populist politicians to creating a self-reliant society. Only at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam you will find all the academic disciplines needed to understand these 'wicked problems': alongside the traditional disciplines such as sociology, anthropology and politics, we also research and teach the new social sciences such as communication science and management & organization science. We do not settle for easy answers in our teaching and research. Our researchers and students are critical thinkers and doers who work together to devise surprising solutions to the problems of today.

Working at the Faculty of Social Sciences means working with colleagues from a range of academic disciplines in an inspiring and personal work and study environment with excellent research facilities. We employ more than 250 staff members, and we are home to around 2,500 students.

About the department
In this project, you will work in the Computational Communication Science Amsterdam lab. This is a collaboration between the VU and UvA and a world leading research group in the use and development of computational methods for studying communication.

About the project
This position is part of OPTED, an H2020 funded international research project lead by the University of Vienna and containing leading European research groups in computational social science. As part of this consortium you will have numerous opportunities for collaboration and expanding your professional network.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until 15 September 2020. The job interviews are planned for end of September.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Wouter van Atteveldt
Position: Work Package Leader
Telephone: +31642740725

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