Postdoctoral Researcher

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Postdoctoral Researcher (m/f/d) Digital Harm group at the Max Planck Institute for SoftwareSystems

Dr. Elissa M. Redmiles is hiring a Postdoctoral Researcher to conduct survey-based research related to digital harm and inequity, with a primary focus on COVID19, digital harm, and gender and socioeconomic inequities online. For examples of research style, see Dr. Redmiles’ publication list and the COVID19 project page.

The researcher will independently design, conduct, and publish quantitative research. This will include careful design of surveys following survey methodology principles, including conducting cognitive interviews, managing data collection via crowdsourcing or survey panel vendors, and cleaning data. The researcher will also conduct rigorous statistical analysis of survey results, including regression modeling (logistic, linear, ordinal, with mixed effects, using cross validation, etc.), appropriate statistical hypothesis testing, and experimental design. Finally, the researcher will be responsible for conducting literature reviews, summarizing findings, and publishing results in research journals in collaboration with Dr. Redmiles and the research group.


  • Rigorous survey or computational social science training including previous experience with:
    • Designing and deploying surveys using crowdsourcing and/or survey panels
    • Applying appropriate statistical analysis including appropriate statistical testing practices and the ability to design and cross-validate appropriate models for analyzing survey data
    • Visualizing research results and findings to clearly communicate results
  • Previous experience conducting literature reviews and summarizing literature
  • Previous academic publications and strong written English skills
  • Excellent time management skills
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Strong attention to quality of deliverables
  • Ability to work independently to meet deadlines without persistent oversight
  • A doctoral degree in Computer Science, Social Science, or related fields

The Max Planck Institute for Software Systems is committed to increasing the representation of minorities, women and individuals with disabilities. We particularly encourage such individuals to apply.

Important Details

  • This position will serve either as appropriate preparation (or alternative) to an industry research role, or as appropriate preparation for an academic role. Dr. Redmiles has significant research experience in industry as well as in academia.
  • Candidates will have the opportunity to spend up to 20% of their time (1 day a week) conducting research on a topic of their own choosing, with advising from Dr. Redmiles, if desired.
  • The position is available for a one- or two-year term. Upon satisfactory performance, the position can be extended, for a total length of up to four years.
  • We maintain an international and diverse work environment and seek applications from outstanding researchers worldwide. The working language is English; knowledge of the German language is not required for a successful career at the institutes.
  • Start date: December 1, 2020 or after (negotiable).


  • Travel and research funds will be provided for all group research.
  • Up to 4,000 Euro discretionary funding will be available for independent (20% time) research activities.
  • Visa support and funds for relocation will be provided as needed by the candidate.
  • Six weeks paid vacation as well as German standard benefits, including health insurance

How to Apply

Please email with the subject line “Postdoc Application” with the following materials by November 1, 2020:

  • CV
  • Up to three publications that best represent your work
  • Either a research statement or one writing sample written by you, alone, with no editing or outline support from anyone else. If you prefer to submit a writing sample, this can be work from your undergraduate studies or an earlier version of one of your representative publications.
  • The contact information of 2-3 references who can provide letters, if requested.


The position is based in Saarbrucken, Germany with some flexibility for remote work.

Saarbrucken is home to multiple research institutes: the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems (at which this position is based), and the CISPA Helmholtz Center for Information Security, as well as the University of Saarland (a 17,000 student university). These institutes draw a diverse multicultural life to Saarbrucken.

Saarbrucken is about 40 minutes by bus/car from Luxembourg, 2 hours by train from Frankfurt, and 2 hours by train from Paris.