Post-doctoral Researcher in Computational Linguistics for Local Journalism

Updated: 2 months ago
Deadline: 01 Dec 2022

Post-doctoral Researcher in Computational Linguistics for Local Journalism
Post-doctoral Researcher in Computational Linguistics for Local Journalism
Published Deadline Location
yesterday 1 Dec Amsterdam

Are you a computational linguist and interested in using your skills to support local journalism? Do you want to be part of a world-leading team of computational social scientists and political communication researchers? Then we are curious to get to k...
Job description
The Computational Linguistics and Text Mining Lab and Department of Communication Science at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam currently searches for a post-doctoral researcher. This position is part of a larger project funded by a charitable foundation which aims to understand how AI techniques can help local journalists and journalistic organizations deliver quality journalism in a challenging market.
Journalism is going through challenging times, with the decline of trust in institutional journalism, the competitive pressure of free online news, and the emergence of decentralized gatekeeping through social media and news aggregators. This project aims to investigate how NLP techniques may be used to help local journalism cope with these challenges, while taking the journalistic norms and values that are central to its role in democratic societies as a central design principle. In particular, we aim to use NLP methods to detect relevant information, support source verification and facilitate finding relevant information.
What makes this position special is that you are developing tools within a larger project and in close collaboration with journalistic organizations in the Netherlands and Germany. This means that there are many stakeholders that are eager to use and disseminate those tools. There are also many opportunities for learning new technologies within the team and through outside courses. We are strongly committed to open source and open science.
In this position you will be embedded in both the Computational Linguistics & Text Mining Lab and the Department of Communication Science. You will also collaborate closely with our colleagues at the Universities of Amsterdam, Stavanger, and Munich.
Your duties
The post-doctoral researcher will:
  • research and publish papers on using NLP methods for finding relevant information and checking;
  • develop (prototype) tools for use in (local) journalistic organizations;
  • communicate with (prospective) stakeholders to make sure tools are optimally designed and used;
  • present progress (verbally and written) to the consortium.

  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €3974—€5439 per month
  • Amsterdam View on Google Maps

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

  • a Ph.D. in Computational Linguistics (or a related field) with a strong interest in journalism or communication science or a background in communication Science, Journalism or a related discipline and prior experience in working with text mining methods;
  • strong research skills and interest in working in an interdisciplinary team;
  • good programming skills in Python, or good programming skills in other languages and eagerness to learn Python;
  • an eagerness to learn new technology;
  • social skills and willingness to work with both technologically and substantively oriented colleagues.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 1 year.

A thriving position in a societally engaged organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €3,974 (scale 11) and a maximum €5,439 (scale 11), depending on your educational level and experience. The job profile is based on the university job ranking system (UFO) and is vacant for 1.0 FTE. The position is offered from February 1st, 2023. The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended until October 1st, 2025.
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)
  • discounts on collective insurances (healthcare- and car insurance)

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 endeavor - 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 30,000 students. We employ over 5,500 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 500 staff members, and we are home to around 2,500 students.
About the department
Over the past decade, the scientific field of Communication Science has changed profoundly due to the continuous emergence of new media technologies and the rise of a media-saturated digital society, new empirical research methods, and new dynamic communication routes. The department of Communication Science at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (see our staff here ) responds to these major trends with an educational program (BA/MA) that teaches Communication Science within a "digital society" framework, and that trains related skills (e.g., on data and computational methods) and knowledge (e.g., on digital marketing) using timely and innovative teaching methods. The department also responds to these major trends by maintaining a pointed and forward-looking research program that is strategically focusing on the examination of Communication Choices, Content and Consequences (CCCC). The department holds a strong position in the field because it has clearly focused on newly emerging communication technologies and solid empirical methods ever since its foundation in 2003. The department maintains particular expertise in adapting psychological perspectives and computer sciences to the study of media. Researchers within the CCCC program are currently organized into three evolving research areas crucial to the discipline of Communication Science: Media Monitoring (focusing on computational methods, mostly in a political communication domain), Media Psychology (including work on experience and effects of Social Robotics and Virtual Reality), and Social Media (focusing on social media, mostly in a marketing, PR, and organizational communication context). The department has been ranked at a strong #10 of all departments/universities worldwide in the prestigious 2020 Shanghai ranking, the CCCC research program received excellent review scores in the last assessment, and the teaching program was positively evaluated and accredited in the last assessment (2018/2019).
About the Computational Linguistics and Text Mining Lab
The Computational Linguistics and Text Mining Lab (CLTL) at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is one of the leading groups in the area of multilingual language understanding, language modeling and resources and human-robot communication. Check out our website at: for more details about our research and teaching.
Additional information
Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until December 1st, 2022. The first round of job interviews will be executed through Zoom and is planned for mid-December. Final candidates may be invited to a second round (on-campus or on-line). The intended starting date for the position is February 1st or as soon as possible.
Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.
Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:
Name: Antske Fokkens and Wouter van Atteveldt
Position: Full Professors
E-mail: or
Telephone: +31 20 598 68 54 (secretariat)
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Working at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam means contributing to a better world. Working beyond the confidence of your own field, working with an open mind and working for the benefit of society.

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