PhD scholarship in Social Data Science at the Copenhagen Center for Social Data Science, University of Copenhagen (UCPH) and a newly establish research unit UDDanKvant

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: 29 Jun 2021

Applications are invited for a PhD scholarship in social data science in conjunction with the newly established research unit UDDanKvant, The research unit UDDanKvant is focusing on quantitative and econometric research on the topic of children and education. The unit is a corporation between Danish Ministry of Education and Department of Economics, Department of Sociology and Copenhagen Center for Social Data (SODAS) all at the faculty of Social Science at University of Copenhagen. Enrolment will be at the Faculty of Social Sciences under Copenhagen Graduate School of Social Sciences. The PhD student will be formally employed at SODAS, but will also spend time at the Danish Ministry at Education.

The preferred position starting date is on 1 September 2021 or as soon as possible.


The PhD program provides PhD students with strong research training, which opens up a window of opportunity to a variety of careers within the private and public sectors. The program includes the drafting of a PhD thesis, active participation in research networks, PhD courses, teaching, and other forms of knowledge dissemination. The PhD program can be undertaken as a three year full-time study within the framework of the 5+3 study program, or as a four year full-time study program within the framework of the 4+4 study program. The PhD student in the current project will have a solid connection to both SODAS, the research unit as well as the Danish Ministry of Education.

Who are we looking for?
We are looking for a PhD candidate to work on novel applications of data sources and machine learning methods for causal inference in education policy. Applicants can have a background from either within social science and have skills with quantitative methods (e.g. economics, sociology) or the computational sciences (e.g. mathematics or data science). We are looking for the most talented candidates that ideally bring some knowledge and experience in the area of education policy or data science broadly defined, or both.

The Research Unit and Project

The purpose of UDDanKvant is twofold: 1) to deliver excellent quantitative research within the field of children and education, with a particular focus on effect evaluation 2) to develop econometric competences and methods within the field.  The unit will contribute with new knowledge in the field which can qualify policies and future decision on e.g. child care and education. The unit will work in close cooperation with the Danish Ministry of Education, which will contribute with detailed knowledge on data and interventions. The head of research unit is Mette Ejrnæs (see ).

As part of the Ph.D. project, the applicant will take part in a project that aims to i) examine learning in schools through new digital platforms and ii) apply new methods for computing individualized treatment effects from causal machine learning methods. One sub-project will measure the effect of lockdown and learning from home using the digital data and examine whether local policies that allows vulnerable children to show up at school during lockdown mitigated the learning loss. The project will be led by Andreas Bjerre-Nielsen and Sune Lehmann. 

Duties and Responsibilities

The PhD student will be involved in conducting research in social data science in conjunction with the overall project and the affiliated research unit. UCPH will provide supervision and support for the student.

Further information about the PhD study program is available on the website of Copenhagen Graduate School of Social Sciences: 

Under "Legal basis" on the website you will find information about the rules and guidelines for the PhD program and the Danish Ministerial Order on the PhD program at the Universities. 

Information about the PhD study program can be obtained by contacting the Head of the PhD programme in Social Data Science, Robert Böhm:


Candidates possessing the following qualifications are strongly preferred:

  • Experience working with (large) data sets, for example, from past work as a research assistant or from independent research.
  • A track record of strong academic performance.
  • Experience from past coursework in machine learning as well as econometric methods.
  • Reading Danish is not a requirement but is an advantage.


  • The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding society, and invites all qualified applicants, regardless of personal background, to apply for the positions.  
  • In order to be awarded a PhD scholarship the applicant has to enroll as a PhD student at the Faculty of Social Sciences, cf. the rules of the Danish Ministerial order No 1039 of 27 August 2013.  

Scholarship in the 5+3 or in the 4+4 PhD study program 

 The 5+3 PhD study program

In order to be eligible for a scholarship in the 5+3 PhD study program the applicant must have completed a two year MSc degree program, or have earned 120 ECTS credits at an equivalent academic level before starting his or her employment. Applicants should check the study programs for more detailed descriptions of the entry requirements. PhD students are paid a salary in accordance with the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC). The PhD student has a work obligation of up to 840 hours over the 3 year period of time without additional pay. The work obligation will be shared between tasks at VIVE and UCPH and tasks can include for instance teaching.  

The 4+4 PhD study program 

Students who have completed a BSc plus 60 ECTS of an MSc degree program would enrol as PhD students simultaneously with their enrolment in the MSc degree program. Applicants should check the study programs for more detailed descriptions of the entry requirements. Until an MSc degree is obtained, the grant is paid partly in the form of up to 48 state education grant portions (in Danish: SU-klip). More specifically the PhD student will be paid two grant portions per month plus salary for work (teaching, presentations etc.) which totals a workload of at least 280 hours. Payment and conditions of employment are carried out in accordance with the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC). Upon completion of the MSc degree the student is transferred to the salary-earning part of the PhD studies. 

How to apply

Submit a complete application at our online portal. Click on the “Apply now” icon at the bottom of the page to apply. The documents must be in Adobe PDF or Word.

  • Cover Letter. The letter must detail your motivation and background for applying for the project.
  • An  outline of ideas for projects under the frame of the overall project (potentially related to questions of resources assigned to daycare centers or starting age). The outline should describe potential ideas for identification strategies that are suitable and critically discuss challenges.
  • CV   
  • Diploma and/or transcripts of records (BSc and MSc)   

Please note that it is only possible to upload one document per attachment category. If more than one document has to be uploaded in the same category, please make sure that they are scanned and collected into one file.  

Application process  

On the website of Copenhagen Graduate School of Social Sciences you will find information about the application process, and enclosures to include with your electronic application:

The recruitment process

Selected applicants are notified of the composition of the assessment committee, and each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that relates to the applicant him/herself. You can read about the recruitment process here. 

Information about the recruitment process is available from Salma Schou, HR, e-mail: , please refer to ID 211-0787/21-2H

An Equal Opportunity Workplace
The University of Copenhagen is committed in its pursuit of academic excellence to equality of opportunity and to creating an inclusive working environment and therefore encourages all qualified candidates to apply, regardless of personal background, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, ethnicity etc. For more on the diverse working place environment at the University and the University’s participation in the HRS4R HR Excellence in Research, see

International applicant?
The University of Copenhagen offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including support before and during your relocation and career counselling to expat partners. Please find more information about these services as well as information on entering and working in Denmark here:

The closing date for applications is 29 June 2021 at 23:59 CET

Applications received after the deadline will not be taken into account. 

Contact information

For more information please contact Assistant Professor, Andreas Bjerre-Nielsen

Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.

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