5 Postdoctoral Research Positions | Center for Humans and Machines

Job Code: 28/2020

Job Offer from August 18, 2020

The Center for Humans and Machines (Director: Prof. Dr. Iyad Rahwan), Max Planck Institute for Human Development, is seeking applications for five Postdoctoral Research Positions in Computational Social Science (E 13 TVöD; 39 hours/week).

Funding for each postdoctoral position is available for two years, with possibility of extension for a third year. The positions are available from December 1, 2020, or later.

Job Description

We seek to hire post-doctoral researchers to work on ambitious, high-impact research in Computational Social Science, with a focus on human-machine interaction. Projects will be conducted under the supervision of Prof. Iyad Rahwan, and will focus on the following main topics:

1. Human-machine cooperation
Relevant reading:

  • J. W. Crandall (2018). Cooperating with Machines. Nature Communications.
  • F. Ishowo-Oloko et al (2019). Behavioural Evidence for a Transparency-Efficiency Tradeoff in Human-Machine Cooperation. Nature Machine Intelligence.

2. Impact of AI and digital media on the future of work
Relevant reading:

  •  M. R. Frank et al (2019). Toward Understanding the Impact of AI on Labor. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 116(14)
  • A. Alabdulkareem et al (2018). Unpacking the polarization of workplace skills. Science Advances, 4(7):eaao6030

3. Impact of AI on human social behavior (e.g. norms, culture)
Relevant reading:

  • I. Rahwan et al (2019). Machine Behaviour. Nature. 68

The successful candidate will have no formal teaching requirements. The position will include generous support for computational equipment, experimental participant recruitment, travel to conferences and collaborators, and funds for hiring free-lance designers and developers to produce bespoke experimental platforms.


We are looking for postdocs with a strong computational social science skills, and interest in the computational and behavioral aspects of human-machine interaction, such as cooperation, social learning, and competition.


The successful applicant must have the following:

  • A PhD in computer science, physics, applied mathematics, or behavioral science (e.g. economics, political science, cognitive science, biology, anthropology).
  • Demonstrated ability to produce high-impact research, as evidenced by a strong publication record in top venues in Computational Social Science, Behavioral Science, Human-Computer Interaction, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, or interdisciplinary science.
  • Strong quantitative skills, including at least one of the following areas:

o Design of complex, Web-based behavioral experiments
o Complex systems and network science
o Data science including social media data processing
o Machine learning, including deep learning and reinforcement learning
o Mathematical modeling (e.g. game theory or evolutionary dynamics)

  • Demonstrated understanding and use of advanced statistical inference. Preference will be for candidates who possess statistical maturity and an ability to identify and avoid weaknesses that threaten replication and generalization.
  • A commitment to following the best methodological practices in science, such as preregistration of studies, sharing of computer code and writing reproducible research reports, open sharing of data whenever feasible, etc.
  • Expertise in at least one programming language for data analytics, such as R or Python.
  • High proficiency in English.


Proficiency also in one (or more) of the following skills will be advantageous to the successful applicant:

  • Extensive experience in designing and conducting psychological experiments in the lab, online via crowdsourcing platforms such as Amazon Mechanical Turk and / or recruitment of panels (e.g. via YouGov or Qualtrics).
  • Familiarity with recent advances in AI such as computer vision or Deep Reinforcement Learning.
  • Advanced programming skills in R or Python, and proficiency with libraries for data manipulation and analysis, machine learning, etc.
  • Experience designing or building interactive experimental tools (e.g. Webbased games).
  • Ability to work independently, as well as coordinating feedback from teams of senior collaborators.

The Max Planck Society strives for gender and diversity equality. We welcome applications from all backgrounds. The Max Planck Society is committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in its workforce and therefore encourages applications from such qualified individuals.

To apply, please send (as ONE FILE and via email, with the sentence “Postdoc application in Computational Social Science” in the subject line) a statement of research interests, a CV, a copy of relevant certificates, (p)reprints of three publications lead by the applicant, and a list of four references to Prof. Dr. Iyad Rahwan, MPI for Human Development, Lentzeallee 94, 14195 Berlin (sekrahwan@mpib-berlin.mpg.de). We are kindly asking you to submit your application without a photo. Applications will be evaluated on a first-come-first-serve basis, and will continue to be received until October 1st or the positions are filled.

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