Stellenangebot: Posdoc (3 years, 100%) in politics, digital technologies and governance in developing countries, Hasso Plattner Institut (HPI), Potsdam, Deadline: 17.12.2023

The Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) is Germany’s university excellence center for digital engineering ( The joint digital engineering faculty of the University of Potsdam and the HPI offers a unique and particularly practical engineering degree in computer science. The HPI conducts internationally recognized university research. Originally focusing on the basics and applications of large, highly complex and networked IT systems, the HPI is expanding its teaching and research into the social sciences (as they intersect with digital technologies).

In the course of its strong growth, the Hasso Plattner Institute is looking to recruit


Three-year postdoc in politics, digital technologies and governance in developing countries (m/f/x) 


The position is fixed-term and full time for the period of three years, with possibility for extension subject to funding availability and a suitable plan for research continuation.


Do you hold or are about to complete a PhD at the intersection of politics and technology? Are you able to combine the social and the technical in a way that translates into meaningful and actionable insights? Do you want to contribute to the development of a new and rapidly growing social science research cluster within a digital engineering faculty? Does your research focus on issues digital technologies and governance in one or more developing countries? If so, we invite your application to join the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) at the University of Potsdam.


Your future tasks

  • Undertake a self-driven research project, within the remit of the research team, as first author, in collaboration with the project lead and other project members or external collaborators (as relevant). Projects should sit in the area of politics, digital technologies and governance, with a focus on one or more developing countries (according to the OECD DAC list). We are particularly interested in research proposals that sit within or are similar to the following research themes:
    • political communication as it intersects with digital technologies, for instance, misinformation and online opinion manipulation
    • digital and technological data collection and surveillance by states and/or corporations
    • information power, computational propaganda and information warfare
    • technology governance and policy, either from a state or a corporate perspective
    • the changing nature of citizenship in the Internet age, including online social movements and the drivers of political activity
  • Collaborate on research team projects, as relevant to the skills and expertise of the team, including, conducting literature reviews, collecting and analyzing data, writing papers, submitting to conferences or journals, presenting and disseminating project findings, and translating project findings into impact activities
  • Provide research support, as relevant, to other project activities, such as data management, preliminary data analysis, producing literature review summaries for grant proposals, or searching for appropriate cases/real world examples for project presentations
  • Develop or contribute to project funding applications
  • Lead or contribute to project dissemination and impact activities, such as organising or attending events, presenting project research, and contributing to media and social discourse on relevant topics
  • Other responsibilities commensurate with position and project needs


Essential skills 

  • A completed PhD or completed by the start of the position
  • A record of publication in international, peer-reviewed journals
  • Academic or professional background in a relevant social science field
  • A level of technical understanding that enables communication with colleagues and students with a computer science or digital engineering background
  • Excellent proficiency in both academic and professional English
  • Independent worker, motivated to pursue their proposed project and happy working in hybrid and remote teams
  • Confident processing and implementing constructive written and oral feedback
  • Ability to manage own working time and set internal milestones in order to adhere to wider project deadlines across multiple projects and tasks
  • Emotional and cultural sensitivity to interact with individuals with different backgrounds and life experiences
  • Ability and focus to synthesise large amounts of written, oral and numeric data into meaningful insights


Desirable skills 

  • Experience translating research findings into political, governance or policy impact
  • Experience developing teaching materials and communicating social science ideas to technical audiences (e.g. computer scientists, engineers, physicists etc.)
  • Skills in one or more computational methods, such as machine learning, network analysis, natural language processing or statistical modelling
  • Confidence collecting, processing and managing large digital datasets


What we offer

  • A first-class, active and inspiring research environment
  • Expert support and mentorship to lead on a research project that inspires you
  • Generous budget for research expenses, travel, conferences etc.
  • An international and dynamic working environment
  • Free drinks (coffee, tea, water)
  • Possibility of mobile working
  • Discounted lunch at Campus Kitchen One
  • A workplace at the HPI campus in Potsdam-Babelsberg (S-Bhf. Griebnitzsee) with excellent commuting possibilities to Berlin


Are you ready to join us? We are flexible with start dates but would prefer a candidate who could start in Spring 2024.
Candidates will be supported if they wish to develop their teaching and supervision experience at the HPI.
Mature students and candidates with non-traditional career trajectories are warmly welcomed. The HPI is an equal opportunity employer and, further, we seek to build a project that is flexible enough to allow people with different working needs, life paths, (dis)abilities and caring responsibilities to thrive.


Please send us the following documents for your application:

  • A CV and cover letter
  • Two writing samples
  • A 2,500-word research proposal (excluding references)
  • 1,000-word project timeline (remembering that the candidate will be expected to contribute as a co-collaborator in project research and participate in other project activities in addition to their self-defined research project)
  • Degree certificates/transcripts
  • And contact details of three references


We look forward to receiving your application documents including salary requirements by December 17, 2023. Please apply exclusively via our career page.


Antonia Bigun
+49 331 5509-428

Hasso-Plattner-Institut für Digital Engineering gGmbH
Prof.-Dr.-Helmert-Str. 2-3

14482 Potsdam


The offer can be found here.