Student Assistant in Platform Algorithms and Digital Propaganda (Computational Analysis)

The Weizenbaum Institute invites you to apply for the position of Student Assistant in Platform Algorithms and Digital Propaganda (Computational Analysis). The Weizenbaum Institute is looking for a student assistant for a 19 hours/week position, starting as soon as possible.

Would you like to research new forms of propaganda in the Digital Age? Are you interested in online content, social media, and search engines? Would you like to develop research skills that will help you in your career? Join us as a research assistant in the newly established research group “Platform Algorithms and Digital Propaganda” at Weizenbaum Institute under the supervision of Dr. Elizaveta Kuznetsova.

The Weizenbaum Institute conducts interdisciplinary and basic research on the transformation of society through digitalisation, developing possible approaches and strategies for policymakers, businesses, and civil society. The institute’s aim is to better understand the dynamics, mechanisms, and implications of digitalisation. To this end, the Weizenbaum Institute examines the ethical, legal, economic, and political aspects of the digital transformation. Its guiding values comprise self-determination and sustainability in the digital society. The Weizenbaum Institute is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Job content:

The research group “Platform Algorithms and Digital Propaganda” investigates the ‘information ecosystem’ on search engines and social media platforms to understand how algorithmic systems are designed and how the audience perceives them. We analyse the organisation of information filtering algorithms and their relationship with disruptive influence, such as Russian online propaganda. Moreover, we study how platforms reconcile market-driven algorithmic organisation with their role as de-facto gatekeepers of information and the social responsibility this entails.

The work of the research group is structured around the three elements of the information ecosystem: the online content, platforms’ algorithms, and online audiences. To analyse these elements, we employ a mixed-method research design that combines qualitative and quantitative content analysis, agent-based algorithmic auditing, and qualitative interviews.

We are looking for:

The research assistant is ideally a (research) master’s student who considers applying for a PhD and wants to get valuable research experience. The student assistant could potentially become a co-author on project publications depending on the type and extent of the contributions made.

Requirements:

  • Enrolment on an MA or equivalent course of study in Computer Science or related disciplines (e.g., Data Science, Computational Social Science, Media and Communication Science or other disciplines).
  • Relevant theoretical and/or applied understanding of media and politics, social media, and propaganda;
  • Affinity and/or desire to learn digital research methods, for example, algorithmic auditing, social media analysis, network analysis, natural language processing, etc.
  • Excellent oral and writing skills in English;
  • Computational skills or an interest in acquiring them would be an advantage;
  • Affinity for working in a group setting and collaborating effectively.

Your Tasks:

  • Participation in the regular meetings of the team;
  • Contribute to the work of various projects in the research group in the form of research tasks (computational analysis, coding in Python and/or R, quantitative analysis in Excel, language processing, data visualization);
  • Participate in and contribute to the organization of research activities and events at the Weizenbaum Institute, such as workshops and colloquia;

We offer:

  • The successful candidate will be offered an initial contract over three years (until September 2025); an extension is possible depending on a positive funding approval and evaluation of Weizenbaum Institute;
  • Remuneration based on TV Stud III (German civil service pay scale)
  • Health care schemes
  • Flexible working hours and the possibility of working remotely;
  • The opportunity to actively shape the work of one of Germany’s leading digitalization research institutions;
  • Inspiring academic and international working environment in the heart of Berlin (close to Bahnhof Zoo) with broad interdisciplinary networks in research, media, and politics;
  • An enthusiastic and warm team that is open to new colleagues.

Severely disabled applicants with equal qualification will be given preferential consideration. We value diversity and welcome all applications – regardless of gender, nationality, ethnic or social origin, religion, disability, age, and sexual orientation. The Weizenbaum-Institut e.V. explicitly encourages women as well as persons with a migration background to apply.

The application must include:

  • Cover letter, describing your research interests, skills, and your fit to the research group;
  • CV;
  • Complete record of your courses, including grades and an explanation of the grading system;
  • The names and contact information of at least two academic references (please do not include the letters themselves);
  • A link to/ a copy of a written work product. Examples: thesis, course project, blog post, or programming example, etc.

If you do not fit to all the criteria but nevertheless think that you could be a good fit to the group, we encourage you to apply.

For questions about the group, please reach out to the research group leader Dr. Elizaveta Kuznetsova (elizaveta.kuznetsova[at]weizenbaum-institut.de). Pre-application inquiries are explicitly encouraged.

Please submit your application by December 15th, 2022, via our applicant portal. If you have any technical questions about the application process, please feel free to contact Maite at our HR department (personal[at]weizenbaum-institut.de) at any time.

We look forward to receiving your documents.

Apply Now

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