Postdoctoral Researcher in Information Law, Media, Philosophy or Political Science, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

Postdoctoral Researcher
Study in:Netherlands
Deadline: 15 November 2017

Postdoctoral researcher in information law, media, philosophy or political science

University of Amsterdam – Institute for Information Law

Publication date
17 October 2017
Level of education
Salary indication
€3,475 to €4,757 gross per month
Closing date
15 November 2017
38 hours per week
Vacancy number

The FairNews project is part of the Dutch National Science Agenda and aims at delivering interdisciplinary answers to questions of algorithmic biases in the context of news consumption and how those biases affect fundamental rights (freedom of expression, etc.). The project’s use case is provided by De Volkskrant, one of the largest Dutch daily morning newspapers.

The postdoctoral researchers will work as part of a multidisciplinary team of 1 legal scientist, 1 communication scientist and 1 data scientist, led by Dr Joris van Hoboken (IViR/UvA), Prof. Claes de Vreese (ASCoR/UvA) and Dr Claudia Hauff (TU Delft).

The Institute for Information Law (IViR) is part of the Law Faculty of the University of Amsterdam, and for the past 25 years one of the leading centres in Europe and worldwide in research into Information Law. IViR is host to an international team of more than 35 researchers who conduct research for national and European funding organisations (NWO, DFG, ERC), European institutions (European Commission, European Parliament, Council of Europe), international organisations and national governments and regulatory authorities.

The postdoctoral researcher will be based at IvIR and will also operate within the larger structure of a research collaboration between the Institute for Information Law and the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR).

Project description

Equal opportunities of access to news is a necessary precondition for a functioning democracy. Data analytics, machine learning and personalised recommendations make it possible to filter news, based on individual user profiles and ‘social sorting’. We are only beginning to understand the implications for political knowledge and participation in the public debate, but also the realisation of fundamental freedoms, such as freedom to expression and non-discrimination.

The objective of this project is to develop solutions that lead to a) more transparency and effective ways of informing users about algorithmic profiling and targeting in the news media and b) guidance for offering personalised recommendations in the news media in a way that is fair, non-discriminatory and accessible. As a practical use case, the project will work together with one of the leading Dutch newspapers.

The project is part of the Dutch National Science Agenda, and here in particular the Big Data Route: VWData.


The postdoctoral researcher will be charged with:

  • conceptualising relevant normative concepts such as transparency, explainability, diversity, non-discrimination and equal chances to communicate in the context of data-driven news media recommendation systems;
  • situating those normative concepts in the existing regulatory framework and ongoing policy discussions, including discussions related to the GDPR, the EU Charter and the European Commission’s work on algorithmic awareness, and contribute to those discussions;
  • translating and operationalising those concepts for empirical investigations in close cooperation with communications scholars and data scientists as well as industry partners;
  • contributing to the public debate, and organising outreach activities of the project;
  • contributing to fundraising activities at the Institute for Information Law (IViR).


The postdoc has:

  • a clear research interest in the topic of the project (documented by publications and grant applications);
  • a relevant background in information law & policy, media studies, political science, ethics/philosophy and/or governance studies;
  • a relevant PhD degree. Candidates who are due to submit their dissertation before 1 December 2017 are welcome to apply;
  • demonstrable affinity with, and basic understanding of the use of algorithms in the media and/or the application of machine learning technologies in different fields;
  • the ability, willingness, and commitment to do autonomous work in a multidisciplinary team, including communication scholars and data scientists;
  • experience with writing grant applications and project proposals;
  • experience with organising workshops, lecture series, and similar events;
  • strong communication skills and experience with speaking to relevant national and international policy forums and media;
  • an excellent written and spoken command of English, as demonstrated by publications in English-language journals (written and spoken command of other languages, including French, German and/or Dutch is a plus).

Further information

Questions about the project content should be addressed to:

All general questions about the application procedure should be addressed to the:


The position ideally starts on 1 January 2018 (or soon thereafter) and lasts for 2 years. Depending on your knowledge and experience, your monthly gross salary will range between €3,475 and €4,757 according to the Collective Labour Agreement (cao) for Dutch Universities, based on a full-time appointment. The final conditions are pending budget approval.

We offer a pension scheme, a holiday allowance of 8% per year and flexible employment conditions.

Job application

The deadline for applications is 15 November 2017 at 24:00 PM CET. Please state vacancy number 17-511 and the letter C in the subject line of your application. Without stating the vacancy number, the application cannot be processed. To apply for this position, please send at least the following documents in English by e-mail to

  • motivation letter;
  • curriculum vitae, names and contact details of 3 references;
  • proof of your PhD degree. If you have not completed your degree at the time of application, please provide a statement from your supervisor confirming the submission date of your PhD before 1 December 2017;
  • two writing samples in English, at least one of which academic (e.g., journal article, PhD dissertation).

Please send all your documents in PDF format. Only complete applications will be considered. #LI-DNP

No agencies please

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