Postdoc­toral Re­search­er, Helsinki In­sti­tute for So­cial Sciences and Hu­man­it­ies

Helsinki, Finland
17 Jan 2022
End of advertisement period
16 Feb 2022
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

The Helsinki Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities invites applications for 


to join the Datafication of Society and SSH research initiative.

We are looking for applicants for a full-time, fixed-term period of 2.5 years (starting March 2022, or as agreed).

The Datafication Initiative brings together researchers from social sciences, humanities, law, education and computer sciences to advance frameworks and understanding of datafication both as 1) a process that shapes social infrastructures and as 2) an evolving context for social sciences and humanities that opens new methodological opportunities, epistemological questions and demands for critical reflection. (Please see

In this broad field of multidisciplinary research, we are looking for candidates to contribute to the scientific understanding of

  1. Competing and contested epistemic communities in datafied societies 
    1. Datafication has changed the environment in which knowledge claims and belief systems play out. It has also enhanced capacity to capture and analyse social and political interaction in this environment with increasingly effective computational tools. In the rapidly evolving hybrid online spaces, discursive struggles over dominant articulations of reality, identity, authority and affects circulate in new ways and in multiple modalities. For example, anti-vaxxers question established knowledge hierarchies, while building their own. In doing this, they utilize a variety of new ways, from discussion groups for the like-minded to sharing meme images, the most popular of which come to represent the only-tacitly shared and constantly fluctuating core beliefs of the group.
    2. Addressing such questions demands an intensified multidisciplinary effort that is not restricted to specific theoretical approaches. Potential candidates can have a background in any relevant discipline or field of study, ranging (but not limited to) from humanist and social scientific inquiry to computer science, of from poststructuralist discourse theory to anthropology, science studies or study of religion. Successful candidates may have strengths in variety of methodological skills, such as computational text or visual analysis, (digital media) ethnographic approach, network analysis or interpretative data science.
  2. Sound data-centric research practices in the humanities and social sciences
    1. We are also interested in candidates who have experience in innovative methodological approaches that can contribute to developing sound data-centric research practices in the humanities and social sciences. These candidates are expected to have a background either in developing and applying computational analyses to societal/historic data (computational social science/digital humanities), or a suitable subfield of computer/data science or statistics, such as applied probabilistic modelling, explainable machine learning, or workflow/tool design and development. In the programme, their task will be to develop novel computational and statistical workflows that are able to make sense of the complex data and questions of interest in the above-sketched study of epistemic communities in datafied societies, while ensuring that that research rests on a solid methodological basis.

We are searching for ambitious young scholars (PhD less than 5 years ago) to join a community of scholars led by three research programme leaders, whose research groups will work jointly on this initiative and who also coordinate the efforts of the wider UH research community around these themes. The core groups are led by:

Associate professor and computer scientist Eetu Mäkelä (Faculty of Arts and Humanities) leads the Human Sciences – Computing Interaction group, which focuses on the technological, processual and theoretical underpinnings of successful computational research in the humanities and social sciences. (

University lecturer in political science Emilia Palonen (Faculty of Social Sciences) runs the Helsinki Hub on Emotions, Populism and Polarisation (HEPPsinki) research group, which studies antagonistic (counter) hegemonic mobilisations from a comparative, post-foundational and discourse- theoretical perspective. (

Associate professor Katja Valaskivi (Faculty of Theology) heads the new interdisciplinary Helsinki Research Hub on Religion, Media and Social Change (Heremes) which studies belief systems, world views and ideologies in the context of the digital media environment and datafied society. (

All three appointments will be affiliated both with the Helsinki Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities (HSSH) and a specific Faculty at University of Helsinki (to be negotiated later).


We expect applicants to possess an open mind toward the development of interdisciplinary research methods and the willingness to be involved in collective work of the programme. We expect the applicants to have a completed doctoral degree in a relevant discipline. The position demands excellent negotiation and problem-solving skills as well as an ability and willingness to work in a research group.

We value prior knowledge and experience of multidisciplinary research and knowledge of the ethical and legal guidelines related to data-intensive, digital research designs. Diverse linguistic skills can be considered as an added benefit for the job.


We offer an exceptionally interesting opportunity to join a community of scholars working in a rapidly developing and international field. Affiliation to HSSH offers an excellent chance to engage with scholars at University of Helsinki and with the wider emerging networks of the institute.

The annual gross salary range will be approx. €41,700 – €48,600, depending on the appointee’s qualifications and experience. There is  a 6-month probationary period. 

The postdoctoral researchers will be supported by both HSSH colleagues and campus administrative and technical staff. HSSH also hosts a newly founded Methodological Unit that brings together expertise in methodology and digital resources relevant to the collection, analysis and management of SSH research data. 

In addition, the University of Helsinki offers its employees a wide range of benefits and opportunities, such as sports and wellness services and opportunities for professional development. Read more at


Deadline for applications is February 16, 2022.

Please submit your application, together with the required attachments, through the University of Helsinki Recruitment System via the link Apply for the position. Applicants who are currently employed by the University of Helsinki are requested to submit their application via the SAP Fiori portal at

The application must be accompanied by the following documents in a single PDF file: 

  • Curriculum vitae 
  • Complete list of publications 
  • A brief outline (max 1500 words) of how the applicant would integrate with and contribute to the focus areas outlined in this call

All attachments must be in English. NOTE: All attachments must be downloaded to the system as a single PDF file.


Inquiries concerning HSSH Institute and the Datafication programme as a whole: 
Director Risto Kunelius,, +358401904085 

Inquiries about suggested research interests and topic:
Associate professor Eetu Mäkelä (
University lecturer Emilia Palonen (
Associate professor Katja Valaskivi (

Questions related to the application process:
Head of HR Hannamari Helander (

Due date

16.02.2022 23:59 EET