Social Scientist (SNA) for the ERC-funded Dissident Networks Project

Brno, Czech Republic
23 Mar 2023
End of advertisement period
31 Mar 2023
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Department: Centre for the Digital Research of Religion – Faculty of Arts
Deadline: 31 Mar 2023
Start date: 1 May 2023
Job type: full-time
Job field: Science and research

Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University announces an open competition for Full-time research fellowship in an ERC project for a quantitative social science researcher with expertise in social network theory and methods

Department: Centre for the Digital Research of Religion, Department for the Study of Religions, Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University

Position: Researcher

Work time: 100%

Number of open positions: 1

Expected start: 1 May 2023 (negotiable)

Duration: 30 April 2024 (first contract), 31 August 2026 (very probable extension based on performance review)

Deadline for applications: 31 March, 2023 23:59 CET (UTC+1)

The Dissident Networks Project (DISSINET,, principal investigator Dr. David Zbíral) - an ERC Consolidator Grant-funded research initiative based at Masaryk University (Brno, Czech Republic) - offers a full-time research fellowship for a quantitative social scientist with expertise in social network theory and methods. The successful applicant will participate in frontier social network research using rich historical data to model the mechanisms behind medieval religious dissent and inquisition trials.

DISSINET studies the social, spatial, and discursive patterns of medieval dissidence and inquisition. Historians in the team transform medieval inquisition documents into structured data on human interactions. These data represent a unique source of information on pre-modern networks (e.g., kinship networks, communication networks, incrimination networks, etc.).

The successful candidate will develop their own research direction in consultation with the principal investigator, build systematic connections between DISSINET’s research agenda and social scientific research, and publish in journals focusing on social network analysis (e.g., Social Networks, Network Science, Applied Network Science, Social Network Analysis and Mining) and quantitative research in the social sciences (e.g., Social Science History, Journal of Social History, Social Forces, American Journal of Sociology).

The position is residential. Brno is a very pleasant university city ca. 2 hours by direct train connection from Vienna and Prague, and offers all the opportunities of a modern metropolis.


  • M.A., MSc. or Ph.D. degree in a social scientific field.
  • Strong background and competence in social network analysis and quantitative social science (incl. a firm grasp of statistical models for social networks and demonstrable experience in their use).
  • Experience of working in a team on deeply collaborative research.
  • Interdisciplinary creativity.
  • Interest in historical social networks.
  • Experience in data transformation and visualization (e.g. in R or Python).
  • Competence in academic writing.
  • English language (C1 or higher).

Other qualifications of interest to the project:

  • Ph.D. degree or Ph.D. studies approaching completion.
  • Knowledge of version control (e.g., GitHub, GitLab).

We do not expect candidates to possess all of these “other qualifications of interest”, and recognise there may be other qualifications beyond this list that could enhance DISSINET’s research profile.

We offer:

  • Freedom to pursue your intellectual interests and to work creatively across disciplines in an exciting and prestigious frontier-research project.
  • Growth in interdisciplinary research.
  • Competitive salary commensurate with an ERC-funded project.
  • Individual research budget for participating in conferences and workshops, choosing books and software to be purchased, etc. (ca. 4,000 € each year).
  • Participation in writing high-profile publications in SNA, computational social science, history, GIS, and the digital humanities.
  • Friendly and informal working environment.


  • Leading a crucial research strand within DISSINET.
  • Analyzing and visualizing network data.
  • Co-authoring articles (incl. as lead author).
  • Participating in the team’s discussions, meetings, tutorials, and other activities.
  • Contributing to the project’s visibility (papers at conferences, publications, online outcomes, social media, etc.).
  • Reading and summarizing literature, contributing to the project’s annotated bibliography.
  • Organizational and administrative responsibilities related to the project.

Attachments to the application:

  • Letter of motivation (in English). Within your description of what you will bring to the project, please provide a short description of how you would approach relational data in the DISSINET project based on your reading of this call and the DISSINET website.
  • Two letters of recommendation, of which one should be, if applicable and possible, from an applicant’s direct supervisor in a previous research position. The referees are expected to send their letters of recommendation directly to the PI.
  • Structured CV (in English) with an overview of competences, language skills (preferably using the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), research experience, and a list of publications (incl. submitted).
  • Up to two examples of academic texts (co-)authored by the applicant (if co-authored, with a description of the candidate’s contribution).
  • Scanned proofs of the university degrees.
  • Optionally (for Ph.D. candidates approaching the completion of studies) proof of thesis submission or progress in studies.

The first round of the selection procedure will be based on the submitted attachments. In the next phase, the short-listed applicants will provide their take on the SNA aspects of the DISSINET research agenda (in writing, 1,000 to 2,000 words; the shortlisted candidates will receive further details) and, based on data we will hand over to them, illustrate their approach. Finally, the applicants shortlisted for the last round will participate in an interview with the selection committee, presided over by the PI, via videoconference.

The candidate’s degree does not need to be recent for this position. Career breaks do not pose any problem: we are very open to those seeking to return to academia. Applications from female candidates are particularly encouraged.

How to apply...?

Application with all required documents should be sent by e-application available below. Electronic application deadline is: March 31, 2023.