28. Juli 2020 /

Research group E-DELIB: three open positions (two PhDs, one Postdoc) in Computational Political Science

The newly established interdisciplinary research group E-DELIB (Powering up e-deliberation: towards AI-supported moderation) headed by Gabriella Lapesa and funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research is hiring!

The Institute for Natural Language Processing (IMS) at the University of Stuttgart has an opening for three positions (two PhD students and one Postdoc) to work in the context of the newly established interdisciplinary research group E-DELIB (Powering up e-deliberation: towards AI-supported moderation) headed by Gabriella Lapesa and funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research .

The Project

Turning citizens from voters into decision makers is the signature feature of direct democracy. In this context, the Internet makes it possible for direct democracy to reach out to a larger public, thus favoring emergent collaborative phenomena. E-deliberation is a digitally augmented version of direct democracy, which exploits technological innovations to enable the general public to participate in decisions that are usually made by members of parliaments, city administrations, etc. Participating in such decisions means making concrete proposals, discussing them, and converging on one or more options that can then be voted for or against. E-DELIB aims at developing Natural Language Processing solutions to support e-deliberation. The end product will be a prototype of a NLP moderator for e-deliberation which will help to keep user discussions coherent and goal-oriented. At the same time, its objective is to ensure that every voice is heard and everybody has the chance to contribute to decision making.

Candidate Profile

E-DELIB is looking for candidates with a Natural Language Processing background (at different levels of expertise, see below) with a strong drive for interdisciplinary work and who are team players with an independent spirit in research.

  • Position 1 (PhD student) on argument mining and mapping in multiple languages (background in Computational Linguistics, Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning/Deep Learning, or similar)
  • Position 2 (PhD student) on discussion quality estimation (background in Computational Social Sciences, (Computational) Political Science, Digital Humanities, Corpus Linguistics or similar interdisciplinary fields)
  • Position 3 (postdoctoral researcher) on visualization and integration (background in Computer Science, Machine Learning, Media Informatics, Natural Language Processing, or similar). We expect the person on this position to co-manage the project. A further qualification step towards a habilitation is possible.

All group members will be encouraged to shape E-DELIB's research agenda and develop their own ideas, taking advantage of E-DELIB's collaboration network and of the funding allocated for research stays, participation to summer schools, and organization of workshops with international speakers.


The positions will be available for four years, starting in October 2020 or soon thereafter (subject to the granting of subsidies). The salary is according to the German university pay scale (TV-L 13 100%, approx. 50k EUR per year before taxes for the PhD students. Consult this link for details, and/or get in touch should you need  further clarifications).

How/When to Apply?

Applications submitted by August 28, 2020 will receive full consideration.

To apply, please send (in a single PDF document):

  • a letter of motivation
  • a full CV (including a publication list, if applicable, and between one and three references)
  • a research statement (for the Postdoc position)

Applications and questions regarding the project and the call should be sent to Gabriella Lapesa, gabriella.lapesa@ims.uni-stuttgart.de, specifying explicitly the position of interest.

The (online) interviews will take place in the beginning of September. The positions will be open until filled: if you miss the deadline but are interested in the project, get in touch anyway! Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

About the University of Stuttgart and Stuttgart

The University of Stuttgart is a technically oriented university in Germany. It is especially known for engineering and related topics, with its computer science department being ranked highly nationally and internationally. The Institute of Natural Language Processing (Institut für Maschinelle Sprachverarbeitung, IMS), which is part of the Faculty of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, is one of the largest academic research institutes for natural language processing in Germany, with three full professors, an assistant professor, three senior lecturers and a staff of more than thirty researchers. Its activities range from computational corpus linguistics to semantic processing, deep learning, machine translation, psycholinguistics, and phonetics, and hosts several projects funded by the EC, the German science council (DFG), and various foundations. The institute manages dedicated BSc and MSc programs in Computational Linguistics and is actively involved in the Digital Humanities network, including the Digital Humanities MA program.

The city of Stuttgart [2] is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in the south-west of Germany and known for its strong economy, rich culture and its location across a variety of hills, many covered in vineyards. It is a lively place with an active bar and club scene. With Germany’s high-speed train system, it is well-connected to many other interesting places, for instance Munich and Cologne (~2.5 hours), Paris (~3.5 hours), Berlin (~5.5 hours), Strasbourg (1 hour) or Lake Constance (2 hours).

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