University of Helsinki Postdoctoral Fellowship in Digital Humanities 2017, Finland

Publish Date: Jun 08, 2017

Deadline: Jul 09, 2017


Founded in 1640, the University of Helsinki is one of the best multidisciplinary research universities in the world. The high-quality research carried out by the university creates new knowledge for educating diverse specialists in various fields, and for utilisation in social decision-making and the business sector.

The Faculty of Arts is a significant international community fostering research, education and cultural interaction. The Faculty has 7,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students and employs 500 experts.

Heldig is a newly-founded Digital Humanities Centre at the University of Helsinki. The objective of Heldig is to foster the combining of computational methods in humanities and social science and study different phenomena related to digitalization. Heldig also provides teaching in digital humanities. One of the research strands in Heldig is the historical and linguistic study of public discourse, conceptual change and knowledge production.

The Faculty of Arts invites applications for


for a fixed term period from 1 September 2017 onwards (or as agreed) for a maximum of three years. The period (1-3 years) depends of the candidate’s research plan.

We are looking for candidates with expertise on computational science, linguistics and history/cultural heritage. The three successful candidates will be members of a research community that already includes, for example, Academy of Finland’s project on “Computational History and the Transformation of Public Discourse”, 2015-2019. The data that the research community is using includes various historical full-text collections and large metadata collections, mainly in English, Finnish and Swedish. The group is particularly interested in studying conceptual change, intertextuality based on text-reuse and statistical analysis of knowledge production.


We appreciate a proven track record in multidisciplinary collaboration and an aptitude for applied research and methods development in computational science. Applicant needs to have a doctorate in statistics, applied mathematics or computer science (or in a related applied field, for example, machine learning, bioinformatics, information technology, language technology). Experience in statistical programming (for example R/Python/Julia/Stan) and open science methods (for example publishing of scientific software) can be considered an advantage. The successful candidate will actively collaborate with the research group and participate in joint publications.


The successful candidate will have proven expertise in multidisciplinary collaboration and research in language use in large text corpora. The candidate will contribute to the project’s interests by providing linguistic perspective in research in public discourse, conceptual changes and knowledge production from the Early Modern era to World War II. Possible backgrounds include (but are not restricted to) pragmatics, semantics, text and discourse analysis, variation studies and translation studies. Understanding and possible expertise of different possibilities of the use of computational methods in historical research should be shown in the research plan. The successful candidate will actively collaborate with the research group and participate in joint publications.


The successful candidate will have proven ability to function as part of a multidisciplinary research group with particular focus on public discourse and knowledge production in early modern and/or modern Europe. The candidate must also show knowledgeability in the use of computational methods in historical research. The candidate needs to have a doctoral degree from history, cultural heritage or related field and proven expertise of independent research. The successful candidate will actively collaborate with the research group and participate in joint publications.

ALL APPLICANTS are expected to express in the application documents which of the three positions they are applying for. One can apply also to more than one position, if relevant. Also, different educational background from what has been described above is possible - what is of importance is the candidate’s ability to conduct multidisciplinary research and aptitude to function in a research group aiming for text and data mining and statistical analysis.

The successful candidates will become part of a multidisciplinary research group with the main aim in applying a big data approach to large historical metadata and full-text collections. The idea is particularly to study the development of public discourse and knowledge production in history. The research community in Helsinki offers opportunities for broad, multidisciplinary and international collaboration. It is an advantage if the candidate’s own research plan supports these common goals. More specific objectives for the position and forms of collaboration will be discussed during the possible interview of the candidate. Duties of postdoctoral research include normal participation in teaching at the Faculty (5-10%) and academic service.

An appointee to the position must hold a doctoral degree, the ability to conduct independent scientific research and possess the teaching skills required for the position. In addition, the candidates are expected to have excellent skills in English (For language requirements for Finnish citizens please see the advertisement in Finnish).

The salary shall be based on levels 5 of the job requirement scheme for teaching and research staff in the salary system of Finnish universities. In addition, a salary component based on personal performance will be paid. The annual salary range will be approx. 41,000 EUR – 50,000 EUR (gross income). In addition, occupational healthcare will be provided.

Please submit your application as a single pdf file which includes the following documents in Finnish, Swedish or English:
* Curriculum Vitae (maximum 2 pages)
* List of Publications
* Research Plan (maximum 5 pages, should include budget for research and travel expenses).
* Names of references

Please submit your application, together with the required attachments, through the University of Helsinki Recruitment System via the link Apply for job. Applicants who are employees of the University of Helsinki are requested to send their application via the SAP HR portal. The deadline for the application period is July 9, 2017 at 23.59 (local time GMT +3).

Further information of the positions can be obtained from Professor Mikko Tolonen, mikko.tolonen at

Technical assistance with the University’s electronic recruitment system or SAP HR portal can be obtained from Mikael Vänttinen, mikael.vanttinen at (July 7, 2017, at the latest)

For more information please click "Further Official Information" below.

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