Postdoctoral Research Fellow (f/m/x)

Job description

The Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung gGmbH (WZB Berlin Social Science Centre), research area “Digitalization and Societal Change” seeks to hire

a Postdoctoral Research Fellow (f/m/x)

for an appointment starting as soon as possible for a duration of three years. The appointment is made at 100% of the regular working hours (currently 39 hours/week).

The research fellow will belong to the research group “Globalization, Work and Production” (head: Professor Martin Krzywdzinski), but will take over tasks for the whole research area “Digitalization and Societal Change”, including the research groups “Politics of Digitalization” (head: Professor Jeanette Hofmann) and “Digital Mobility” (heads: Professor Andreas Knie and Dr. Weert Canzler).

The research fellow is expected to develop a research project focusing on the development of digital platforms and their regulation. The emergence of platforms as a new type of actor and mode of organization is a central topic in current scientific and political discussions. In the transport sector, ride sharing platforms are changing the mobility behavior of people and the business models of companies - at the same time, these platforms are becoming new actors in the struggle for the regulation of public space. In the world of work, platforms are developing into an important new mode of organizing work across different types of activities and levels of qualification. New conflicts are arising over the regulation of platform work and the role and obligations of platforms in the labor markets. In the economic sphere, the development of the Industrial Internet of Things is opening up new fields for platform strategies and business models, and competition is breaking out between players from different industries. In the public sphere, platforms such as Facebook and Twitter play an increasingly important role in organizing public discourse and political decision-making. They are thus developing into a new form of public infrastructure that simultaneously gains enormous control over personal data and the business model of traditional media.

From a regulatory perspective, the development of platforms poses contradictory requirements. Innovation is to be promoted, but power asymmetries up to the formation of monopolies must also be avoided. With regard to the public sphere, for instance, policy faces the difficult task of creating a new media order that, on the one hand, limits the algorithmically generated power of platforms to shape public opinion, but, on the other hand, places private-sector data analysis at the service of public content regulation. It remains to be seen which regulatory proposals will prevail in the long term and what their effects will be. This is aggravated by the fact that platform strategies vary greatly from one area of society to the next and raise very different regulatory needs.

The advertised position is dedicated to research on platforms and their regulation.

The tasks include in particular:

  • Development of an own research project on the described topic of platforms and their regulation. The research project should specifically address open and innovative questions in platform research and at the same time show clear intersections and connections to platform related research in the three research groups of the research area,
  • Development and implementation of ideas and concepts for networking and profiling the platform-related research activities of the three research groups,
  • publication and presentation of research results.


  • an innovative and creative research agenda,
  • very good university degree, preferably in social sciences (sociology, political science, economics, or a related social science discipline),
  • a completed Ph.D. with a clear focus on digital platforms,
  • expertise in the field of digital platforms, proven through publications and research projects in this field,
  • a high degree of independence and good teamworking skills,
  • experience in interdisciplinary and international research projects.

Salary for the position:  EG 14 TVöD Bund

Applications from equally qualified people living with a disability will be given preference. We value diversity and welcome all applications – regardless of gender, nationality, ethnic or social origin, religion, disability, age, sexual orientation and identity. The WZB expressly encourages women and people with a migrant background to submit an application.

Candidates are requested the application (cover letter, CV, publications list, certificates) and a two-page proposal for the planned research project/research agenda by 11 December 2020. Please send your application by email (one pdf-file) to:

Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB)
barbara.schlueter [at]
with “post-doctoral fellow platforms” in the subject line.

Application deadline

Barbara Schlüter
barbara.schlueter [at]

Work and family


Since 2010 the audit berufundfamilie (Work-Family Audit) Certificate distinguishes the WZB as a family-friendly employer.