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Postdoc position in Digital Russian Studies, University of Helsinki

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    The Aleksanteri Institute of the University of Helsinki invites applications for an enthusiastic and creative

    POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCHER IN (DIGITAL) RUSSIAN STUDIES (18 MONTHS)

    for a fixed term of 18 months from 1 May 2019, or as soon as possible thereafter. The position is associated with the University of Helsinki Three-Year Project ‘Strategies of Persuasion: Russian Propaganda in the Algorithmic Age’ (2019-2021) led by Dr Mariëlle Wijermars.

    The project examines what strategies of persuasion are employed by Russian state-aligned media and other relevant actors to frame and disseminate strategic communications within traditional and digital media environments. It investigates how these strategies have evolved in response to the changing technological environment in the current algorithmic age. How does propaganda work in the age of social media, recommender systems and botnets? The project is based at the Aleksanteri Institute and associated with the Digital Russia Studies initiative. For more information, see https://blogs.helsinki.fi/digital-russia-studies/projects/strategies-of-persuasion/.

    QUALIFICATIONS

    The appointee will study social media platforms (e.g. VKontakte, Odnoklassniki, Facebook) and YouTube to examine how disinformation campaigns use structural affordances of online news dissemination, such as algorithmic ranking and recommender systems, to amplify their reach. Using computational methods, the research conducted by the appointee will help gain a better understanding of how disinformation spreads, how an item is made to go viral, and how users engage with this type of information.

    Candidates must hold a doctoral degree and be able to conduct independent scholarly work. Solid knowledge of social network analysis and quantitative research methods is a requisite; proven ability to employ advanced digital research methods, such as machine learning approaches, or the capacity and willingness to acquire skills in this domain, will be a great advantage. The candidate is expected to have excellent command of Russian; proficiency in other Central and/or East European languages would be an asset. The appointee is expected to contribute c. 3 peer-reviewed articles. Precise research tasks will be defined in collaboration with the project leader. The appointee will also contribute to the activities of the research project, such as coordinating collaboration with (inter)national network partners, teaching and organizing project workshops and seminars. Good social skills and a pro-active attitude are naturally assets. The working language is English. The appointee will be based in Helsinki for the entire duration of the appointment. If needed, the starting date, 1 May 2019, is negotiable.

    SALARY AND TRIAL PERIOD

    Monthly gross salary for the position varies between 3150 and 3550 euros, depending on the appointee’s qualifications and experience. The contract will include a six-month trial period.

    Health care services and standard Finnish pension benefits are provided for the University employees.

    HOW TO APPLY

    Please submit your application, together with the required documents, through the University of Helsinki Recruitment System via https://www.helsinki.fi/en/open-positions/postdoctoral-researcher-in-digital-russian-studies. Applicants who are employees of the University of Helsinki are requested to submit their application via the SAP HR portal.

    Applicants are requested to enclose with their applications the following documents as a single pdf file:

    1) a curriculum vitae (max. 2 pages) with a separate list of publications,
    2) a short description (max. 2 pages) of the applicant’s relevant methodological skills and how her or his research interests match the Strategies of Persuasion research project,
    3) a writing sample of the applicant’s research (e.g. published article, doctoral dissertation),
    4) the contact information of two referees,
    5) and optionally other relevant documents.

    The deadline for applications is February 15, 2019.

    FURTHER INFORMATION

    For further information please contact project leader Dr Mariëlle Wijermars, marielle.wijermars@helsinki.fi. The decision will be communicated in early March.

    DUE DATE

    15.02.2019 23:59 EET

    The University of Helsinki is the oldest and largest institution of academic education in Finland, an international scientific community of 40,000 students and researchers. In international university rankings, the University of Helsinki typically ranks among the top 100. The University of Helsinki seeks solutions for global challenges and creates new ways of thinking for the best of humanity.

    The Aleksanteri Institute functions as a national centre of research, study and expertise pertaining to Russia and Eastern Europe, particularly in the social sciences and humanities. We offer our researchers an international and inspiring research environment in the centre of Helsinki, with excellent research infrastructure (including Integrum database, diverse electronic resources of the University of Helsinki and the world-famous Slavonic library). The Centre of Excellence in Russian studies funded by the Academy of Finland, a visiting scholars programme and a wide network of scholars conducting research on Russia are also part of our dynamic research community. More information on the Aleksanteri Institute is available on the webpage https://www.helsinki.fi/en/aleksanteri-institute.

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