PhD Position in Computational Social Sciences

100%, Zurich, temporary

The Chair of Systems Design at ETH Zurich invites applications for a PhD position in the field of Computational Social Sciences as part of a larger research project on political speeches and networks.

Project background

In our project we aim to detect when politicians change their opinions and why. We examine parliamentary speeches (using both supervised and unsupervised ML approaches) and the temporal dynamics of how members of parliament work together. Our project builds on a newly compiled data set of the Swiss parliament from 1891-today. It contains all speeches, political interactions and collaboration networks from members of parliament over the past 128 years.
We develop new methods to elicit political positions from different data sources allowing for more coarse-grained analyses on opinion shifts in politicians. For more information, see

Job description

Our project offers the opportunity to develop a new methodology in the field of NLP and/or network science. The successful candidate will work on the newly compiled data set from the Swiss parliament (among others) and develop their own research question involving NLP, network analytics, or agent-based modeling.
The position is available from February 2020 and is fully funded for 3+ years by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF). Deadline for applications is November 30, 2019.

Your profile

We are looking for a candidate with a MSc degree in computer science (or related field). As most of the data is in German, good German skills are important. Strong analytical skills and background in natural language processing are essential. Apart from excellent technical skills, the candidate should show an interest in social and political science questions, be able to communicate well in an interdisciplinary team, and be highly motivated and creative in what they do.

ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.
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We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents: CV, motivation letter and transcript of grades. Please apply exclusively via the online application portal. Applications sent by email or post will not be considered.

Further information about the Chair of Systems Design can be found on our website For specific inquiries, please contact Prof. Dr. Frank Schweitzer at (no applications).

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