Postdoctoral Fellow in Data Science (f/m/d)


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Job Offer from August 11, 2021

The ‘Lise Meitner’ Pan African Evolution Research Group (Pan-Ev) at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History is pleased to announce a vacancy for a postdoctoral research assistant in modelling and data science. The position will be for up to three years and based in Jena, Germany. The candidate will be given an initial 2 year contract with the possibility of extension.

The overarching research topic in Pan-Ev is to understand pan-African processes of early human cultural evolution, demography and dispersal through fieldwork, lab work and computational modelling. The candidate’s role will be twofold. Broadly, the candidate is expected to assist team members with general statistical and modelling issues. Secondly, and more specifically, the candidate will be expected to lead their own research programme conducting model-based testing of relevant hypotheses and associated analyses.

The ideal applicant will have a computational background, e.g. in computer science, statistics or physics, or a strong track record of having applied methods from these areas to anthropological and archaeological questions (e.g. Agent Based Modelling). In depth knowledge of statistical data analysis and modelling and interest to creatively apply these skills are essential. Interest (but not necessarily experience) in human evolution and its relationship with culture and environment is a prerequisite. Prior experience with archaeological, climatic and cultural data and their multivariate analysis, e.g. in an Approximate Bayesian Computation framework, are a plus.

Prerequisites also include evidence of strong oral and written communication skills as evidence by an outstanding publication and presentation record, commensurate with career stage. The ability to complete tasks in a timely and structured fashion, and work independently, is also required for the position. To apply, please include a research proposal of not more than two pages outlining a research project within the broad areas of interest:


  • Population structure and its effects
  • Cultural efflorescence and loss
  • Disease, culture and early human behaviour
  • The Deep Anthropocene
  • Early human dispersals

Shortlisted candidates may be asked to complete a task prior to interview.

The position offers a unique opportunity to the successful candidate to develop cutting edge research concerned with key evolutionary processes in human prehistory just as Pan-Ev is recovering new data. Please send any queries to

Information regarding the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History can be found at

We offer an interesting and responsible job in a competitive, dynamic and stimulating international research environment. Remuneration will follow the Civil Service pay scale (TVöD Bund) up to pay grade E 13, according to qualification and experience. In addition, social benefits are paid according to the regulations of the Civil Service.

The Max Planck Society is committed to employing more individuals with disabilities and especially encourages them to apply. The Max Planck Society also seeks to increase the number of women in areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply. We are committed to encouraging diversity and actively challenging biases based on gender, nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion and other components of identity.

The Max Planck Society is supporting the compatibility of family and career and is certified according to the "berufundfamilie" audit.

Please submit your application through the portal.

Candidates are requested to submit the application as a single pdf file (max. 5 MB). Upon uploading the file, candidates will be asked to submit names and contact details of three referees.

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