Postdoctoral Researcher in Rethinking News Recommender Algorithms
University of Amsterdam Amsterdam Law School

Postdoctoral researcher in Rethinking News Recommender Algorithms

Publication date 13 May 2020

Closing date 5 June 2020

Level of education PhD

Hours 30,4 hours per week

Salary indication €2,709 to €4,274 gross per month, based on 38 hous per week

Vacancy number 20-284

The growing role of AI and news recommendation algorithms raises entirely new questions about news diversity, and how news diversity can be safeguarded in a digital news landscape. Filter bubbles, echo-chambers and fragmented publics are the result of insufficient consideration of diversity in recommender design. The objective of this project is to address the question of how news recommender algorithms can be designed to optimise (exposure) diversity in news recommendations. The project will bridge the gap between differing understandings of news diversity in computer science, communication science, and media law.

For this NWO funded project, we are looking for a postdoctoral researcher. Together with an interdisciplinary team of researchers (law, computer science, computational communication science and linguistics), and in close cooperation with media companies and regulators, the postdoc will help us to develop a theoretical conceptualisation of media diversity and the conditions for ethically nudging users to consume diverse media content in a way that it can inform algorithmic recommender design. 

Job description

This particular postdoc position will be hosted at the University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Law School, under the direct supervision of prof. Natali Helberger, and in cooperation with dr Judith Moeller (ASCoR), dr Wouter van Atteveld (VU), dr Antske Fokkens (VU) and dr Nava Tintarev (University of Delft). Based on recent normative, legal literature on choice architecture, diversity by design and theories of the role of the media, and of informed citizens, in a democracy, this particular work package will yield which dimensions of diversity are most important.

Together with this team of principal investigators (PI’s), the tasks of the postdoc will be to:

  • help identify the most promising applications of AI in the local journalistic process, in cooperation with a local journalism organization;
  • map the use of AI in journalism, with a focus on local journalism;
  • help prepare a funding application;
  • help prepare a journal publication in a high ranking academic journal.


The ideal candidate has

  • a PhD and publication record in media law, political philosophy, ethics of persuasive technologies, media studies or a comparable degree;
  • experience with, or strong affinity with research into personalised communication, choice architecture, normative aspects of recommender design, persuasive technology, nudging, media diversity as a normative concept;
  • documented experience in an interdisciplinary research environment;
  • strong communication skills.

Knowledge of the Dutch language is a plus.

Our offer

 We offer an employment contract of 3 years. The gross full-time monthly salary will be in accordance with the salary scales for researchers at Dutch universities, scale 10 (Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities) ranging from €2,709 to €4,274 gross per month (full-time equivalent). Secondary benefits at Dutch universities are attractive and include 8% holiday pay and an 8.3% end-of-year bonus.

About the Amsterdam Law School and IViR

The Amsterdam Law School prides itself on its international orientation and strong social commitment. This is reflected by both its research and educational activities. The Amsterdam Law School offers three Bachelor’s programmes, including the interdisciplinary English-language Bachelor Politics, Psychology, Law and Economics (PPLE) in cooperation with two other Faculties, as well as a variety of Master's programmes, several of which are taught exclusively in English (i.e. International and European Law, European Private Law, International Criminal Law, and Law & Finance). The Amsterdam Law School prepares students for a wide variety of legal careers including law firms, government, business and industry, the national and international judiciary, public service, human rights advocacy, and academia. With 4000 students and over 450 staff members, it is one of the largest law faculties in the Netherlands.

The position will be embedded within the Institute for Information Law (IViR) at the University of Amsterdam. The Institute for Information Law, created in 1987 as a centre of excellence for research, is the largest research facility in the field of information law in Europe, and one of the largest in the world. The Institute employs over 30 researchers who are active in a broad spectrum of information society related legal areas: intellectual property law, telecommunications and broadcasting regulation, media law, freedom of information, privacy, Internet governance, etc. The institute’s mission is to further the development of information law into a balanced framework that accommodates the needs and interests of the information society. Information law is a normative concept that integrates the law relating to the production, marketing, distribution and use of information. IViR has a strong presence in European and international academic networks through a broad array of activities, regularly engages in national and international research collaborations, and collaborates with non-legal disciplines such as economics, communications science, computer science, philosophy, digital humanities and the arts.

The institute, moreover, maintains close ties with two interdisciplinary research cooperations, Information & Communication in the DataSociety (ICDS) and Human(e) AI within the UvA, establishing cooperations with the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR), the Faculty of Humanities, Computer Science and Medicine.

Further information

For more information please contact:

  • Prof. Natali Helberger

Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

 The candidates are asked to submit:

  • a cover letter, explaining your motivation to apply for this position;
  • a CV, including a list of publications;
  • a writing sample of a recently written manuscript in English of no more than 50 pages (this may also include a chapter of the PdH thesis).

Please send in your application using the link below.

Closing date is 5 June 2020. #LI-DNP

No agencies please

Apply now

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