Open PhD / Postdoctoral position

Collective decision-making in social networks

Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour

University of Konstanz (Konstanz, Germany)

We are seeking a postdoc or PhD student to join an exciting new research project investigating how social network structure affects collective decision-making in human social groups. The successful applicant will join the new Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour at the University of Konstanz in Germany.

Background. Humans are an inherently social species. How we think, how we feel, what we believe, what decisions we make – in all of that, we are influenced by others, and we influence others in turn. As members of social groups, we must often come to consensus on group decisions, despite the fact that we may not always agree with one another. In many cases our individual and collective decisions can be strongly impacted by who we interact with, and when. How do the ways in which we are connected to one another - the communication networks in which we are embedded - affect the decisions we make, and ultimately the outcomes of group decisions? In this project, we will explore this topic using a combination of online social network experiments and computational approaches.


Position. We are looking for a 3-year PhD student or 2-year postdoc to study the dynamics of group decision making under varying social network structures. The successful applicant will work on this collaborative and interdisciplinary project with Dr. Helge Giese (social psychology) and Dr. Ariana Strandburg-Peshkin (biology). They will develop online network experiments and simulation models to address questions about how communication networks shape collective decisions, and will be supported in developing their own ideas and research directions within this framework.


Qualifications. The successful applicant will be expected to design and perform research semi-autonomously, publish papers in refereed journals, and work within an interdisciplinary research community. Applicants should have experience with and a strong interest in quantitative methodology (experimental design, statistics, modeling, and programming in R, Python, or similar). Good written and verbal communication skills are important. Applicants should hold either a Masters or equivalent degree (for the PhD position) or a PhD (for the postdoc position) in psychology, computer science, biology, mathematics, physics, or a related field. A collaborative spirit and the ability to work as part of an interdisciplinary team are also essential.

Community. The successful applicant will be integrated within the Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour (CASCB), a new interdisciplinary centre (Cluster of Excellence funded under Germany's Excellence Strategy) that brings together researchers from biology, computer science, psychology, economics, physics, mathematics, and other related fields to study the broad topic of collective behaviour. They will also be affiliated with either the psychology department or the biology department at the University of Konstanz, depending on interest.

Diversity. We are an international research community and strive to create a working environment that welcomes and supports researchers of all nationalities, ethnic backgrounds, genders, sexual orientations, and religions, and physical / learning abilities. We do not tolerate discrimination, harassment, or bigotry. We especially want to encourage members of minority groups that have faced systemic barriers and are underrepresented in science to apply.

Language. The working language of the group is English. German language skills are appreciated but not required. 


Location. Konstanz is a vibrant small city located on the border between Germany and Switzerland, on the shores of the Bodensee (Lake Constance). It is easy to get out into the beautiful German and Swiss countryside and the Alps, as well as to neighboring Zurich and Munich. 


Apply. For full consideration, please apply by August 1. However, the position is available until filled. Applications should be submitted via email to Dr. Helge Giese ( Anticipated start date will be in fall 2020 (start date somewhat flexible). 


Applications should submit as a single PDF file:


  1. Cover letter describing your motivation for applying to this position (1 page)

  2. Research statement (1 - 2 pages) addressing the following questions:

    • Describe your main research interests, how they developed, and how they relate to the proposed research project.

    • Describe 1-2 topics / ideas you would like to address in the context of the described project

    • Give an example of a time in your past education or research experience in which you faced a problem or a challenge, and describe how you addressed it.

  3. CV

  4. Unofficial academic transcripts (with grades if applicable)

  5. Names and contact information of two references

  6. We would also appreciate it if you could let us know where you heard about this position. This information will not be used in the assessment of your application, but will help us in our continuing efforts to reach a broad and diverse audience when advertising job opportunities.

Download a PDF of the job call.