Predoctoral Fellow (Dept. III and Heidelberg University, “Everyday Knowledge and its Sources in the Sinosphere")

July 15, 2022
Department/Research Group


The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin,
Department III: Artifacts, Action, Knowledge, directed by Prof. Dr. Dagmar Schäfer,

and Heidelberg University,
Centre for Asian and Transcultural Studies,

are jointly seeking

1 Predoctoral Fellow for three years,
with a 65% employment contract,
TVöD pay scales (E13), to begin at the next possible date,

for the working group “Everyday Knowledge and its Sources in the Sinosphere, 14th to 20th centuries.”
This project contains a central digital component that detects and traces textual and visual copying of sources.


The successful candidate will be an active member of the working group, and will support collaborative research (50%) and conduct their own research project (50%) – which will be the PhD dissertation project – within the framework of the working group. 

The successful candidate should have outstanding academic credentials (master's degree or equivalent) in history of science, history of knowledge, or Chinese history. Excellent English and Chinese language skills, as well as interdisciplinary communication skills are required. Prior knowledge in digital humanities and computational algorithms is preferred. Capability to program (coding) is a plus but not required.

Applicants are requested to submit a research proposal related to the working group that later can be develop into a PhD dissertation project to help identify a class of research questions suitable to be solved with computational methods. In the submitted proposal, the linkage between the research project and digital humanities should be addressed.

The successful candidate will be employed through the MPIWG in Berlin, Germany, and will be enrolled at Heidelberg University’s PhD program in “Chinese/Transcultural Studies.”

The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG) is an international and interdisciplinary research institute. The working language is English. Predoctoral fellows are expected to participate in the research activities of the Institute, and Departmental activities and to present their own work.

The Centre for Asian and Transcultural Studies (CATS) is an Asia centre of a different kind. It is committed to study Asia in a global context and through interdisciplinary dialogue. In CATS, four institutes from Heidelberg University (Centre for East Asian Studies, South Asia Institute, Institute of Anthropology, Heidelberg Center for Transcultural Studies) whose regional focus is Asia are joined together. Scholars at CATs are specializing in a variety of disciplines such as Anthropology, Geography, (Intellectual) History, Cultural Studies, Art History, Literary Studies, Musicology, Religious Studies, Politics, Sociology and others.

The Max Planck Society is an equal opportunity employer that strives to foster an inclusive workplace for all. As an institute, MPIWG encourages applications from individuals regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality, and/or disabilities, particularly where underrepresented in our workforce. Visit these webpages to learn more about MPIWG’s policies toward gender equality and hiring practices for persons with disabilities.

Applicants are asked to submit the following materials:

  • Cover letter with a personal statement of your motivation of applying (max. 600 words);
  • Research proposal (max. 1500 words, excluding bibliography), including a working title, the research question and objectives, state of the art, methodology, and bibliography;
  • Curriculum vitae;
  • Writing sample (4000-8000 words);
  • Names and contact details of two referees; our Selection Committee will contact referees for shortlisted applicants.


Please submit these materials as separate PDF documents, exclusively through the following application portal:

Only complete applications submitted via the application portal will be accepted. Applications sent via email will not be accepted. The portal will close on July 15, 2022, 23:45 Central European Time.

Please note that letters are only requested for short-listed candidates. Short-listed candidates will be interviewed by August 31, 2022. Only the successful candidate will be notified.


For questions concerning the working group, please contact Shih-Pei Chen (

For questions concerning the Center for Asian and Transcultural Studies and Heidelberg University and the PhD program, please contact Prof. Dr. Barbara Mittler (

For administrative questions concerning the position and MPIWG, please contact Dr. Rand El Zein (

For technical questions regarding the application portal, please contact the Department secretary (