Research Fellow (Dept. I; Project "The Sphere")

February 12, 2021
Department/Research Group

The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, Research Group “The Sphere: Knowledge System Evolution and the Shared Scientific Identity in Europe” (Dept. I), is offering a position for a Research Fellow beginning as soon as possible and running until December 2022. The position is established within the research network of the Berlin Institute for the Foundations of Learning and Data (BIFOLD).

About BIFOLD and Project "The Sphere"

Funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF), BIFOLD aims to conduct research into the scientific foundations of Big Data and Machine Learning, to advance artificial intelligence (AI) application development, and greatly increases the impact upon society, the economy, and science.

The MPIWG project “The Sphere” integrates the BIFOLD Project “Bilder und Konfigurationen in corpora von Universitätstextbüchern” (“Images and Configurations in Corpora of University Textbooks”). In this framework, cosmology textbooks used at European universities between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries are analyzed in order to reconstruct how shared science was transformed during this time. Various analytical approaches towards the structure and layout of texts, images, and diagrams will enable their further analysis. For more detailed information, please see also

The research tasks for the candidate will be centered around data extraction, curation, and visualization.


Candidates should hold a Master-level degree, preferably in information science or a related discipline, or from historical disciplines provided they are familiar with programming languages, data structures, and visualization techniques applied to the humanities. In particular, the following skills are required: Knowledge of Python, practical working knowledge of semantic technologies (RDF, RDFS, SPARQL), proficient knowledge of domain specific ontologies (CIDOC-CRM, others), basic or higher knowledge in the frame of Machine Learning.

Further Details

The position is devoted to research and aims to generate results within the project timeline until December 2022, with no teaching and with very minor administrative duties for the Research Group. The position is full time with remuneration based on the TVöD-Bund pay scales (E13, 100%).

The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science is an international and interdisciplinary research institute. The working language is English; it is expected that candidates will be able to present their own work and discuss that of others fluently in that language.

The Max Planck Society wishes to increase the proportion of women in those areas in which they are currently underrepresented. We therefore specifically encourage women to apply. The Max Planck Society is committed to employing more disabled individuals, and applications from disabled people are especially welcome. 


Applications should include a curriculum vitae, a description of the specific research interest in the topics related to the project (750 words maximum), and the contact details of one referee who is willing to provide a reference if the candidate will be shortlisted. 

Candidates are requested to submit, via our online application portal:

Only electronic submissions via this portal will be accepted. 

Deadline for submissions is February 12, 2021 (23:59 h PST).  

Shortlisted candidates will be informed by February 16, 2021, and interviews will take place on February 22, 2021.


For questions regarding the position please contact Matteo Valleriani (

For questions about the Institute, administrative matters or the application portal, please email the office of Department I ( 


Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Boltzmannstraße 22, 14195 Berlin, Germany