PhD Scholarship in Social Data Science

University of Copenhagen Center for Social Data Science


PhD Scholarship (3 years, full time) in Social Data Science

The Computational Social Science group at the Center for Social Data Science (SODAS) at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH), in collaboration with the Danish Pioneer centre for Artificial Intelligence (P1) and the NERDS team (NEtwoRks, Data, and Society) at the IT University of Copenhagen (ITU), welcomes applications from aspiring PhD students in the area of Social Data Science, broadly defined.


This PhD position is part of the “Bias Explained: Pushing Algorithmic Fairness”, funded by the Villum Foundation. Every day our life is made easier by efficient algorithms that search and rank scientific information. Yet, these algorithms have an issue: they are trained on citation data that is ingrained with human biases. Therefore, the output is inherently biased too, creating inequalities and raising concerns of discrimination. This project aims to push new frontiers in (algorithmic) fairness. We will (1) run experiments to measure bias, (2) develop new models to understand inequality, (3) improve the fairness of algorithms through de-biased impact measures.

PI. Roberta Sinatra, Professor in Computational Social Science at UCPH and ITU.

What do we offer?

The PhD student will be enrolled in the PhD programme in Social Data Science and the PhD scholarship will be hosted at the Copenhagen Center for Social Data Science (SODAS,, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. SODAS offer a lively research environment and host several researchers who have expertise in various social science areas and computational/data science methods. The PhD student will also have affiliations with the NERDS group and P1. The SODAS and NERDS teams conduct interdisciplinary quantitative research at the intersection of Data Science, Machine Learning, Computational Social Science, and Network Science. We have collaborations with scholars from other major universities in Denmark (DTU, Aarhus, Aalborg), and internationally with universities and research centers in Europe and in the US. Recently, the NERDS group won the awards for best research environment in Denmark. At P1, the student will be part of a cohort of PhD students starting during the fall of 2023 across the partner universities, and will have extraordinary access computing resources, to international researchers across many disciplines within computer sciences and other academic areas, as well as courses and events at the centre. UCPH, ITU, and P1 offer a rewarding and stimulating international environment.

We offer a fully funded PhD position for 3 years. The PhD candidate will be based in Copenhagen. Both salary and working conditions are excellent. In Denmark, parental leave is generous, and child-care is exceptional.

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for a PhD candidate in the area of Social Data Science, broadly defined. The PhD candidate will work on research projects at the intersection of social science and data science. Applicants can have a background either in a quantitative social science discipline (e.g., economics, sociology, political science, behavioural science, education, psychology) or in (social) data science, computer science, complex systems, or related discipline. Our priority is to attract technically strong candidates who are interested in asking bold, new questions with data. Candidates must have completed projects that demonstrate a proven ability to work with data. Preferred skills include programming ability (preferably in python), knowledge of machine learning, statistics, and/or theory and content of at least one social science discipline.

PhD Student Qualifications (36 months positions)

  • Ph.D. in computational social science, complex systems, physics, computer science, network science, economics, applied mathematics, or other related fields
  • Strong programming skills (focus on Python) and previous experience working with large-scale data
  • Motivation to do interdisciplinary research at the intersection of data science and computational social science
  • The ability to work in a highly collaborative and interdisciplinary environment

Applications should include:

  • A cover letter explaining your motivation, interest for the position, and how your profile fits (max 2 pages).
  • Curriculum vitae (including publications list, if applicable).
  • 2 published papers or a writing sample (e.g. an essay or a Master thesis) that best demonstrates your expertise and fit for the position.
  • Documentation of academic degrees and transcripts of grades.
  • A link to a professional webpage and Google Scholar page (if applicable).

The preferred starting date is 01.08.2023, but an earlier or later starting date might also be possible.

How to apply

Submit a complete application at our online portal. Click on the “Apply now” icon at the bottom of the page to apply. The documents must be in Adobe PDF or Word.

Duties and Responsibilities

Further information about the PhD study programme is available on the website of Copenhagen Graduate School of Social Sciences:

Under "Legal basis" on the website you will find information about the rules and guidelines for the PhD programme, and the Danish Ministerial Order on the PhD Programme at the Universities.


The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding society, and invites all qualified applicants, regardless of personal background, to apply for the positions.

·  In order to be awarded a PhD scholarship the applicant has to enroll as a PhD student at the Faculty of Social Sciences, cf. the rules of the Danish Ministerial order No 1039 of 27 August 2013.

·  Please note that normally there is strong competition for these scholarships, and only a few applicants will be shortlisted.

Shortlisted applicants are notified of the composition of the assessment committee, and each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that relates to the applicant themselves. You can read about the recruitment process

An Equal Opportunity Workplace

The University of Copenhagen is committed in its pursuit of academic excellence to equality of opportunity and to creating an inclusive working environment and therefore encourages all qualified candidates to apply, regardless of personal background, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, ethnicity etc. For more on the diverse working place environment at the University and the University’s participation in the HRS4R HR Excellence in Research, see

International applicant?

The University of Copenhagen offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including support before and during your relocation and career counselling to expat partners. Please find more information about these services as well as information on entering and working in Denmark here:

Contact information

For further information about the position, please contact Professor Roberta Sinatra, SODAS

For further information on the PhD programme, please contact the Head of the PhD program at SODAS: Professor Ingo Zettler,

Information about the recruitment process is available from HR, e-mail:, please refer to ID number: 211-1365/23-2H.

The closing date for applications is 23:59 CET 1st April 2023.

Applications received after the deadline will not be taken into account. 


Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.


Application deadline: 01-04-2023
Employment start: 01-08-2023
Department/Location: SODAS

In your application, please refer to


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