Postdoctoral Fellow of Linguistic and Population Diffusion in Time and Space

University of Zurich


Institute, Department, Clinic

Department of Geography

Department Description

The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Unit at the University of Zurich (UZH) invites
applications for a post-doctoral fellow position focusing on the development of methods for modelling deep time spatial diffusion of languages and populations. The position is associated
with the interdisciplinary Swiss National Science Foundation project “Out of Asia: Linguistic
Diversity and Population History” (OoA), a collaboration of groups in geography, historical
linguistics, and population genetics. OoA aims to study the evolution of linguistic diversity over
large temporal and spatial scales, linking this to the phylogenetics of humans and domesticated
plants and animals. The position is housed in the UZH Department of Geography and its
internationally known GIScience Center. The appointment will be made for 3 years (starting 01 September 2019), with the possibility of an extension to a total of 4 years.


The position is particularly directed to early career academics who aim to build their profile in research and benefit from an interdisciplinary environment with highly motivated researchers and a high profile research agenda. The question of how structural properties have spread over space (continental to global scales) and time (over the past millennia) lies at the heart of a fundamental understanding of the origins and diffusion of human language. To address this question within the OoA project consortium, the postdoctoral fellow in our group (a) is responsible for the development and adaptations of phylogeographic models, and (b) performs the phylogeographic and Spatio-temporal reconstruction of demographic and linguistic diffusion processes.

Employment level

100 %

Requirements / Qualifications

Applicants must have a completed PhD degree in GIScience, spatial statistics, computer science or a related field. 
A strong background in quantitative analysis of (spatial) data, (spatial) statistics, including Bayesian statistics, and computational modelling and programming is a prerequisite.
The successful applicant will also have a profound interest in collaborating in an interdisciplinary research team and in developing an understanding of linguistic research problems. Applications from women and under-represented groups are highly encouraged.

Language Skills

A high standard of written and spoken English is mandatory

We offer

We offer a competitive salary and outstanding working conditions, a high quality of life in Zurich,
and an excellent supporting environment, including the network of the UZH University Research
Priority Program “Language and Space” (

For additional information about an employment at the University of Zurich please visit

Starting Position

September 2019

More information

Prof. Robert Weibel and Dr. med. Peter Ranacher

Email or


Send a cover letter explaining your expertise and interest in the project, your CV and publication modelling list, a brief description of your past research, and contact details for three referees (incl. e-mail addresses) in a single PDF document, and with reference “Postdoc_OoA_GEO_2019”, to by 30 April 2019. The interviews for this position (via Skype) will likely be conducted in the period of 8-10 May 2019.


Elisa Maria Häuptli 
University of Zurich 
University of Zurich, Department of Geography 
Winterthurerstr. 190 
8057 Zurich

In your application, please refer to


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