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Research Fellow

31 03 2018
Bewerbung bitte an:
Enquiries about the vacancy and the project may be directed to Jonas Radl: jonas [dot] radl [at] wzb [dot] eu.

Please submit your application to: barbara [dot] schlueter [at] wzb [dot] eu

The WZB Berlin Social Science Center, Project Group "Effort and Social Inequality” (led by Dr. Jonas Radl) in the Research Area “Dynamics of Social Inequalities”, invites applications for the position of a

Research Fellow

at 65% of the regular working hours (currently 25.35 hours/week)

starting on September 1, 2018 (negotiable), for up to 3 ½ years. The position is tied to the research project "Effort and Social Inequality – Advancing Measurement and Understanding Parental Origin Effects" (EFFORT), funded by the European Research Council (ERC). The project is jointly hosted by WZB Berlin Social Science Center and the Carlos III Juan March Institute (IC3JM) in Madrid.

The EFFORT project aims to understand the role of effort in the reproduction of social inequality. Specifically, the project addresses three research questions:

  1. To what extent do children’s effort levels differ by parental socioeconomic background?
  2. Can existing disparities in effort by social background be explained by (a) the intergenerational transmission of effort from parents to children and (b) varying motivations and differential susceptibility to incentives?
  3. What are the best techniques to measure cognitive effort and what are the strengths and weaknesses of measures routinely used in different scientific disciplines?

The 5-year project will develop and exploit cutting-edge methods of effort measurement. Effort dispositions will be further analyzed using existing surveys, such as the National Educational Panel Survey (NEPS) and Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).


The Research Fellow is expected to: develop original research related to “Effort and Social Inequality”; analyze social differences in effort-related measures using NEPS and/or SOEP data; participate in data collection activities, including laboratory experiments; interact with stakeholders (such as schools, parents and children); collaborate in the communication of results; and help with the organization of project activities.

During the first months of the project, the Research Fellow will be working at Carlos III University of Madrid, to kick-start the project and become familiar with the Madrid-based part of the team (including one head, two postdoctoral researchers, one other PhD student as well as three senior researchers and student assistants contributing on a part-time basis). From spring/summer 2019 onwards, the Research Fellow will be based at the WZB in Berlin, to work on secondary data and collaborate in the setup and running of laboratory experiments. The Research Fellow will participate in the academic life at the research area “Dynamics of Social Inequalities”.

Doctoral degree

The Research Fellow is expected to pursue a doctoral degree. The degree will typically be awarded in cooperation with Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, or Carlos III University of Madrid (depending on the candidate’s preferences). The call is also open to students who are currently enrolled in a PhD program at other German or international universities and are willing to relocate for the duration of the contract.


  • Excellent academic credentials (Master degree or equivalent) in sociology or another social science (education, psychology, economics). Applicants who have not completed their Master degree by the time of the application should include a statement from their supervisor confirming the expected date of the degree.
  • Strong interest in the topic and willingness to write a project-related dissertation in sociology
  • Very good knowledge of quantitative research methods, including techniques of data processing and statistical data analysis (Stata and/or R); experience with longitudinal data is an advantage.
  • Willingness to work in interdisciplinary and international contexts
  • Excellent English language skills (written and spoken)
  • Very good German language skills (written and spoken)

Remuneration: Salary group EG 13 TVöD (in accordance with German public service collective agreement).

Application Materials:

  • Letter of motivation (maximum 2 pages)
  • Curriculum vitae (maximum 3 pages)
  • Copies of your university certificates, including transcripts of records
  • References: one letter of recommendation (referees should email the letter of reference directly), job reference, or name and contact details of referee.
  • Work sample: copy of master thesis (or equivalent final thesis), article, seminar paper, or manuscript, in German or English
  • Research plan: outline of a study design for a PhD thesis, including theoretical framework and methodological approach (in English, 2-3 pages)

Please submit your application electronically in two PDF files (complete application in one file; work sample in another file) until March 31, 2018 to:

barbara [dot] schlueter [at] wzb [dot] eu

Reference: Application EFFORT

Enquiries about the vacancy and the project may be directed to Jonas Radl: jonas [dot] radl [at] wzb [dot] eu.

Job interviews are expected to take place at WZB in Berlin on May 2, 2018.

Equally well-qualified disabled persons will be given priority. Women and persons with a migrant background are strongly encouraged to apply.