Postdoctoral researcher in inferring human population movements in western South America

Postdoctoral researcher in inferring human population movements in western South America

Published Deadline Location
11 Feb 15 Mar Leiden

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Leiden University, the Faculty of Humanities, Leiden University Centre for Linguistics (LUCL) is looking for a Postdoctoral researcher in inferring human population movements in western South America

Job description

The ERC consolidator project South American Population History Revisited (SAPPHIRE) seeks to reconstruct, on the basis of geographical, ethnological, genetic, and linguistic data, the population history of the Upper Amazon area in western South America, in order to establish how ecology, human behavior, and inter-ethnic communication strategies have impacted the development of the extraordinary patterns of linguistic diversity in the area. The project thus offers  a unique opportunity to work in a truly multi-disciplinary context with internationally renowned domain experts, which gives you the possibility to expand your horizon to other disciplines, cooperate with experienced specialists of these disciplines, and contribute to creating new knowledge about the history of South America.

In the context of this project, the Descriptive and Comparative Linguistics group at the Leiden University Center for Linguistics invites applicants for a 3-year post-doctoral position in data science/spatial data modeling, which focusses on the inference of past population movements in the Upper Amazon area in western South America, on the basis of a multi-disciplinary approach. The main tasks of the successful candidate would be to develop spatial representations to model the influence of topography on human movement, and to develop methodology to infer past human movement based on data from a variety of disciplines.

Key responsibilities

  • Statistical modeling;
  • Developing spatial representations of relevant topographical aspects;
  • Developing and/or refining methods to infer past movement based on data from several disciplines;
  • Developing and coordinating the data-management plan (together with pi);
  • Presenting results at conferences;
  • Active role in write-ups of the results;
  • Actively and constructively take part in monthly group meetings.


Leiden University


  • A completed PhD in data science, geography, statistics, computer science, or other relevant field;
  • Demonstrable experience with data science, spatial data and/or spatial analysis;
  • Demonstrable experience with data handling, preferably from different disciplines;
  • Knowledge of or a willingness to learn about Bayesian inference;
  • Independent thinker;
  • Preferred qualifications include knowledge of methods of analysis used in molecular biology, programming abilities, and an affinity with the indigenous languages and cultures of South America.

Conditions of employment

We offer a fixed-term full time position for a period of 3 years, preferably starting not later than May 1 2020. Salary range from € 2,709.- to €4,274.- gross per month (pay scale 10, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses(8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. 

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups. 


Leiden University

The Faculty of Humanities is rich in expertise in fields such as philosophy, religious studies, history, art history, literature, linguistics and area studies covering nearly every region of the world. With its staff of 995, the faculty provides 27 master’s and 25 bachelor’s programmes for over 7,000 students based at locations in Leiden and in The Hague.

The Faculty has seven Institutes, among which the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics. LUCL has a longstanding tradition in the study of the world’s languages and features unique linguistic expertise. Current theoretical insights are combined with modern experimental methods in its research profile area ‘Language Diversity in the World’.


  • Postdoc
  • Behaviour and society; Language and culture
  • Doctorate
  • 20-074



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