Postdoc in Computer Science and Communication

The Department of Computer Science at the Faculty of Science at the University of Copenhagen (DIKU) is offering a 2-year postdoctoral position in the interdisciplinary project "Privacy Lost: How regional differences in power and politics have shaped worldwide digital surveillance" shared with the Department of Communication (COMM) at the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Copenhagen.

The University of Copenhagen was founded in 1479 and is the oldest and largest university in Denmark. It is often ranked as the best university in Scandinavia and consistently as one of the top places in Europe. Within computer science, it is ranked number one in the European Union (post-Brexit) by Shanghai Ranking.

The working language of the university is English, and knowledge of English is also fully sufficient to navigate life in Denmark in general. Denmark routinely scores at the absolute top in rankings of quality of life such as e.g., the OECD Better Life Index

The Privacy Lost project

The Privacy Lost project uses web tracking (based on cookies and scripts embedded in websites) as a key exemplar of digital surveillance. By mapping the historical diffusion of web tracking through web archives, the project aims to make core elements and dynamics of digital surveillance visible. The ultimate aim of the project is to understand how the dynamics of tracking have been shaped by variations in economic, social and cultural factors across the globe, and how this in turn sheds light on the development of surveillance capitalism.

The engineers of early web tracking companies were quick to realize how tracking could combine with machine learning and be monetized. The project will use similar tools to understand web tracking in a way that is at once fine-grained and large-scale. As part of the project, the historical top-thousands of web pages from multiple geographic and cultural regions will be harvested and classified automatically by genre and tracker types using standard methods from applied machine learning; the results will be further analyzed using methods from network science, information retrieval, and natural language processing, combined with state-of-the-art methods from media studies.

Role of the post doc

The role of the post doc in the project will be to define, design, and conduct experiments harvesting and analyzing tracker information across multiple geographical and cultural regions, and across several languages. Typical experiments will involve setting up substantial automated means of data gathering, applying machine learning techniques in a cross-lingual and cross-domain setting, and creating or applying models for comparative analysis from statistics and network science. All work will be done in an interdisciplinary environment.

The project will offer the successful applicant an opportunity to participate in pioneering work on the development of surveillance capitalism, and to combine theories and methods from computer science and media studies.

The post doc will be jointly supervised by Professors Jakob Grue Simonsen (DIKU) and Rasmus Helles (KOMM), and will be joined by another post doc scholar and a PhD student working on the project. The post doc is expected to partake in, and co-author, publications in traditional venues in computer science (e.g., WWW), respectively in media research (e.g., Media, Culture and Society), and at highly regarded interdisciplinary venues (e.g., PNAS).

Further information on the Department is linked at Inquiries about the position can be made to Professor Jakob Grue Simonsen, (+45) 35 32 14 39.

The position is open from January 1, 2021or as soon as possible thereafter.

The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

Terms of employment

The position is covered by the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff.

Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State.

The starting salary is currently up to DKK 437.843 including annual supplement (+ pension up to DKK 74.871). Negotiation for salary supplement is possible.

The application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include
- Curriculum vitae
- Diplomas (Master and PhD degree or equivalent)
- Research plan – description of current and future research plans
- Complete publication list
- Separate reprints of 3 particularly relevant papers

The deadline for applications is 29 October 2020  23:59 GMT +1.

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Interview Committee. You can read about the recruitment process at


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.