Scientific Director (m/f/d) with a focus in the Social Sciences

The Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS) in Bochum in a joint appointment procedure with the Heinrich-Heine-University
Düsseldorf is inviting applications for the position of

Scientific Director (m/f/d) with a focus in the Social Sciences


The position is available from June 2023 and is associated with a W3-university professorship at the Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf. Immediately on being appointed, the holder of the professorship will be directly delegated to perform the leadership function as scientific director at CAIS. At the university the professorship entails two hours of teaching per week.

Founded in 2017, CAIS supports fellowships, working groups and academic events. Since 2021 the center has been receiving institutional funding from the Ministry of Culture and Science of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and has expanded to a central institute for digitalization research. Its institutional partners include the Ruhr University Bochum, the University of Duisburg-Essen, the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, the University of Münster and the Grimme Institute in Marl. Designated as additional partners are the Leibniz Institutes for the Social Sciences (GESIS) and Economic Research (RWI) in Cologne and Essen.

Developing the potential of digitalization for human interests, needs and capabilities is one of the central challenges of democratic societies. CAIS is a place of innovative research and a source of ideas for a critical public in the process of discussing the principles of a self-determined life in the digital age. Through outstanding research, CAIS aims to establish a distinguished reputation in the national and international scientific landscape. By proposing evidence-based solutions, it is helping to shape the digital transformation in a way that puts people in the focus. In doing so, it fosters a culture of open, transformative science and initiates an interactive exchange with politics, business and civil society. The research at CAIS encompasses the social, political, economic, cultural and technical changes that accompany digitalization and at the same time interlinks different disciplines from the social sciences, philosophy, ethics and humanities to computer science. This holistic socio-technical approach encompasses both pure research and application-based questions. Together with actors from different areas of society, CAIS uses the results of this research in real-world laboratories to find exemplary solutions to concrete problems.

Two scientific directors from the social sciences and computer science respectively will be leading the research at CAIS. Five additional full-time professors from different disciplines will coordinate the interdisciplinary research programmes with external scientific excellence being integrated through associate researchers and visiting scholars. CAIS also initiates research
partnerships and other collaborative projects with partners from universities and other research institutions.

Responsibilities of the scientific directors

The scientific directors together with the administrative manager constitute the board of CAIS. The board works in close cooperation with the institutional partners, the supervisory board and the advisory council on the concepts and implementation of the research programmes. It is responsible for the appointment of leading personnel at the center and the development of scientific and organisational strategies. As scientists, the directors research and publish on subjects and problems with regard to the digital transformation of society, initiate research partnerships with other scientists and raise third-party funds. They create scientific networks and establish a distinctive national and international institutional profile. Furthermore, the directors are expected to support the collaboration between university and non-university research and also to play an active part in university research projects.

Competency profile for the responsibilities at CAIS

  • Distinguished reputation in national and international research and successful networking within the scientific community.
  • Proven excellence in a subfield of social sciences and in digitalization research.
  • Keen interest in the interplay between technical and social innovations.
  • Participation in the societal embedding of digital developments, their ethical assessment and legal regulation.
  • Experience in interdisciplinary research related to the humancentred design of socio-technical developments.
  • Experience in the acquisition and coordination of third-party funded research projects.
  • Leadership experience at an interdisciplinary research institution and/or research group.
  • Organisational competence, strong teamwork and communication skills.
  • Excellent command of German and very good English.
  • Dedication to knowledge transfer and science communication in cooperation with actors from politics, business and civil society.
  • Success in the recruitment of scientific talents and junior researchers.
  • Fulfilment of the requirements according to § 36 University Law North Rhine-Westphalia.

University involvement

The Institute of Social Sciences at the Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf expects the holder of the professorship to be involved in the university research activities and to connect them with research at CAIS. A particular focus should be on the research initiatives of the Institute of Social Sciences with regard to the digital transformation of society and the chances and risks of AI-applications. Furthermore, a close cooperation with the Düsseldorf Institute for Internet and Democracy (DIID) would be an asset.

The Institute of Social Sciences at the Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf is a joint teaching and research unit of communication science, political science and sociology. An appointment to the new professorship is also open to a representative of other disciplines if there is a significant emphasis on social sciences in previous work.

We are offering

  • An attractive environment for individual research and networking.
  • Opportunities for innovative research and scientific collaboration in a highly topical area.
  • An exciting and challenging leading activity with a high degree of autonomy and design freedom.
  • The possibility of leading and shaping a new institute with national and international ambitions.
  • Cooperation with an excellent and experienced team.
  • Individually arranged remuneration according to the flexible possibilities of the W-salary scale of North Rhine-Westphalia complemented by a performance-oriented allowance.

Please submit your electronic application with conclusive documents, an outline (about five pages) of the perspectives of interdisciplinary digitalization research and a statement of your leadership philosophy by 2 February 2022 in a single PDF file, citing Reference No 17.21-3.1 to:



For further information please contact the scientific director of CAIS, Prof. Dr. Michael Baurmann:

The realisation of equal opportunities is an integral part of the personnel policy of CAIS and the Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf. Both institutions actively support the professional equality of all persons. All applicants are considered irrespective of age, gender, cultural or social background, disabilities or sexual identity. Applications from members of underrepresented groups are explicitly welcome. In the case of similar qualifications and suitability these persons will be given preferential consideration.