Postdoc in Natural Language and Digital Literary Studies aim to investigate semantic change in ‘Modern Breakthrough’ in Scandinavia 1870-1900

The Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics (NorS), Faculty of Humanities and the Department of Computer Science (DIKU), Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark, invite applications for a joint postdoctoral position in Natural Language Processing and Digital Literary Studies. The position is available by October 1, 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter. The position is for 3 years and the place of employment is NorS.

At NorS we are concerned with research and teaching within Nordic literary and linguistic culture from Nordic antiquity to the present as well as natural language processing and digital humanities, see The successful candidate will join one of the department’s research centres, Centre for Language Technology (CST); part of their time. CST conducts research in different areas of natural language processing, digital humanities, and computational cognitive modelling, and hosts the Danish Common Language Resources and Technology Infrastructure (CLARIN); The Centre has a strong international profile, at the same time as pursuing the development of language technology resources for the Danish language.

The Natural Language Processing Section at (DIKU); provides a strong, international and diverse environment for research within core as well as emerging topics in natural language processing, natural language understanding, computational linguistics and multi-modal language processing. The successful candidate will join the CoAStaL- research group at DIKU part of their time; “The Natural Language Processing” research environment at the University of Copenhagen is ranked 2nd in Europe according to CSRankings.

Job content  
The postdoc will be part of two interconnected projectsMeMo – Measuring Modernity: Literary and Social Change in Scandinavia 1870-1900, funded by the Carlsberg Foundation (PI: Associate Professor Jens Bjerring-Hansen, NorS), and Mining the Meaning: A semantic parsing approach to the study of literary change, funded by the UCPH Data+ pool, PIs: Associate Professor Jens Bjerring-Hansen and Assistant Professor Daniel Hershcovich, DIKU.

The projects aim to investigate semantic change in the so-called ‘Modern Breakthrough’ in Scandinavia 1870-1900, based on a digital corpus comprising some 900 Danish and Norwegian novels. We seek to deploy and develop Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning techniques for literary analysis and to combine these with theoretical and historical expertise. This will allow for new insights into the processes of modernization in a formative period in the cultural, social, and political history of Scandinavia as well as for methodological innovation in the computational representation of robust semantic trends and patterns in historical texts.

The postdoc will adapt state-of-the-art Natural Language Processing models and language resources to historical, Danish language text, and apply them to detecting and measuring lexical semantic change. Furthermore, the postdoc will develop more abstract computational approaches to historical language change, informed by semantic parsing, event modeling and other methods.

The postdoc will work alongside the two PIs and will be highly involved in their research groups and teaching activities at NorS and at the Natural Language Processing section at DIKU. At NorS Professor Bolette S. Pedersen (Centre for Language Technology) will co-supervise the postdoc and assist in applying and adapting language resources. There will be ample opportunity for exchange and collaboration with postdocs and senior researchers in both milieus.

Qualification requirements
In order to be considered for the position, applicants will have, or is about to be awarded, PhD within Natural Language Processing or Digital Humanities with a particular focus on Natural Language Processing.

The following qualifications are required:

  • Knowledge of a range of Natural Language Processing methods
  • Experience with working with textual data, preferably literary and/or historical texts
  • A developing publication record in good quality publications
  • Proficiency, or willingness to learn, a Scandinavian language
  • Good written and verbal communication skills and an ability to communicate research findings effectively to both specialist and lay audiences

Furthermore, emphasis will be placed on the following:

  • Interest in history, literature and language
  • Teaching experience at BA and MA levels

For further details about the qualification requirements for postdocs, please refer to the job structure for Academic Staff at Universities 2013:

For further information about the position, please contact Head of Department Anne Jensen, Nors (, Assistant Professor Daniel Hershcovich, DIKU (, or Associate Professor Jens Bjerring-Hansen, NorS (

Submit the application online in Adobe PDF or Word format.
Please click on the “Apply now” icon at the bottom of the page.

The application must be written in English and include the following enclosures:

  • Application letter/cover letter (max 1 page)
  • Curriculum vitae (with applicant’s e-mail & telephone number)
  • Documentation of qualifications (examination certificates/PhD diploma, etc.)
  • Complete and numbered list of publications. The enclosed publications must be marked with *
  • Documentation of research dissemination and teaching qualifications, if any
  • Publications

Applicants may choose a maximum of three publications for assessment. Publication dates must be clearly marked on the publication list. The publications selected must be uploaded as attachments and listed from 1 to 3.

Should any material submitted consist of work with named co-authors, or work that is otherwise the result of collective academic endeavours, the extent of the applicant’s contribution to the work must be clearly stipulated. The University may ask for a signed statement from the co-authors stipulating the extent and nature of each individual’s contribution.

Only material in Danish, Norwegian, Swedish and English can be expected to be assessed.

Appointment procedure
After the application deadline, the Appointment Committee selects applicants for assessment. All applicants are notified whether their application has been accepted for assessment. The Heads of Department subsequently appoint an expert assessment committee tasked with carrying out an assessment of the selected applicants for the specific post. Selected applicants are notified of the composition of the committee. Applicants are ultimately offered the opportunity of commenting on the part of the assessment relating to themselves before the appointment is finalized.

Further information about the application procedure is available from Maritxell Abrahamsson (HR), e-mail: Please refer to ID number 211-1083/22-2I #1.

Salary and conditions of employment
Terms of appointment and salary will be in accordance with an agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC). The annual salary for postdoctoral researchers is within the range DKK 412,000 – 434,000 (EUR 55,000 – 57,900 app.). In addition to the salary paid directly to you, the University will also pay a monthly contribution to your pension fund corresponding to 17.1 % of your salary. It is possible to negotiate further salary supplements. 

The Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC) have further agreed on a protocol that makes it possible for international researchers employed by the University to achieve a pension exemption, whereby the pension contribution will be paid out as salary. For more information about the different pension schemes, please read more here:

If you consider applying from abroad, you may find useful information on how it is to work in Denmark and at UCPH here: http://ism.ku.dk and

UCPH wishes to encourage everyone interested in this post to apply, regardless of personal background.

The closing date for applications is 1 July 2022, 23:59 CEST

Applications or supplementary material received thereafter will not be considered.


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.


Application deadline: 01-07-2022Employment start: 01-10-2022Department/Location: Institut for Nordiske Studier og Sprogvidenskab

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