4-Year Post-Doc in Experimental Meta-science

March 08, 2024

Project title: “The evolution of scientific practice – from simulation to experimentation”. Science is built upon reliable findings, yet many results fail to replicate. A growing field of ‘meta-science’ studies the inner workings of academia, to explore how it can be improved. We offer a 4-year post-doc position to study the impact of proxy-based scientific evaluation and reward systems on the quality of science. The position will be based at the Center for Economics and Neuroscience of the University of Bonn (https://www.cens.uni-bonn.de), is funded through the Medical Faculty of the University of Bonn, and is part of a transdisciplinary collaborative project with Oliver Braganza (Neuro- & Metascience, Bonn), Jakob Kapeller (Economics, Duisburg-Essen) and Uwe Peters (Philosophy, Utrecht University). Direct supervisors will be Johannes Schultz and Oliver Braganza.

The project proposes that academic competition based on proxy measures can lead to a cultural evolution of scientific practices, in which problematic practices can be selected when they entail advantages in terms of proxy performance. It will combine i) computational modelling of the publication process, and ii) a novel experimental approach to meta-science, which aims to test emerging hypotheses with real human participants. This project thus lies at the intersection of experimental economics, sociology and cognitive science, aiming to address fundamental questions about the interaction of competitive social systems and individual morality. Such questions are at the core of meta-science, but their relevance extends to many other competitive societal systems (for further reading see for example https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.211030). We expect a highly motivated candidate interested in the development of an experimental approach to meta-science as well as trans-disciplinary collaboration across natural and social sciences.


  • PhD in experimental economics, sociology, cognitive science, cognitive psychology, computational sciences or related disciplines and fields.
  • Motivation to learn approaches and skills from neighboring disciplines (e.g. computational modeling and experimental economics). Previous experience in these areas will be a major asset.
  • Strong computational skills (especially but not exclusively Python)
  • Good understanding of statistical principles.
  • Proficiency in English (written and oral) is necessary. Speaking German is not necessary, but helpful for living in Bonn (working language at CENs is English).
  • Track record of scientific publications in peer-reviewed international journals.
  • Willingness to mentor students.
  • Excellent team spirit and willingness to work in a highly trans-disciplinary setting.


  • A fully funded, full-time 4 year position with salary according to German TVL-13 100% (https://oeffentlicher-dienst.info/tv-l/allg/). Exact pay is dependent on seniority and other personal circumstances.
  • Opportunity to co-develop and shape a novel research paradigm of “experimental meta-science” and establish your own research profile in this exciting new area.
  • Opportunity to develop a neuroimaging (fMRI) meta-science task within the framework of the project.
  • Opportunities for in depth trans-disciplinary collaboration with our international project partners (Duisburg-Essen and Utrecht) and extended research networks.
  • Access to well established research infrastructure, such as the BonnEconLab.
  •  Formal teaching opportunities if desired.

Starting date:
The ideal starting date would be June 1st, 2024, but is negotiable.

Application Instructions:
Candidates should submit the following documents in English (all combined in a single PDF) by email to :

  • A motivation letter describing your interest in the position, and your track record (at most 2 pages).
  • A curriculum vitae.
  • The name of at least one reference person with email address and phone number.

Full consideration will be given to applications received by April 31, 2024.

To informally enquire about the project or the position, please contact Oliver Braganza () or Johannes Schultz ().
If you know of any suitable applicants in your network of colleagues and former students who may be suitable, please forward them this advertisement.

Equal Employment Opportunity statement:
The University of Bonn is committed to diversity and equal opportunity. It is certified as a family-friendly university. It aims to increase the proportion of women in areas where women are under-represented and to promote their careers in particular. It therefore urges women with relevant qualifications to apply. Applications will be handled in accordance with the Landesgleichstellungsgesetz (State Equality Act). Applications from suitable individuals with a certified serious disability and those of equal status are particularly welcome.

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