Job: Postdoc in Natural Language Processing applied to Ancient Chinese Texts (deadline May 16)

The University of Strasbourg Institute for Advanced Studies (USIAS) is offering a Postdoctoral Position in Computer Science (full time, 35h per week) for a duration of 2 years (1 year renewable for 1 year) to contribute to a project it has endorsed. If you are interested, please read the information below (also available at the following address: job advertisement).
The position is in France, but all the work and interactions will be conducted in English.
Please spread the word to early career researchers who might be interested!


Working environment:

The CHI-KNOW-PO (Chinese Knowledge and Poetry) Project intends to explore the role played by poetry in the economy of knowledge in Medieval China. To do so, this project will investigate paths of circulation of snippets of knowledge and fragments of texts through a large diachronic corpus of Ancient and Medieval Chinese Texts in different genres down to the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The CHI-KNOW-PO project will constitute and publish an open digital version of this body of texts in XML-TEI format (cf. a sample here: gitlab repository). Since existing tools can only spot lexical co-occurrences and calculate degrees of similarities through linear process, the project needs to develop new computational tools that will, for example, link synonyms and words belonging to the same lexical field, identify thematic co-occurrences and thereby reveal networks of texts. This work will be carried out by a team of three people, in addition to one to three graduate students. Marie Bizais-Lillig, Associate Professor at the University of Strasbourg and specialist of Chinese Medieval Literature and Culture, will lead the team. A Research Assistant, whose expertise lies in Ancient or Medieval Texts, will mostly focus on the editorial work. The Computer Scientist here advertised, with the rank of Post-doctoral Researcher, will be chiefly in charge of creating tools to run computer assisted analysis of the database.

Required Qualifications and Qualities:

  • A Ph.D. in closely related field, i.e. NLP, AI, Machine Learning
  • Proven experience in programming system design for text processing analysis using Python (participation in projects, publications)
  • Proven understanding of sinographic systems (university degree, participation in projects, publication)
  • Capacity to discuss, coordinate and implement solutions in line with team and individual objectives and with project deadlines
  • Ability to work autonomously, effectively and cooperatively in a diverse, international team environment
  • Excellent command of both spoken and written English
  • Good interpersonal and communication skills

Desired Additional Qualifications:

  • Degree in Digital Humanities
  • University degree in the humanities, e.g. languages, linguistics, literature, history, anthropology or philosophy
  • Proficiency in Modern Chinese
  • Proficiency in Classical Chinese
  • Proficiency in French

Expected Contributions:

This Computer Scientist, trained in Natural Language Processing and Digital Humanities, and possibly familiar with classical Chinese language (not mandatory), will develop tools for textual analysis within the CHI-KNOW-PO project to reveal the role played by poetry in the economy of knowledge in Medieval China.
S/he will:

  • Set up the textual digital database,
  • Develop tools to run computer assisted analysis of the database, extract and visualize data (semantic fields, cooccurrences, citation and crossing networks, paths of textual circulation),
  • Disseminate the results of this project in the field of Digital Humanities (and more broadly through training of collaborators),
  • Publish scientific articles,
  • Support the project investigator in managing the team and feeding an academic blog.

Our offer:

  • Excellent opportunities to work in a lively research environment and collaborate with international experts in the fields related to the project
  • An annual gross salary of 33,000 € (net salary a little above 2,100€ per month)
  • Staff benefits in the University of Strasbourg (full social benefits, ongoing training opportunities, access to multiple services and facilities in addition to remuneration)
  • Funding for conferences, research visits and scientific publications

Application material:

  • Letter of Application explaining why this project appeals to the candidate
  • Curriculum Vitæ (including self-positioning in foreign languages)
  • Copy of Ph.D. diploma
  • Record of achievements in the field of academic research
  • Two samples of research publications
  • Statement that the University of Strasbourg will be the main place of employment
  • Two letters of recommendation directly addressed to Marie Bizais-Lillig (

Review and interview process:

Each application file will be evaluated by a group of experts in the field beginning May 16th.
Pre-selected candidates will be invited for an online interview.
The position will be open until filled.

General information

Application Deadline: May 16th, 2021 (all applications must be transmitted by email, no paper applications will be accepted)
Type of contract: Temporary
Job status: Full time
Offer Starting date: 01/09/2021
Contact: Marie Bizais-Lillig (

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