Assistant, Associate or Full Professor of Big Data in Social SciencesRagnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance (RND)

16/05/2017 Monnier Léa


Assistant, Associate or Full Professor of Big Data in Social Sciences



Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance (RND) is one of the largest, most internationalized and leading social science research centres in Estonia. As part of Tallinn University of Technology (TTÜ) and its School of Business and Governance, RND functions at the intersection of technological and social science research. The core research foci of RND are governance and public administration, innovation and technology policy, and e-governance. Currently, RND is coordinating the largest public sector innovation project in Horizon 2020: The Once-Only Principle Project (, is partner to several other H2020 projects, and is leading together with KU Leuven and University of Münster a unique international MA program in Public Sector Innovation and E-governance.


RND invites applications for tenured Assistant, Associate or Full Professor of Big Data in Social Sciences.


The development of information and communication technologies and growing digitalization of modern societies has created a demand for ‘digital social sciences’ as a new scholarly discipline to study and understand the possibilities and barriers (and how to overcome these) of using new types and forms of data (from mobile phones, GPS, search engines, social media, of digital ‘footprints’ of using public and private services) for coordinating societal developments.


Given its pioneering role in developing and adopting e-government services from e-prescriptions and online tax filing to internet voting and e-residency, Estonia offers a unique environment for interdisciplinary research in the area of big data in public sector and data-driven public services, i.e. predictive public services, real-time economic and business analysis as public service. Building on its unique experiences, Estonia has become the leading country in many global e-initiatives. At the same time, Estonia has also arrived at crucial non-technical barriers for further development of data and innovation driven public services from ‘e-fatigue’ among politicians and civil servants to ‘gentrification’ of public services (focusing on mostly developing services for technological elites, start-ups and creative class while other social actors tend to receive less attention).


The main task of the Professor of Big Data in Social Sciences is to establish TTÜ and Estonia as one of the leading European interdisciplinary research centers where both research on the application and diffusion of big data solutions in public services as well its critical social science analysis is carried out in synergy.


The person elected to the position has to be competent in the latest developments in big data analytics and its application in social sciences, especially in the public-sector context. The person needs to have both excellent skills in big data analytics as well as interest in critical social science inquiry. The person has to have good international academic and policy networks to be constantly up-to-date with the developments of the field in the main strategic regions for Estonia (Europe, Asia, USA) to facilitate mutual knowledge transfer.

Key tasks:


  •  To coordinate the research and development activities of the field in TTÜ, including recruitment of PhD and post-doctoral researchers;
  • To attract basic, applied and contract research through collaborations with Estonian and international academic and non-academic partners by coordinating and participating in Horizon 2020 and similar international projects, collaborating with Estonian ministries, other public agencies and enterprises as well as with the Estonian Infotechnological Mobility Observatory (a national strategic data R&D infrastructure; RND is a founding member)
  • To publish research in the top-ranking journals of the field and guarantee high impact of the research carried out in TTÜ;
  • To develop and coordinate the teaching of basic and advanced courses (also MOOCs) at all levels of higher education (BA, MA, PhD) across different Schools of TTÜ;
  • To supervise graduate students in carrying out their independent research;
  • To participate actively in the Estonian and EU level debates on big data, digital social sciences and data-driven public service developments and public sector reforms.

Qualification requirements:


  • PhD or equivalent in an area related to big data in social sciences;
  • Prior international work experience (at least post-doc) in areas related to big data in social sciences;
  • High-level visibility and impact of previous research, at least comparable to the levels of similar professors in leading Northern European universities;
  • Successful supervision of PhD students (either graduated or close to graduating).


Conditions of the position


  • Start date: 1 January 2018 (or, 1 September 2018 the latest).
  • The position may be filled as tenured Assistant Professor, Associate Professor or Full Professor, depending on the candidates’ merits and career stage.
  • The position will be located at the Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance, School of Business and Governance.
  • For the first 4 years, the position is financed from the national R&D institutions development program (ASTRA), which provides a) depending on the qualification and entrance level, annual income up to 60 000 EUR (including 20% national income tax) and national health, social security and pension benefits; b) seed funding for 1 post-doc position (24 months; the professor will be also eligible to apply for PhD positions financed by the national government); c) basic research cost supplement.

Application requirements

The following documents should be sent to the personnel department of TTÜ ( on October 1, 2017:


  • application;
  • when applying for the 1st time for a position in TTÜ, duplicate of the required diploma (PhD) or other document proving the necessary qualification;
  • curriculum vitae and a list of publications;
  • portfolio of teaching experience;
  • vision or activity plan for the professorship;
  • the applicant may be requested to give an open lecture (venia legendi) or provide digital recording of such lecture.

The online posting of the position:


For more information on TTÜ, see

For more information on RND, see


For more details on the position, please contact: Dr. Erkki Karo, Director of Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance,