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Postdoctoral Fellow (m/w/d)

Max Planck Institute for the History of Science - Max Planck Research Group 'Practices of Validation in the Biomedical Sciences'

Location: Berlin - Germany
Salary: 100% TVöD E13
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 26th August 2021
Closes: 31st October 2021

The post is tenable as soon as possible (salary: 100% TVÖD E13) for a period of three years.

The newly appointed Postdoctoral Fellow will work within the Max Planck Research Group “Practices of Validation in the Biomedical Sciences”. The research group examines how evaluative categories and methods of validation have been translated and transmuted across scientific approaches to studying health and disease, from the late 19th to the early 21st century. For further information on the research group and the institute see here.

Position Overview

We are looking for an enthusiastic and dedicated postdoctoral researcher to join us.

You will be expected to develop your own research within the framework of the group, in dialogue with and expanding our existing projects. You will conduct independent research while also regularly participating in the working life of the group, attending our seminars, webinars and workshops, and contributing to the overall intellectual milieu. We invite creative and thoughtful submissions which address practices of validation in the biomedical sciences through specific historical cases. Broad thematic areas of inquiry could include but are by no means limited to: 

  • How have validation practices been established, revised and policed in relation to historically specific moral, economic and political concerns?
  • How have practices of validation been used in boundary work during different crises or challenges in biomedical research?
  • How were validity claims mediated and propagated through specific technologies, materials and forms of communication? 

We welcome in particular proposals with a reflexive dimension which problematize clear-cut in/out, internal/external, scientific/meta, actor/analyst dichotomies. This could involve, for example, reflecting on the use of evaluative categories – such as validity – across diverse contexts and sites, not just the laboratory, but the courtroom, the boardroom or the archive. 

All candidates who have a completed PhD in a relevant field are eligible for this position, but we want to particularly encourage early career researchers (max. 2 years after their PhD) to apply. Those with experience working on the history and philosophy of biomedical sciences beyond our existing coverage are especially welcome. We look forward to reading your application. 

What we offer:

A versatile workplace with a family-friendly climate and an international academic atmosphere. The salary is based on the German public service salary scale TVÖD, level E13. 


  •  a completed doctoral degree in the History of Science or cognate disciplines.
  •  ability to speak fluently and produce academic publications in English.
  •  ability to communicate in German is highly desirable. 

How to apply: 

Please submit your application in English (Cover letter, CV, short Research Proposal (max. 1500 words), copy of PhD certificate, copy of PhD thesis (PDF), two letters of recommendation, proof of language abilities, if available) and exclusively through the application portal: here.

by October 31, 2021, 23:45 CET.

Only applications submitted in this way will be considered. 

For questions about this position and the Max Planck Research Group, please contact Dr. Lara Keuck: For technical questions regarding the application portal, for administrative questions concerning the position and the Institute, please first contact the group’s secretary Birgitta von Mallinckrodt:

The Max Planck Society is committed to fostering equal opportunities and diversity. We welcome applicants from all parts of society, regardless of gender, ethnicity, disabilities, or sexual orientation. 

Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Max Planck Research Group “Practices of Validation in the Biomedical Sciences”, Boltzmannstraße 22, 14195 Berlin

To learn more about working & living in Germany, please visit:

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* Salary has been converted at the prevailing rate on the date placed
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