Group Leader, GIS @ URPP Language and Space Lab, University of Zurich

The University Research Priority Program (URPP) “Language and Space” at the University of Zurich (UZH) invites applications for the position of Group Leader, GIS @ URPP Language and Space Lab

The position is associated with the URPP Language and Space ( and hosted within the GIScience Center ( of the Depart­ment of Geography at UZH. The position will start on 01 June 2018, or as soon as possible thereafter, and is initially for 2.5 years, with an option of an extension by another four-year period, based on performance and availability of budget.

The URPP Language and Space has a focus on human communication, which is inevitably linked to geographical and social space. The URPP approaches relations between language and space with cutting-edge technology, combining insights from linguistics, geography and the computational sciences. Research in the URPP includes, but is not limited to, fundamental issues of language and space such as area formation, boundary formation, language contact (including dialect contact), language/dialect diffusion and finally the association of language with geography. The GIScience Center is one of the premier academic centers in GIScience worldwide and encompasses research groups working on topics such as language and space, geographic information retrieval, movement analysis, large geospatial data analysis, digital terrain modeling, geovisual analytics, and spatial cognition.

The group leader will develop her or his own profile and research agenda, and will conduct research on the language and space interface in collaboration with members of the URPP (e.g. on spatially related questions of language contact, areal diffusion, or language in landscape description). The prospective group leader is also expected to apply for third-party funding. The position includes the option of teaching in graduate courses. The group leader will also coordinate services, support and training for linguistic researchers of the URPP who seek to use GIScience methods in their work. In this task, s/he will be supported by student assistants and PhD students affiliated with the lab.

The prospective group leader is expected to meet the following requirements:

  • A PhD degree in a relevant discipline, such as GIScience, linguistics, computer linguistics, computer science, or statistics.
  • A strong track record of research positioned at the interface of language and space, including high-profile scientific publications, and interdisciplinary collaborations.
  • The ability to develop and pursue an individual research agenda, as well as an agenda for the research group.
  • A strong background in advanced methods of spatial analysis, statistical modelling (e.g. non-parametric statistics, Bayesian statistics, or machine learning), geovisualization, and the automation of workflows for structuring and analyzing large data.
  • Ability and experience to teach at the Master’s level and to develop new courses related to the portfolio of the GIS group.
  • Proficiency in English; knowledge of German is considered an asset.
  • Experience in acquisition of third-party funding is considered a plus.
  • Experience in supervising graduate students is considered a plus.

We are looking for a highly motivated, original thinker with coordination skills, who might still be rather junior but has the ambition to build up a successful research and service group.
We offer excellent working conditions, a competitive salary, a stimulating environment, and Zurich’s high quality of life.

To apply, send your CV, publication list, an outline of the research agenda you would propose for the GIS group, and contact details for three referees (including e-mail addresses) in a single PDF document with the applicant’s name in the file name, and with the reference “GISLabLeader” to by 22 April 2018. For further questions regarding the position, please contact Prof. Robert Weibel (

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