The Department of Criminology at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law, in Freiburg, Germany (Director: Professor Jean-Louis van Gelder) is seeking to recruit a PhD Position (f/m/div), Partners in Crime: Understanding Peer Offending through Virtual Reality
We are looking for an experimental behavioral scientist with an interest in crime research and virtual reality (VR). You will work with an international and interdisciplinary team of researchers to help develop a new research program on the psychological mechanisms underlying peer offending through virtual reality.
The influence of peers is one of the most important drivers of juvenile delinquency. Several decades of research have taught us that having delinquent friends increases the risk of becoming delinquent oneself and that spending time with delinquent peers increases the likelihood of committing crimes of one’s own. These findings hold true across cultures, contexts, and research methods. However, prior research has principally relied on introspective and retrospective research methods, such as surveys, interviews, and panel studies. Exactly how peers influence each other, i.e., what happens at the moment of decision-making, is less well understood.
The Partners in Crime research program aims to address this research gap leveraging the power of VR and study peer effects in real-time in virtual environments. Research for the program will be conducted in our VR research facility: MAXLab Freiburg https://csl.mpg.de/en/maxlab
The successful candidate will help develop the research program together with the Director of the Department of Criminology and collaborate with leading researchers on peer influence worldwide.
- a completed (or are close to completing) university degree (master’s or equivalent) in psychology (e.g., social, developmental), pedagogy, (empirical) criminology, behavioral economics, sociology, or a similar discipline;
- a background in statistics;
- experience with experimental research;
- a strong interest in crime research and novel research methods;
- a highly collaborative attitude (you value teamwork);
- excellent written and spoken English language skills;
- excellent social and communication skills.
Ideal candidates are committed to open science and transparent research practices. Speaking German is an asset but not a prerequisite for the position.
The Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law (MPI-CSL) is a growing European center for research in criminology, public security matters, and criminal law. The Institute is part of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science – Germany’s flagship research organization.
The Department of Criminology at the MPI-CSL offers a highly interdisciplinary and dynamic research environment in which criminologists, psychologists, sociologists, mathematicians, and computer scientists work together to understand the causes and consequences of criminal behavior and to develop effective interventions for the prevention of crime and the facilitation of offender rehabilitation. The department pushes the boundaries of crime research through the application of innovative methods, developmental theories of crime, and real-world application. It currently hosts three researchers with prestigious individual European Research Council (ERC) grants.
The Institute, with its approximately 150 employees, is located in Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany), a dynamic university city with a 900-year history. The city in the trinational border region (Germany, Switzerland, and France) impresses newcomers with its high quality of life and international flair. Freiburg ranked third on Lonely Planet’s “Best in Travel 2022” list of the top ten city destinations in the world.
Our Institute offers unrivalled research conditions, including access to top-notch laboratory facilities as well as access to exceptional specialist libraries and databases, well-equipped workspaces, and comprehensive administrative and academic support. Collaboration with other researchers and international partners at the Institute is a key element of our work. Additionally, there are many opportunities for researchers to design, convene, or participate in workshops, seminars, and conferences.
The position is available from the earliest possible starting date. The position is limited to four years and it is a fully funded research position with no teaching obligations. The position is full-time (currently 39 hours/week). Remuneration and social benefits are based on the German Civil Service Collective Agreement (TVöD Bund), pay category 13, 65% (see https://oeffentlicher-dienst.info/tvoed/bund/
). The salary includes all mandatory social insurance contributions for health care, long-term care, unemployment, and retirement. The work location is Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany). We are committed to ensuring a positive work-life balance and offer flexible work options as well as generous opportunities for personal and professional development, including free in-house German language courses. There are also a number of daycare spots at a nearby childcare facility.
The Max Planck Society is an equal opportunity employer and supports diversity in the workplace. Applications from disabled persons are welcome. We also aim to increase the percentage of female staff in fields in which they are underrepresented and therefore expressly encourage women to apply. Applications are particularly welcome from persons with backgrounds that have so far been underrepresented in science and research with regard to gender, age, professional and cultural background, family situation, sexual orientation, and nationality.
Your application and further information
To apply, please submit your application with the following documents:
1. a motivation letter (max. one page), including an explanation as to how your interests and profile match the project goals and selection criteria;
2. name and email address of at least one scholar who has agreed to provide a reference for you;
3. your CV, including a list of publications (if any, either as first author or co-author);
4. a writing sample, e.g., your Master’s thesis, a seminar paper, a first-authored journal article, etc.;
5. study certificates and transcripts of records.
Please submit your application via our online application portal: https://csl.mpg.de/en/career.
The deadline for applications is 15 January, 2024.
Applicants will be informed in the week of 22 January, 2024 whether they are invited for an interview. Interviews with shortlisted candidates are currently planned for the first half of February.
Questions may be directed to Prof. Dr. Dr. Jean-Louis van Gelder (email@example.com) or Dr. Annika Hampel, Recruitment Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org).