Call for Applications: Research Assistant

The “Culpable Ignorance Project” seeks to fill a position for a research assistant (wissenschaftliche/r Hilfskraft or Studentische Hilfskraft) with a focus on data cleaning and analysis in R or Python.

Terms and Conditions

  1. The position is for a research assistant for 10h/week.
  2. To be eligible to apply, you need to be enrolled at a German University either as a BA or as an MA student.
  3. The work can be done remotely, there is no need to be in Hamburg.
  4. If the successful candidate is a BA student, this will be a position as a “studentische Hilfskraft,” remunerated at 10,77 EUR/h. If the successful candidate is an MA student, this can become a position as a “wissenschaftliche Hilfskraft”, remunerated at 12,52 EUR/h.
  5. The University aims to increase the number of women in research and teaching and explicitly encourages women to apply. Equally qualified female applicants will receive preference in accordance with the Hamburg act on gender equality (Hamburgisches Gleichstellungsgesetz, HmbGleiG).

About the Project

Organizational misconduct often stems not from bad motives, but from ignorance. For instance, silence of research departments about side effects delays the recalling of drugs. Lack of coordination between police departments hampers finding serial killers. Such ignorance is culpable if organizations could have known better.

The goal of the project is to investigate what organizations have a duty to know, and which qualities help them to fulfil these duties. The research group approaches this research question in a highly interdisciplinary manner. The theoretical framework for the project is derived from social and virtue epistemology, branches of philosophy. To answer the question of which qualities help organizations to fulfil their duties to know, we use quantitative and qualitative research methods. Quantitative research includes the analysis of a database of corporate misconduct to assess the importance of culpable ignorance. Qualitative methods include interviews with young professionals and senior leaders in organizations heading HR, compliance, and ethics departments to identify root causes of culpable ignorance. Based on these research streams, we will develop and validate a survey instrument to identify and measure epistemic vice in organizations. The project will help to better understand an overlooked cause of corporate misconduct, providing guidance to organizations and regulators to prevent culpable ignorance.

The project is a junior research group situated at the University of Hamburg. It is funded by the Volkswagen Stiftung in their “Freigeist” program. It started on 16 February 2021 and runs for five years. Marco Meyer is the Principia Investigator. There will also be a Post-doc and a PhD student in the project.

More information about the project can be found here.


The successful applicant will help analyze a large dataset of corporate misconduct. The key research question the successful candidate will help answer is how important ignorance rather than bad motives are for organizational misconduct. The successful candidate will work closely with the Principal Investigator Marco Meyer to conduct data wrangling, data visualization, and exploratory data analysis.


  • Improve your data science skills
  • Contribute to a research project in the digital humanities
  • There may be opportunities to co-author a published paper


The position is open for applicants from any subject.

The successful candidate will meet the following requirements:

  • Basic skills in data science using either R or Python. You should have used one of these languages before and have a basic understanding of how to read, wrangle, manipulate, visualize, and analyze data.
  • Enthusiasm to learn more about how to do data science counts for more than experience. You should have a basic understanding and the willingness to learn more.
  • an interest in organizational ethics, organizational epistemology, and/or digital humanities.

Mastery of the German language is not required. Excellent command of the English language is required.

How to Apply

Applications should include:

  • Cover letter, including information about your experience with data science and your skills in R or Python
  • Curriculum vitae

Submit applications to Marco Meyer ( and do not hesitate to be in touch with any questions.

Please name attachments as follows: “<Name> – <Type of Document>.<extension>” — e.g. “Marco Meyer – CV.pdf”


The application deadline is 15 April 2021.