Call for Applications: Research Associate

Please note that this is not the official announcement; it is partly an informal version. The official version (which is less informative) can be found here.

The “Culpable Ignorance Project” seeks to fill a position for a research associate (wissenschaftliche/r Mitarbeiter/in) with a starting date of 1 July 2021 (a later starting date can be negotiated).

Terms and Conditions

  1. The position is for a fixed term of three years. The fixed-term nature of the contract is based upon Section 2 of the academic fixed-term labor contract act (Gesetz über befristete Arbeitsverträge in der Wissenschaft, WissZeitVG). Candidates who began their PhD more than 10 years ago are strongly advised to contact us prior to submission of their application for clarification of the regulations.
  2. The salary scale is 13 TV-L.
  3. Informal note: The gross salary varies from roughly 51.000€ to 63.000€ per year, depending on working experience. Information about the TV-L salary groups can be found at
  4. This is a full-time position (39h/week).
  5. The University aims to increase the number of women in research and teaching andexplicitly 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. This call is to fill the Post-Doc position on the project. In addition, there will also be a PhD position available.

More information about the project can be found here.


The successful applicant will conduct independent research on the topics of the project, participate in regular research events and take on administrative duties such as the organization of workshops and conferences. Given the collaborative nature of the research setting, the successful applicant is expected to work together with other project members to ensure that the project’s goals are achieved.

There are teaching opportunities but no teaching requirements.


A university degree in a relevant subject plus doctorate. Relevant subjects include philosophy, sociology, psychology, political science, business economics, management studies, as well as related disciplines. The successful applicant is expected to have obtained their doctoral degree by the time they take up their position.

The ideal candidate will pursue a research agenda on organizational ethics or knowledge in organizations and be competent in working with qualitative research methods. 

Applicants should have previous knowledge appropriate to the topics of the project, including competence in some of the following fields: social epistemology, applied ethics, organizational psychology, organizational sociology. Applicants who can evidence competence in qualitative research methods will be given preference.

Candidates must have excellent research skills commensurate with their career stage.

Applications will be given preference if they can demonstrate the following:

  • the ability to carry out independent research resulting in publishable papers
  • the willingness and ability to work in a collaborative and highly interdisciplinary research environment
  • experience of giving research presentations
  • excellent organizational skills
  • excellent interpersonal and communication skills

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

Qualified disabled candidates or applicants with equivalent status receive preference in the application process.

How to Apply

Applications should include:

  • Cover letter
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Research proposal (1-2 pages)
  • One or two samples of written work, together not exceeding 12.000 words
  • Copies of degree certificate(s)

Research proposal: Please indicate which research question(s) related to the project you are interested in addressing, which methods you would bring to bear to address these questions, and how this research would promote the project’s goals.

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 30 April 2021.

Job interviews will take place during the weeks of 6 May and 13 May. Interviews will be conducted via video call.