Postdoctoral Researchers - Mobile Device Use in Social Interaction

The University of Oulu is an international scientific community, with 15,000 students and approximately 3,000 employees. The strengths of the University are its wide multidisciplinary study and research interests, its modern research and study environment, and its good cooperation with international research and education institutes. The Faculty of Humanities ( ), especially the COACT research community ( ), provides a stimulating environment for research focusing on social interaction in various languages and settings. COACT is an active community that encompasses approx. 30 researchers (including 6 PIs, postdoctoral researchers and doctoral students) from different disciplines in human sciences working at the University of Oulu. COACT members carry out research on how talk, language and (other) multimodal resources feature in the complexity of social action and interaction, and how people skilfully manage their conduct at complex sites of learning, work and everyday life.

The following positions are open at the Faculty of Humanities, Research Unit of Languages and Literature:

2 x 2-year postdoctoral researcher position (100%) in the project “Smart Communication: The situated practices of mobile technology and digital literacies” (Academy of Finland, 2019-2023).

Description of the position 

The ”Smart Communication” project is interested in mundane technology use and possible changes in social skills brought about by new communication technologies ( ). Based on video recordings and multimodal conversation analysis, it suggests an empirical and micro-analytic approach to the situated use of mobile technologies (smartphones, tablets, etc.) in everyday face-to-face encounters. The project aims at the comparison of two different stages of digital socialization, i.e., deep digital socialization (young adults), and late digital socialization (elderly adults), in order to grasp possible age-related differences in technological skills and practices, as well as to describe how people engage with new technologies, regardless of their age or culture.

The successful applicants are invited to develop a research project focusing on everyday uses of mobile devices and related social practices in various types of face-to-face encounters. In close collaboration with the team members (currently the principal investigator, Florence Oloff, and one doctoral researcher), the applicants will contribute to the systematic study of linguistic, embodied and material resources that participants mobilize when using mundane technologies in co-presence. In the spirit of a cross-generational and cross-linguistic approach, the project team is to build up a comparable data set. Therefore, the postdoctoral researchers’ projects will ideally complement the already ongoing research as regards specific age groups and/or languages (currently, the project comprises one ongoing doctoral dissertation on young adults / Russian).

The earliest starting date for the first position is 1 November 2019, for the second position 1 March 2020, but both positions will remain open until filled. Candidates should state their preferred starting date in their cover letter. Top candidates will be interviewed (face-to-face or remote). The duration of each contract is 2 years, a trial period of 6 months is applied in each position.

Duties, eligibility and evaluation criteria

The successful candidates will conduct research related to the project topic. The selected candidates are expected to collect and analyse video data and other types of empirical data in specific languages, age groups and / or settings, so as to contribute both to their individual research focus and to the comparative approach of the project. Focusing on German, French, Russian, Czech or English / English as a Lingua Franca will be an asset. The candidates are expected to carry out research, to publish and to contribute to the project dissemination strategy both independently and in cooperation with the other team members. Funding for project-related mobility, training and fieldwork is available. The position may involve some teaching and supervision duties (max. 5% of the total working time).

Both early and experienced postdoctoral researchers are encouraged to apply. Candidates must have completed their doctoral dissertation (PhD) in a relevant field (e.g. linguistics, languages, communication, sociology, education) by the time of appointment. Expertise in conversation analysis, interactional linguistics and/or multimodal analysis is required (e.g. in form of a doctoral dissertation, publications, and/or previous work experience). Familiarity with collecting and editing video data as well as experience in research on elderly adults, younger adults or children will be considered an asset. Experience in working in international environments is considered a merit. Excellent command of written and spoken English is required; a good command of German, French, Russian or Czech is considered a merit.


The salary will be based on the level 5 of the demand level chart for teaching and research staff of Finnish universities (currently 2935€/month). In addition, a salary component based on personal work performance will be paid (maximum of 50 % of the job-specific component). In practice, the gross salary for an early postdoctoral researcher is about 3493€/month, corresponding to a performance component of 19%. For an experienced postdoctoral researcher the performance percentage will be raised according to her/his career stage and experience. In order to get an estimate of your net salary, please use the tax percentage calculator provided by the Finnish Tax Administration: .

The employed person will be insured by the university and provided occupational healthcare. Please note that the University of Oulu does not pay possibly arising costs for moving to/from Finland, for commuting, or for registration/residence permits ( ) for its employees.

Application and enclosures

Applications must be submitted using the electronic application system of the University of Oulu by Wednesday, 25 September 2019, 23:59 (Finnish local time). Applications sent by email and incomplete applications will not be considered. Please include the following attachments in your application (PDF files):

1.       Cover / motivation letter describing the applicant’s experience and suitability for the position, an outline of her/his research plans with respect to the “Smart Communication” project as well as her/his career plans (maximum three (3) pages).

2.       Curriculum vitae formatted according to the template of the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity ( ).

3.       Full list of publications formatted according to the template of the Academy of Finland ( ). Please clearly mark 2-5 publications that are most relevant to the position and provide links to abstracts or full texts whenever possible.

4.       A copy of the applicant’s doctoral diploma, or, if not available at the time of application, a statement from the applicant and her/his supervisor(s) regarding the expected completion date.

5.       Contact information of two senior/experienced researchers who may be asked to give a statement on the candidate.


Further details are available from

Dr. Florence Oloff (PI Smart Communication project)

Assistant Professor in Multimodal Interaction and Discourse

Faculty of Humanities, Research Unit of Languages and Literature

University of Oulu / P.O. Box 1000 / FI-90014 Oulun yliopisto

Email: florence.oloff[at]

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