PhD position LLM Informed Discourse Analysis of Corporate Social Responsibility


Faculty of Arts


Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, University of Groningen, V23.0790

Job description

Have you ever questioned the authenticity behind corporate sustainability messages?
Are you committed to shaping a sustainable future by discerning truth from fiction in corporate communication?

In a world demanding corporate responsibility and sustainability, organisations need to show their commitment through a wide range of communication channels from CSR reports to social media interactions. These channels are often used by businesses to shape their image and reputation, to influence public opinion and policy, and to justify or conceal their questionable practices. Indeed, how many of these messages genuinely convey sustainable actions?

This project aims to develop ways to automatically analyse these communication channels and highlight problematic corporate social communication practices. This will be done by employing Large Language Models (LLMs). This research project aims to (i) expose the crucial role of language in genuine and misleading sustainability communication, (ii) develop and test LLM-informed discourse analytical methods and (iii) contribute to the growing knowledge about inherent biases in LLMs and how these may affect data analysis.

If you are interested in the newest developments in AI and large language models, if you are passionate about language and communication, in this research project you can combine your two interests. You will join passionate and engaged researchers at the Centre for Language and Cognition but also be closely affiliated with one of the University’s new interdisciplinary schools that are at the forefront of solving society’s most pressing issues. You will work on this project under the supervision of Dr. Erika Darics and Dr. Rik van Noord, with Prof. Malvina Nissim as the professor of record.

Please see this PDF ( for a detailed summary of the project proposal.

Since its foundation in 1614, the University of Groningen has established an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative university offering high-quality teaching and research. Its 34,000 students are encouraged to develop their own individual talents through challenging study- and career paths. The University of Groningen is an international center of knowledge: It belongs to the best research universities in Europe and is allied with prestigious partner universities and networks worldwide.

The Faculty of Arts – which includes the Center for Language and Cognition (CLCG) – is located in the historic heart of the city of Groningen. You will be enrolled in the Graduate School for the Humanities, affiliated with the CLCG. CLCG engages in multidisciplinary linguistic, neuropsychological, and computational research on language and communication. You will have the opportunity to join one of the National Research Schools, which offer training and funding opportunities for PhD students in the Netherlands.


For this position you are expected to:
- have a (Research) Master's degree in either Information Science, Artificial Intelligence, Communication, Linguistics, Discourse analysis, Business and Management, Digital Humanities or a related discipline
- be eager to learn to work across disciplinary boundaries
- have some experience programming in Python or a related programming language
- have some experience with automatic text processing
- have a deep interest in how language works in society
- have good academic English writing skills
- be enthusiastic about writing international publications and a dissertation.

The following would be assets for prospective candidates:
- experience with using state-of-the-art Natural Language Processing and/or Machine Learning tools, in particular Large Language Models
- familiarity with the context of corporate social responsibility
- familiarity with different theories and methods of discourse analysis.

Knowledge of Dutch is NOT required.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 48 months.

In accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, we offer:

- a salary of € 2,770 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,539 gross per month in the final year, based on a full-time position
- a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income
- an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance
- a temporary 1.0 FTE appointment for a specified period of four years. The candidate will first be appointed for twelve months. After six months, an assessment will take place of the candidate’s results and the progress of the PhD project, in order to decide whether employment will be continued
- excellent work-life balance
- the PhD candidate is expected to conduct a total of 0.4 fte teaching during the second, third and fourth year of their appointment
- willingness to move and reside in the Netherlands.

For more detailed information about working conditions and working for the University of Groningen, please check:

The appointment will commence in April / May 2024 at the very latest. We allow 3 months from selection in case of VISA applications.

Job Application

Your application packet (see submission instructions below) should include: - a motivation letter: not exceeding two single-spaced pages—clearly indicating your interest in the position and how to you envisage this work to make the world a better place - a detailed up-to-date curriculum vitae - copy of MA thesis, if available - a writing sample in the form of an academic research thesis or publication in English (not to exceed 20 pages) - names and contact information of two academic references (Please do not submit letters of reference. If necessary, we will contact the referees ourselves). You may apply for this position until 7 January 11:59pm / before 8 January 2024 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website). Interviews are to take place between 5-9 February. The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage: Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers: We provide career services for partners of new faculty members moving to Groningen. Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

Dr. Erika Darics

Dr. Rik van Noord

Merel Lobo, for practical information concerning the application process

In your application, please always include the job opening ID V23.0790

Digital application form