Scientific Programmer

The Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt/Main, Germany, investigates the attentional, cognitive, and affective mechanisms of aesthetic perception and evaluation.

The Research Group Computational Auditory Perception invites applications for a

Scientific Programmer:
Characterizing Human Perception and Culture Using Massive Online Experiments


The Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics is seeking a full-stack developer to support ongoing development of online psychological experiments. Under the direction of Dr. Nori Jacoby, the Research Group Computational Auditory Perception uses relatively complex paradigms such as iterated transmission chains, simulated cultural evolution, and online marketplaces. We are in the process of developing a general-purpose framework for administering such paradigms.

Our current technology stack relies heavily on Python, Flask, SQLAlchemy, Heroku, PostgreSQL, Redis, as well as HTML, CSS, and Javascript. We also use Amazon Mechanical Turk for participant recruitment, Amazon Web Services for data storage and GPU compute, and R for data analysis and visualization.

We expect that the day-to-day work would mostly involve discussing experiment designs with the research team, collaboratively creating specifications for new software features, and implementing these features. These features are likely to represent a mixture of front-end web development (HTML/CSS/ Javascript) and back-end development (primarily Python). Although the primary focus of the work will be experiment implementation, other kinds of work are possible, ranging from dashboard design to creating data management systems to data analysis and visualization.

The ideal candidate for this position will have:

  • Master’s degree (or equivalent) in computer science,
  • experience with Python web development,
  • experience with SQL database management,
  • experience with front-end web development (e.g., HTML, CSS, Javascript, jQuery, Bootstrap),
  • experience with Unix server management,
  • experience with collaborative version control with Git,
  • fluent English,
  • good communication and teamwork skills.

The following are also desirable:

  • experience with SQLAlchemy,
  • experience with Flask,
  • experience with R,
  • experience with continuous integration frameworks,
  • experience with Amazon Web Services,
  • experience with modern containerization frameworks (e.g., Docker) and orchestration frameworks (e.g., Kubernetes),
  • interest in psychology, music, aesthetics.


We offer an interesting and interdisciplinary field of activity in an international scientific environment. The Institute is located in an attractive location with excellent infrastructure in Frankfurt’s Westend. You can expect a modern, well equipped workplace with flexible working hours and a pleasant working atmosphere. Salaries are determined following the German TVÖD/Bund salary scale depending on experience; see, and also entail substantial benefits. Remote working is possible (details can be discussed). The position can be full- or part-time.

The Max Planck Society strives for gender equality and diversity. Likewise, we aim to employ more differently abled people. We therefore welcome applications from people of all backgrounds.

Your application:

Your application should include: a detailed CV and examples of code. Please send these materials, compiled in a single PDF file, by e-mail to:

If you have any questions, please contact Diana Gleiss at: