Universiteit van Amsterdam

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PhD position in Computational Linguistics

Deadline: Tuesday 10 March 2020
PhD position in Computational Linguistics
Publication date 10 February 2020
Closing date 10 March 2020
Level of education Master's degree
Hours 38 hours per week
Salary indication €2,325 to €2,972 gross per month
Vacancy number 20-086

The Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) is looking to fill one PhD position in the research project The biased reality of online media – Using stereotypes to make media manipulation visible of Katrin Schulz and Leendert van Maanen.

The ILLC is a renowned research institute at the University of Amsterdam, in which researchers from the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Science collaborate. ILLC’s central research area is the study of fundamental principles of encoding, transmission and comprehension of information. Research at ILLC is interdisciplinary, and aims at bringing together insights from various disciplines concerned with information and information processing, such as logic, philosophy, linguistics, musicology, mathematics, computer science, artificial intelligence and cognitive science.

What are you going to do?

The PhD position is part of Katrin Schulz & Leendert van Maanen’s research project The biased reality of online media – Using stereotypes to make media manipulation visible, funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO). The project also involves a second PhD student and a programmer. This PhD project will be jointly supervised by Dr Katrin Schulz and Dr Jelle Zuidema.

In this interdisciplinary project we will use knowledge from linguistics and psychology to build a cognitive model that predicts how media sources affect stereotypical beliefs: general beliefs about characteristic features associated with (social) groups. Stereotypes play a central role in decision making, as they allow us to make predictions. This makes stereotypes a key factor in how media can affect our thoughts and behaviour. A more detailed description of the research project can be obtained from the project leader, Katrin Schulz.

This PhD project is situated in the field of natural language processing, in particular the area of developing models for learning meaning representations. You will work on the automatic prediction of stereotypes from text corpora. In the first phase, this will involve automatically collecting large datasets of texts from Internet sources, training word-embeddings and developing, together with the supervisors, the model that allows for  the prediction of stereotypes and biases. These predictions will be compared to actual beliefs of readers of these corpora by the second PhD student of the project. In the second phase of the project you will work together with a programmer on the realisation of an online tool, the 'Bias Barometer', that predicts, given a media corpus, which stereotypes it induces.

You are expected to:

  • work in close cooperation with the other team members on executing the described research project;
  • complete and defend a PhD thesis within the official employment duration of four years;
  • regularly present research results at international workshops and conferences, and to publish them in conference proceedings and journals;
  • participate in and to contribute to the organisation of research activities and events at the ILLC, such as workshops and colloquia;
  • participate in the ILLC and Faculty of Humanities PhD training programmes;
  • teach courses at bachelor’s and/or assist at master’s level in the 2nd and 3rd year (0,2 FTE per year).

What do we ask of you?

We are looking for candidates who have the technical skills and the scientific interest to conduct cutting-edge research in computational linguistics, and distributional semantics in particular. You should hold, or expect to obtain before the start of your employment contract, a Master’s degree in a relevant discipline, such as Computational Linguistics, Artificial Intelligence or Theoretical Computer science. Furthermore, you should possess:

  • outstanding research qualities, manifested in a high-quality Master’s thesis and possible also publications or contributions to conferences/workshops;
  • excellent written and spoken English;
  • good writing and presentation skills;
  • keen interest in interdisciplinary research methods and approaches;
  • ability and willingness to work in a team;
  • willingness to travel abroad for research stays, conferences and project expert workshops;
  • strong social and organizational skills.

Our offer

The recruited PhD candidate will be employed at the University of Amsterdam’s Faculty of Humanities, within the ILLC. You will be employed for 48 months for 38 hours per week – 1 FTE (including 0,2 teaching in the second and third years of the employment contract) under the terms of employment currently valid for the Faculty.  Initially, a contract will be given for 16 months, with an extension for the following 32 months, contingent on a positive performance evaluation after 12 months. The intended starting date is 15 June 2020. The gross monthly salary will be €2,325 during the first year to reach €2,972 during the fourth, based on 38 hours per week. The  Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities applies. 

Further information

For further information regarding the PhD position or the application procedure, you are welcome to contact one of the supervisors:

Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

ILLC wants to improve the diversity of its academic community with respect to ethnicity, gender, sexuality and class. Applications that contribute to this are particularly encouraged.

Please submit your application in a single PDF file (not zipped). Your application must consist of the following:

  • a detailed letter of motivation, stating why you want to carry out this particular research project and why you are the right candidate for this position (no more than 1,000 words);
  • a link to your Master’s thesis (if in a language other than English, a summary of 250-500 words)
  • a Curriculum Vitae outlining all relevant experience;
  • a list of all Master-level modules you have taken, with an official transcript of grades and
  • the names and contact details of two or (at most) three referees familiar with your academic record and research skills.   

Shortlisted candidates may be requested to provide additional materials.

Please quote vacancy number 20-086 in your cover letter.

Submit your application no later than 10 March 2020 via the link below and use the cs field to upload the PFD file specified above. Only applications that conform to these instructions are ensured full consideration by the search committee. In particular, please do not submit more than one file. #LI-DNP

Apply now

Please note that this newsitem has been archived, and may contain outdated information or links.