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Postdoctoral researcher in Neural Machine Translation

Deadline: Sunday 27 October 2019
Postdoctoral researcher in Neural Machine Translation
Publication date 17 October 2019
Closing date 27 October 2019
Level of education PhD
Hours 38 hours per week
Salary indication €2,709 to €4,274 gross per month
Vacancy number 19-681

The Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) at the University of Amsterdam invites applications for a two-year research position at the postdoctoral level in the Probabilistic Language Learning group.

Project description

This position is part of the EC-funded project Global Under-Resourced Media Translation (GoURMeT). The overall aim of the project is to develop data-efficient NMT by exploiting prior linguistic knowledge within deep generative models. A central theme of the project is latent variable modelling and for that experience with approximate inference and efficient gradient estimation for deep generative models is a must. The successful applicant will work under the supervision of Dr Wilker Aziz and in collaboration with PhD candidates already funded by GoURMet.

You will become a member of the Probabilistic Language Learning group, the research agenda of which is dedicated to probabilistic modelling of language data. The group's research revolves around efficient techniques for approximate inference and gradient estimation of deep generative models involving both continuous and discrete data. Applications of interest include machine translation, word representation, paraphrasing, textual entailment, and question answering.

What are you going to do?

You will be expected to contribute to this broad research agenda. Specifically, we will ask you to perform the following tasks:

  • to regularly present research results at international workshops and conferences, and to publish them in conference proceedings and journals;
  • to collaborate with other members of the project;
  • to contribute to the supervision of PhD candidates in the group;
  • to participate in and to contribute to the organisation of research activities and events at the ILLC, such as workshops and colloquia;
  • to contribute to the dissemination of research results to non-specialist audiences;
  • to deploy translation models once or twice a year as part of evaluation campaigns (both internal to the project and open campaigns such as the WMT).

While this is primarily a research position, as a postdoctoral researcher at the ILLC you will be expected to also make a modest contribution to the institute's educational mission, e.g., by supervising MSc or BSc theses or by giving guest lectures in courses related to your own area of research.

What do we require?

Preferably, you have completed a PhD in the field of Machine Translation. Exceptionally strong candidates with a broader Natural Language Processing profile or Machine Learning profile who indicate a clear interest in moving into the field of Machine Translation will also be considered. Beyond this basic requirement, you should possess the following qualifications:

  • a strong publication record (relative to your career stage);
  • experience deploying state-of-the-art neural machine translation systems (e.g. published and open-source code);
  • excellent writing and presentation skills;
  • good social and organisational skills;
  • full professional proficiency in spoken and written English.

The following will be considered strong advantages:

  • familiarity with deep generative modelling and variational inference;
  • familiarity with processes of word formation;
  • proficiency in a language morphologically more complex than English;
  • experience with the supervision of students.

Please note that knowledge of the Dutch language is not required for this position, nor is it required to live in Amsterdam. However, as a postdoctoral researcher at the ILLC you will have the opportunity to attend Dutch language classes if you wish.

Our offer

An employment contract for 1 year for 38 hours a week. An extension for 1 year subsequently follows if we assess your performance positive. The starting date is no later than 1 January 2020.

The salary, depending on relevant experience before the beginning of the employment contract, will be €2,709 to €4,274 (scale 10) gross per month, based on fulltime (38 hours a week). These amounts are xclusive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus. A favorable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits? Then find out more about working at the Faculty of Science.


Should you have specific questions regarding this position or the application procedure, please contact:

About the Faculty of Science

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 6,500, as well as 1,600 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

The Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) is a research institute in which researchers from the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Humanities collaborate. It offers a very international English-speaking research environment. Research is interdisciplinary and aims at bringing together insights from various fields concerned with information and information processing, such as logic, mathematics, computer science, artificial intelligence, linguistics, computational linguistics, cognitive science, musicology, and philosophy. The institute is located in the beautiful city of Amsterdam, renowned for its historic canals, its cosmopolitan laid-back atmosphere, and its excellent connections to the rest of Europe and beyond.

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.

Your application should include the following information (in one single PDF file, using your surname as the file name):

  • a cover letter, including a description of your research interests and accomplishments, as well as an explanation for why you are applying for this position (at most two pages);
  • a detailed curriculum vitae, including your list of publications;
  • links to two selected publications available online (mature drafts of papers or papers currently under submission are also acceptable);
  • a link to your PhD thesis available online (if available already) or an indication of the current status of your PhD thesis;
  • the names, affiliations, and email addresses of two people we can contact for letters of reference for you.

Please quote vacancy number 19-681 in your cover letter.

Please submit your application no later than 27 October 2019 using the link below. Only fill in the fields marked as mandatory and use the CV field to upload the PDF file specified above. Please note that we can only consider complete applications that have been submitted in this manner. #LI-DNP     

Application form:

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