News and Events: Open Positions

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PhD position in Natural Language Processing

Deadline: Monday 15 March 2021
PhD position in Natural Language Processing
Publication date 16 February 2021
Closing date 15 March 2021
Level of education Master's degree
Hours 38 hours per week
Salary indication €2,395 to €3.061 gross per month
Vacancy number 21-101

Are you looking for a PhD position where you can combine insights from machine learning and cognitive science? Are you interested in improving and better understanding artificial intelligence systems for natural language processing? If you are excited about doing this kind of research in an interdisciplinary environment, with a team of smart and friendly colleagues, then you may want to join us at the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC).

We are looking for a PhD candidate in the field of NLP to join the Dialogue Modelling Group led by Raquel Fernández at the ILLC, University of Amsterdam (UvA), in a project that will be carried out in collaboration with Barbara Plank’s NLP research lab at IT University of Copenhagen. The main goal of the project is to advance performance on language understanding tasks and to shed new light on interpretability questions in AI by using human gaze data. This PhD position is funded by the Amsterdam Unit of ELLIS (the European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems).

What are you going to do?

You are expected to:

  • complete and defend a PhD thesis within the official appointment 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 contribute to the organisation of research activities and events at the ILLC, such as workshops and colloquia;
  • make a small contribution to the ILLC’s educational mission, by working as a teaching assistant for courses in your area of expertise and by assisting with the supervision of student research projects.

While you will be based in Amsterdam, you will be required to spend some time in Copenhagen (for example, 3 months per year).

What do we require?

You should hold, or expect to obtain before the start of your appointment, a Master’s degree in a relevant discipline, such as Computational Linguistics, AI, Computer Science, or Cognitive Science. You also should possess:

  • an excellent academic track record;
  • a serious interest in pursuing fundamental research;
  • good programming skills and experience with deep learning methods for NLP;
  • good writing and presentation skills;
  • good social and organizational skills;
  • full professional proficiency in spoken and written English.

You must be able to start by 1 September 2021 (starting earlier is possible).

Please note that knowledge of the Dutch language is not required for this position, nor is it required for being able to live in Amsterdam. However, PhD candidates at the ILLC have the opportunity to attend Dutch language classes if they wish.

Our offer

We offer a temporary contract for 38 hours per week for the duration of 4 years (the initial contract will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended for a total duration of 4 years). This should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. We also expect you to assist in teaching undergraduates and master students.

The salary, depending on relevant experience before the beginning of the employment contract, will be €2,395 to €3,061 (scale P) gross per month, based on full-time employment (38 hours a week). These amounts are exclusive 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% end-of-year bonus. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The  Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities applies. 

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits such as our excellent opportunities for study and development? Take a look at our website.

Further information

Do you have questions about this vacancy? Or do you want to know more about our organisation? Please contact:

About the Faculty of Science and the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 7,000, 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 an interdisciplinary research institute, shared between the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Humanities, where computational linguists, computer scientists, cognitive scientists, logicians, mathematicians, and philosophers collaborate. It offers an international research environment with world-class faculty in all of its areas of specialization, including several areas of specialization within AI. We are based in the beautiful city of Amsterdam, renowned for its historic system of canals, its laid-back cosmopolitan atmosphere, and its excellent connections to the rest of Europe and the world.

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.

We aim at building a diverse team. All applications are welcome, especially those by women and members of other underrepresented groups are encouraged.

Interested? Then we look forward to receiving your application by 15 March 2021. You can apply online by using the link below.

Applications should consist of 1 single PDF file containing:

  • a motivation letter (1 or 2 pages maximum) explaining why you are interested in this PhD position and how your profile fits the position;
  • a detailed CV;
  • a list of all Master-level modules you have taken, with an official transcript of grades;
  • a link to a writing sample (you have made) available online, such as a Master’s thesis, a term paper, or a publication;
  • the names, affiliations, and email addresses of two or three academic/professional references.

Please use the mandatory CV field to upload the PDF 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.

We will invite potential candidates for interviews in the second half of April 2021.


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