News and Events: Open Positions

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PhD Researcher in Cognitive Psychology and Causal Modeling

Deadline: Monday 21 February 2022
Faculty/Services: Faculty of Humanities
Educational level: University
Function type: Academic Staff
Closing date: 21 February 2022
Vacancy number: 8074

Do you like/are you looking for a challenging job in a dynamic setting? The Institute for Logic, Language and Computation is looking to fill one PhD postion 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 Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (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. The research carried out at Humanities forms one of the six research schools within this faculty .

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). In this interdisciplinary project we combine knowledge from linguistics, psychology, and natural language processing to study the impact of (online) media on stereotypical beliefs people hold. In order to do so, we measure which stereotypes are expressed by computational language models and how such biases relate to stereotypical beliefs that individuals may hold. The goal is to develop a computational model to understand how media sources affect stereotypical beliefs.

The project involves two PhD students and a programmer. While the other PhD student will work on extracting bias from text corpora, you will focus on comparing these biases with experimental data from human participants. This might involve improving on existing experiment measures of stereotypical beliefs in humans. You will also be involved in the psychometric validation of the bias measures for text corpora. Finally, you will develop a causal cognitive model for the influence of media coverage on stereotypical beliefs. Your project will be jointly supervised by Dr Leendert van Maanen and Dr Katrin Schulz.

Tasks and responsibilities:

  • completion and submission of a PhD thesis within the period of appointment;
  • working in close cooperation with the other team members on executing the described research project;
  • regularly presenting research results at international workshops and conferences, and to publish them in conference proceedings and journal;
  • participating 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 Master’s level in the 2nd and 3rd year (0,2 FTE per year).

What do we require of you?

We are looking for candidates who have the technical skills and the scientific interest to conduct cutting-edge research in cognitive science, psychometrics, and cognitive modeling. You are open minded and eager to interact with researchers coming from different backgrounds. You can relate your research to other areas and societal needs and work well together in a team.

Your experience and profile:

  • a completed Master's degree in, for example, Psychology, Artificial Intelligence, Behavioral Data Science, Linguistics, or related;
  • You may apply if you have not yet completed your Master's degree only if you provide a signed letter from your supervisor stating that you will graduate before 1 March 2022;
  • a strong background in psychological experimentation and cognitive modeling/mathematical psychology; Familiarity with R or Python is of added value;
  • excellent research skills demonstrated by an outstanding Master's thesis and a demonstrable capacity to develop a track record of publishing in high-ranking journals and/or with leading presses;
  • a strong cooperative attitude and willingness to engage in collaborative research across multiple universities;
  • enthusiasm for communicating academic research to non-academic audiences;
  • Excellent command of English;
  • willingness to travel abroad for research stays, conferences and project expert workshops;
  • strong social and organizational skills.

Please note that if you already hold a doctorate/PhD or are working towards obtaining a similar degree elsewhere, you will not be admitted to a doctoral programme at the UvA.

Our offer

We offer a temporary full-time contract for the period of 48 months. The first contract will be for 16 months, with an extension for the following 32 months, contingent on a positive performance evaluation within the first 12 months. The preferred starting date is 1 April 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The gross monthly salary will be €2,443 during the first year to reach €3,122 during the fourth year, based on 38 hours per week, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. This is exclusive 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% end-of-year bonus. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants.

What else do we offer

  • PhD candidates receive a tuition fee waiver;
  • PhD candidates have free access to courses offered by the Graduate School of Humanities and the Dutch National Research Schools;
  • excllent possibilities for further professional development and education;
  • an enthusiastic, inspiring and professional academic team.

About us

The University of Amsterdam is the Netherlands' largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 30,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.

The Faculty of Humanities provides education and conducts research with a strong international profile in a large number of disciplines in de field of language and culture. Located in the heart of Amsterdam, the faculty maintains close ties with many cultural institutes in the capital city. Research and teaching staff focus on interdisciplinary collaboration and are active in several teaching programmes.

Curious about our organisation and attractive fringe benefits such as a generous holiday arrangement and development opportunities? Here you can read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.


Do you have any questions, or do you require additional information? Please contact:

Job application

Do you recognise yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application. You may apply online by using the link below.

Applications should include the following information, in one pdf file (not zipped):

  • 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;
  • the names and contact details of two or (at most) three referees familiar with your academic record and research skills.

Only complete applications submitted as one pdf file – received no later than 21 February 2022 via the link below - will be considered.

The interviews will be held in the second half of February, 2022.

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize 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.

Application form:

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