News and Events: Open Positions

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Assistant Professor Virtual Simulation of Human Conversational Behavior

Deadline: Wednesday 15 February 2023
Faculty/Services: Faculty of Science
Educational level: PhD
Function type: Academic Staff
Closing date: 15 February 2023
Vacancy number: 11030


Research on human communication has mostly focused on text and speech. In face-to-face communication, however, gestures, facial expressions, eye gaze, and body postures also play an essential role. This is especially true in sign languages, which are entirely non-vocal in nature. But in spoken languages, too, gestures and facial expressions play an important role.

Investigating such visual aspects of linguistic interactions is essential, not only to gain a more comprehensive understanding of human communication, but also to enable realistic virtual simulations of human conversational behaviour, which is needed for improved human-computer interaction (e.g., virtual assistants) as well as interactions between people in virtual environments (e.g., the Metaverse).

The Institute for Logic, Language and Computation at the University of Amsterdam is looking for an Assistant Professor to perform research on Virtual Simulation of Human Conversational Behavior, and to contribute to our educational programmes in AI, computer science, and linguistics. Your research will be part of the research programme Language Sciences for Social Good ( In particular, you will work closely with researchers in the SignLab ( and the Visualisation Lab ( who are interested in developing virtual humans capable of communicating in sign language, as well as researchers in the Dialogue Modelling Group ( who are interested in visually grounded language. Other relevant labs include the Computer Vision Lab ( and the Digital Interactions Lab (

What are you going to do?

You are expected to design, develop, and apply new methods to measure hand and body movements, as well as facial expressions and eye gaze of people when they use sign language or co-speech gestures, to analyse such data using state-of-the-art machine learning techniques, and to use the data to drive realistic virtual simulations of human conversational behaviour.

Tasks and responsibilities:

  • actively contributing to the research programme Language Sciences for Social Good;

  • conducting cutting-edge research, resulting in academic publications in selective peer-reviewed international journals, conference proceedings and/or books;

  • actively pursuing external funding for research, notably from the Dutch and European research councils;

  • actively contributing to and developing national and international research networks including both academic and non-academic partners;

  • developing and teaching courses at Bachelor and Master level;

  • (co-)supervising PhD projects, as well as Bachelor and Master thesis projects;

  • actively contributing to the development and improvement of the teaching programmes that the institute is involved in;

  • taking part in committees and working groups and carrying out departmental administrative tasks.

What do you have to offer?

You have expertise in Computer Graphics, Computer Vision, Natural Language Processing, and/or Sign Language / Gesture Research. Having expertise in more than one of these areas is evidently ideal for the position, but not strictly required. Readiness to participate in interdisciplinary collaboration is essential, preferably attested by previous successful collaborations with researchers from other disciplines.

Your experience and profile

  • A PhD degree by the time of appointment is strictly required;

  • Proven track record of publications in selective international refereed academic journals and/or conference proceedings;

  • Preferably prior experience in acquiring funding for research projects through government agencies or the private sector;

  • Preferably prior experience in supervising PhD research;

  • Motivational teacher, with an inspiring and engaging teaching style;

  • Willingness to take the responsibility for administrative tasks, such as organisation and coordination of university education and research;

  • Professional command of English and willingness to learn Dutch;

  • Possession of the University Teaching Qualification, or the willingness to obtain this within two years after employment.

Our offer

We offer a temporary employment contract for 38 hours per week for a period of 18 months with a probationary period of two months. The preferred starting date is is as soon as possible. A permanent contract follows if we assess your performance positive.

The gross monthly salary, based on 38 hours per week and dependent on relevant experience, ranges between € 3,974 to € 5,439 (scale 11). This does not include 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% year-end allowance. The UFO profile assistant professor is applicable. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Universities of the Netherlands is applicable.

Besides the salary and a vibrant and challenging environment at Science Park we offer you multiple fringe benefits:

  • 232 holiday hours per year (based on fulltime) and extra holidays between Christmas and 1 January;

  • multiple courses to follow from our Teaching and Learning Centre;

  • a complete educational program for PhD students;

  • multiple courses on topics such as leadership for academic staff;

  • multiple courses on topics such as time management, handling stress and an online learning platform with 100+ different courses;

  • 7 weeks birth leave (partner leave) with 100% salary;

  • partly paid parental leave;

  • the possibility to set up a workplace at home;

  • a pension at ABP for which UvA pays two third part of the contribution;

  • the possibility to follow courses to learn Dutch;

  • help with housing for a studio or small apartment when you’re moving from abroad.

Are you curious to read more about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits, take a look here.

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 Science has a student body of around 8,000, as well as 1,800 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 at the University of Amsterdam in which researchers from the Faculty of Science and the

Faculty of Humanities collaborate. Its 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, including linguistics, computer science, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, and philosophy. ILLC offers an international research environment with world-class faculty in all of its areas of specialization.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.

Any questions?

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

T: +31 642478627

Job application

If you feel the profile fits you, and you are interested in the job, we look forward to receiving your application. You can apply online via the button below. We accept applications until and including 15 February 2023.

Applications should include the following information (all files besides your cv should be submitted in one single pdf file):

  • CV, including a list of publications;

  • letter of motivation;

  • one or two writing samples directly relevant for the position;

  • the names and email addresses of two references who can provide letters of recommendation.

Only complete applications received within the response period via the link below will be considered.

The interviews will be held in the course of February and March.

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.

If you encounter Error GBB451, reach out to our HR Department directly. They will gladly help you continue your application.

Application form:

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