News and Events: Open Positions

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PhD candidate in Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning

25 juni 2013
€2,083 to €2,664 gross per month
15 juli 2013
38 hours per week

The Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) is a 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, such as logic, mathematics, computer science, linguistics, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, musicology and philosophy. Research is organized in three research groups: Logic and Computation (LoCo), Logic and Language (LoLa) and Language and Computation (LaCo). Check here for an overview of the research being carried out in the different groups. For the research carried out by the individual staff members of ILLC, see their personal pages via People at ILLC .

The ILLC LaCo group is looking for a PhD candidate in statistical natural language processing and machine learning.  The University of Amsterdam provides an excellent environment for research in these areas with world-class faculty in the fields of statistical NLP and machine learning.

Project description

This position is part of a project entitled 'Learning to Reason by Exploiting Grounded Text Collections', headed by Dr Ivan Titov. The project is supported by a Google Focused Research award and the University of Amsterdam, and close collaboration with Google is anticipated. Initial funding is for three years, and further funding for a fourth year is expected.

The principle goal of the project is to model semantic content of a document specifically to draw inferences about the entities and their relations, explicit or implied, in the text (as needed for question answering or other applications requiring text comprehension).  This will be accomplished by learning latent semantic representations, in part, relying on text collections with entities linked to existing knowledge bases such as Freebase, but also on other types of supervision. See recent related work on inducing semantic representations by Dr. Ivan Titov.

The PhD candidate will be expected to fulfil the following tasks:

  • complete and defend a PhD thesis within the official appointment duration of four years;
  • regularly present intermediate research results at international workshops and conferences, and publish them in proceedings and journals;
  • collaborate with the researchers in other relevant parts of ILLC (and the University of Amsterdam in general);
  • participate in the organisation of research activities and events at ILLC, such as conferences, workshops and joint publications;
  • assist in teaching activities at ILLC.

Starting date:  1 October 2013 (earlier and later starting dates are negotiable).


The PhD candidate should have:

  • a Master's degree with excellent grades in a relevant field, such as computer science, applied mathematics or computational linguistics (may not be completed yet);
  • background in machine learning and/or natural language processing (desirable);
  • strong programming skills;
  • good academic writing and presentation skills;
  • good social and organisational skills.

Further information

For more information about the project, please contact the project leader and Chair of the Selection Committee:


The vacancy (1,0 fte) is on a temporary basis for a period of  three or four years, depending on funding. In the first instance, a contract will be given for 18 months. If positively evaluated, the contract will be extended for a further 18 or 30 months (to a total of 3 or 4 years).

On the basis of a full-time appointment (38 hours per week), the gross monthly salary amounts to €2,083 during the first year, rising to €2,664 during the fourth year. The Collective Employment Agreement (CAO) of the Dutch Universities is applicable.

Job application

Applications should include the following information, in separate pdf files (not zipped), using surname, initials and a self-evident word as file names, e.g. Smith J CV:

  • a curriculum vitae;
  • a letter of motivation (at most 1 page)  explaining why you are interested in this position;
  • a research statement (at most 2 pages), explaining your research interests and how you think they can be related to the topic mentioned in the Job Description above;
  • a list of all university courses taken, including a transcript of grades;
  • a short summary of your Master thesis (at most 2 pages);
  • the name and contact details (including email address) of two ~ three referees who can provide details about your profile (one of whom should be the main supervisor of your Master thesis).

Completed applications should be submitted by 15 July 2013 to, stating your name and vacancy number in the subject field with a copy (CC) to dr. Ivan Titov.  The committee does not guarantee that late or incomplete applications will be considered.

Please note that you may also apply even if you have not yet completed your Master~s degree.

No agencies please

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