Universiteit van Amsterdam

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Postdoctoral research fellow

Publication date
17 April 2015
Level of education
Salary indication
€2,476 to €3,908 gross per month
Closing date
22 May 2015
38 hours per week
Vacancy number

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 computational linguistics, logic, mathematics, computer science, linguistics, cognitive science, artificial intelligence and philosophy.

The ILLC has an opening for a 2-year Research Fellow (Experienced Researcher) position as part of the ESSENCE (Evolution of Shared SEmaNtics in Computational Environments) Marie Curie Initial Training Network (ITN), a four-year international collaborative research training project coordinated by the University of Edinburgh. This is a high-profile position that offers exceptional benefits ideally suited for top candidates.

ESSENCE conducts research and provides research training in various aspects of the evolution and negotiation of meaning within communities and computer networks. The research project supports 15 pre- and post-doctoral fellows that will work toward a set of different research projects within this overall theme, ranging from symbol grounding and ontological reasoning to game-theoretic models of communication and crowdsourcing.

Project description

The research theme of the post is related to modelling the evolution of meaning using data-driven models, and comprises of two main tasks:

  1. Producing novel research approaches to model the evolution of meaning in a specific conceptual space, with a particular focus on computational methods to track and analyse meaning over time. A relevant example of such a space is Artificial Intelligence itself, where definitions of its characteristics, constituent sub-fields and methods, and opinions toward it (e.g. regarding the benefits and dangers of intelligent systems technologies) are multi-faceted, diverse, and undergo significant changes over time. We expect that such approaches will largely be based on text analysis, data mining, and opinion modelling, but a variety of different methodologies is possible;
  2. The development of an integrated framework for the other sub-projects in the network to collect, share, and integrate data relevant to each individual research topic. This will involve close interaction with all members of the network, an analysis of their individual data models, the definition of joint conceptual vocabularies, and, ideally, the integration of appropriate software tools.

The position also has a strong career development focus, as the Experienced Researcher will be trained in research management and coordination, and will have the opportunity to spend extended periods of time with (non-)academic consortium partners. The researcher will be expected to work with other investigators of the ESSENCE network, both at the ILLC and at the other network nodes.


  • A PhD in Computer Science or a related discipline, or equivalent research experience.
    NB: Marie Curie eligibility rules require Experience Researchers to have at least four and at most five years’ research experience;
  • Marie Curie eligibility rules also require that candidates must not have resided, or carried out their main acivity (work, studies, etc.) in the Netherlands for more than 12 months over the past 3 years;
  • researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc) in the country of their host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the reference date;
  • a strong interest in Artificial Intelligence, and its impact on society at large;
  • early-career track record of high-quality publications in areas relevant to the research project;
  • proven ability to use data-mining techniques to detect changes of meaning and/or public opinion;
  • strong software engineering and programming skills, especially in areas related to 'data science';
  • excellent communication and teamwork skills;
  • willingness to travel abroad for secondments, meetings, and training events is essential;
  • an interest in corpus linguistics, theoretical semantics (investigating meaning) or theories of opinion dynamics;
  • experience working in teams, ideally with some management responsibilities for tasks or individuals.

Further Information

Informal enquiries may be directed to:


The full-time appointment (38 hours per week) will be on a temporary basis for two years.
The gross monthly salary will range from €2,476 in the first year to €3,908 (scale 10), excl. 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% annual bonus. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities is applicable. The successful applicant will work under the daily supervision of Professor Robert van Rooij.

Starting date is 1 September 2015.

Job application

Applications should be send in a single PDF file (not zipped) using your surname & initials as filename, and should consist of:

  • a brief letter of motivation;
  • a detailed curriculum vitae;
  • a list of publications;
  • the names and contact details of three academic referees and
  • a link to a website with an online version of PhD thesis and relevant publications (e.g. your professional homepage). Do not include articles of thesis in your application.

Applications must be sent to application-science@uva.nl, and should state vacancy number 15-134 and your surname & initials clearly in the subject line. Incomplete or unclear applications will not be taken into consideration.

The deadline for applications is 22 May 2015.
No agencies please

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