PhD in Machine Learning with NLP and Computer Vision

at University of Amsterdam (UvA)
Published April 3, 2023
Location Amsterdam, Netherlands
Category Machine Learning  
Job Type Scholarship  


Faculty/Services:  Faculty of Science
Educational level:  Master
Function type:  PhD position
Closing date:  1 May 2023
Vacancy number:  11427

Are you passionate about machine learning, natural language processing, or computer vision? We are seeking a Ph.D. candidate to join the research group led by Ivan Titov (, part of the natural language processing group at the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC).

What are you going to do?

The research focus will be primarily on two directions (or their intersections):

1) grounded language modeling:  exploiting knowledge embedded in language and language models to help solve decision-making applications and produce generalizable and interpretable models for these tasks

2) learning and emergent communication:  developing general technology to create learning agents which can communicate with humans, explain their predictions and decision strategies, and also learn from human feedback.

The research is funded by NWO (Dutch Science Foundation). The researchers will be employed by the University of Amsterdam and will be a member of the Institute for Logic, Language, and Computation and the Faculty of Science. The collaboration is envisaged with researchers across the University of Amsterdam (e.g., Efstratios Gavves, and Wilker Aziz), as well as with the University of Edinburgh (e.g., Edoardo Ponti, Hakan Bilen, Sidharth N., and Kenny Smith).

Tasks and responsibilities:

  • complete and defend a PhD thesis within the official appointment duration of four years;
  • develop, study and apply machine learning techniques within the context of one of the researcher areas outlined above (‘grounded language modeling’ and ‘learning and emergent communication’);
  • publish research results at leading conferences and high level international journals;
  • collaborate with other researchers at the institutions, including members of the research group;
  • 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.

What do you have to offer?

Your experience and profile:

  • A Master's degree in artificial intelligence, computer science, mathematics, statistics, or closely related area;
  • a strong background in AI / machine learning / data science / modern statistics;
  • experience with NLP, computer vision and robotics is a plus
  • have excellent programming skills;
  • have strong mathematical skills (e.g., probability theory, statistics, calculus, and linear algebra);
  • have strong communication, presentation and writing skills;
  • show commitment, perseverance and a cooperative attitude;
  • enjoy working in a multidisciplinary research environment;
  • are highly motivated and creative;
  • have an excellent command of English;

Our 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). The preferred starting date is before December 2023. The work 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 gross monthly salary, based on 38 hours per week and dependent on relevant experience, ranges between € 2,541 to € 3,247 (scale P). This does not include 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% year-end allowance. The UFO profile PhD Candidate 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 Faculty of Science belongs to the University of Amsterdam (UvA), one of Europe’s most prominent research-led universities. It is a Top-100 university globally and one of Europe’s 15 best universities. With 35,000 students, 6,000 staff and 3,000 PhD candidates, the UvA is also one of the largest general research universities in Europe.

A prominent research area at the UvA is Artificial Intelligence. The UvA is part of the AI Technology for People initiative, where it teams up with several other key players within the Amsterdam region. Together they will invest 1 billion euros in the development of responsible AI technologies over the next ten years by setting up research programmes, attracting top scientists and educating students with state-of-the-art knowledge of AI. The UvA was selected by the European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems (ELLIS) as an Excellence Centre for AI to help keep in Europe talent in machine learning and related AI research fields.

The Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) is an interdisciplinary research institute that aims at bringing together insights from various fields concerned with information and information processing, such as computational linguistics, computer science, cognitive science, logic, mathematicians, and philosophy. It offers a friendly international research environment with world-class faculty in all of its areas of specialisation, including Natural Language Processing and 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.

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:

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 01 May 2023.

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

  • a detailed CV including the months (not just years) when referring to your education and work experience;
  • a letter of motivation and research statement (at most 2 pages, describing the potential research project)
  • a list of publications;
  • 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 May / June 2023.

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.