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  3. 2 PhD positions in information retrieval/NLP and data science/machine learning

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2 PhD positions in information retrieval/NLP and data science/machine learning

In 2011, the MOOC revolution began. Today, Massive Open Online Courses (or MOOCs) are being offered by many world-renowned universities, reaching millions of …

8 maanden geleden


Mekelweg, Delft, Zuid-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 40 uur
€ 2222 - € 2840 per maand


In 2011, the MOOC revolution began. Today, Massive Open Online Courses (or MOOCs) are being offered by many world-renowned universities, reaching millions of learners. Learning though is a complex process. Research endeavours have began to investigate how to enable active learning in MOOCs, a challenging task due to the learners' diversity and the extremely skewed learner-staff ratio. These conditions make peer learning a necessity: MOOC learners learn from each other, with little intervention from instructors.

One important and so far completely neglected aspect of online learning is search (retrieving information) and sensemaking (making sense of information): learners turn to the Web seeking additional information, and over time create mental representations of the material. However, Web search engines today are not built to support users in the type of complex searches often required in learning situations. The SearchX project brings together the - so far widely disparate - fields of learning at scale and information retrieval in a mutually beneficial manner.

SearchX has two goals:

(1) to significantly increase learners' engagement and success in massive open online learning through the tight coupling of search and learning in the SearchX framework (e.g. through conversational search, automatic question generation); and

(2) to significantly increase our understanding of complex search tasks which at this point in time is highly fragmented through the deployment of a battery of large-scale and longitudinal experiments exploring the main facets that define complex search tasks in the learning scenario.

TU Delft is one of the largest MOOC providers in Europe whose courses have attracted nearly two million learners so far. Conducting this project at TU Delft thus has the potential for significant and wide-ranging practical impact.

The position remains open until filled. The envisioned starting date is September 2018 (though negotiation of another starting date is possible).

The project is led and supervised by Claudia Hauff (https://chauff.github.io/).


We are looking for two candidates, one with a strong focus on information retrieval/NLP and one with a strong focus on machine learning/data science, with the following profile:

MSc in Computer Science, or a related field (including Applied Mathematics, Computer Engineering, Computational Linguistics);

  • followed MSc courses and have research experience (e.g. at Master thesis level) in the at least some of the following areas: information retrieval, natural language processing, machine learning (in particular deep learning), dialogue systems, and human computer interaction;

  • enjoy research and are self-motivated;

  • are team players;

have excellent communication skills in English.


TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit www.tudelft.nl/phd for more information

Additional information

For information about this vacancy, you can contact dr. Claudia Hauff (Associate Professor at the Web Information Systems group).
Email: c.hauff@tudelft.nl   

For information about the selection procedure, please contact Mrs.Drs. P.T.M. van den Bergh, HR Adviser, email: hr-eemcs@tudelft.nl

In your application include the following: a motivation letter, a CV, a (draft version) of your master thesis, and a list of grades for the courses you took. Also include the contact information for at least one reference (preferably your MSc supervisor). Please e-mail your application by June 25, 2018 to P.T.M. van den Bergh, Hr-eemcs@tudelft.nl. When applying for this position, please refer to vacancy number EWI2018-41.