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PhD position in AI: Decision Support for Climate Policy Design

Challenge: AI-based decision support for climate change mitigationChange: Design fair, interpretable, and human-centered AI toolsImpact: Trustworthy & unbiased AI support in real-world applications

3 maanden geleden


Mekelweg, Delft, Zuid-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
36 - 40 uur
€ 2395 - € 3061 per maand


The effects of climate change are expected to exacerbate existing inequalities, prompt social unrest and lead to stark geopolitical tensions. To address the interests and well-being of all the affected parties and minimize conflict, distributive justice should be at the front and center of policy design. The importance of considering distributive justice in climate policy motivates research in AI-based decision support to search for alternatives that are balanced across multiple sectors, regions, and generations, and counteract existing asymmetries in policy design.

This project will test the ability of hyper-heuristic methods to find efficient tradeoffs across global climate mitigation policies. The consequences of these efficient strategies at the global level will then be evaluated at the transboundary river basin level, refining the search by testing novel definitions of distributive justice in their ability to balance regional, multi-sectorial and inter-generational conflicts. Where these serve as feedbacks to guide the search in global climate policy.

This PhD position is one of the four PhD positions in the Hippo Lab (Hyper-heuristics for interpretable public policy analysis), which is part of the TU Delft Artificial Intelligence initiative to channel expertise in AI foundations to tackle societal and scientific challenges. The core goal of the Hippo lab is to advance multi-purpose decision support using collaborative AI and heuristic methods. You will work as part of an interdisciplinary team between the Interactive Intelligence section in the Intelligent Systems (INSY) department at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS) and the Policy Analysis section in the Multi-Actor systems (MAS) department at the Faculty of Technology Policy and Management (TPM), tackling the following major scientific challenges via the Hippo lab:

1. How can we integrate subjective notions of ethics and fairness into algorithmic design? 2. How can we create definitions of succes to find effective and equitable trade-offs in policy search?
3. How can we develop interpretable AI methods to gain public confidence and provide unbiased support in real decision-making contexts?
4. How can we support public policy deliberation via collaborative AI methods?

The Hippo lab is a Delft Artificial Intelligence Lab. Artificial Intelligence, Data and Digitalisation are becoming increasingly important when looking for answers to major scientific and societal challenges. In a DAI-lab, experts in ‘the fundamentals of AI technology’ along with experts in ‘AI challenges’ run a shared lab. As a PhD, you will work with at least two academic members of staff and three other PhD candidates. In total TU Delft will establish 24 DAI-Labs, where 48 Tenure Trackers and 96 PhD candidates will have the opportunity to push the boundaries of science using AI. Each team is driven by research questions which arise from scientific and societal challenges, and contribute to the development and execution of domain specific education. You will receive a 5-year contract and will be deployed for AI-related education for the usual teaching effort for PhD students in the faculty plus an additional 20%. The extra year compared to the usual 4-year contract accommodates the 20% additional AI, Data and Digitalisation education related activities. All team members have many opportunities for self-development. You will be a member of the thriving DAI-Lab community that fosters cross-fertilization between talents with different expertise and disciplines.

For other PhD positions in the Hippo lab, please visit: Hippo DAI Lab


The candidate must have:
- Completed an MSc degree in artificial intelligence, computer science, policy analysis, systems analysis, operations research, civil and environmental engineering, economics or in a fied relevant to the PhD research.
-Demonstrated competences in one or more of the following categories: in AI, i.e. multi-objective optimization, climate change mitigation and adaptation, water resources management, policy analysis and systems analysis.
-A proven record and interest in further developing your modelling, programming, analytical and scientific writing skills.
-Demonstrated programming capabilities.
-Ability to work independently.
-Affinity with teaching and guiding students.
-Team spirit and open personality for cooperation with colleagues and co-supervision of students.


TU Delft offers PhD-candidates a 4-year contract, with an official go/no go progress assessment after one year. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2395 per month in the first year to € 3061 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.

Additional information

For more information about this vacancy, please contact Jazmin Zatarain Salazar, Assistant Professor, email: J.ZatarainSalazar@tudelft.nl, tel: + 310621844151.

For more information about the selection procedure, please contact Olivie Beek, HR Advisor, email: hr-tbm@tudelft.nl.