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PhD candidate in Language, Cognition and Computation

The Faculty of Science, Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science, is looking for a PhD candidate in Language, Cognition and Computation (1.0 FTE). This …

12 maanden geleden


Niels Bohrweg, Leiden, Zuid-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 uur
€ 2222 - € 2840 per maand


The Faculty of Science, Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science, is looking for a PhD candidate in Language, Cognition and Computation (1.0 FTE).

This project, “Evolution of meaning and structure in language”, aims to study cultural evolution in the emergence of meaning and structure in communication systems. The successful candidate will be supervised by Dr. Tessa Verhoef and will be part of the Media Technology and Creative Science research group. Research in the context of our group crosses “computation” with “creativity”. A multidisciplinary approach is taken that includes artificial intelligence and constructive machine learning, as well as elements from cognitive science, philosophy, and creative arts. For more information about the Media Technology program, see mediatechnology.leiden.edu.

The PhD candidate will be designing, running and describing experiments and developing novel tools for analyzing structure in multi-modal data.
Examples of research activities include, but are not limited to: conducting experiments to simulate language emergence with human participants, using iterated learning, social coordination and artificial language learning methods, and implementing and testing software tools for quantitative analysis of 3D body tracking data and video of gestures and sign language. The precise focus of the project will be determined in collaboration with the candidate.


  • Candidates are required to have a Master’s degree in one of the following fields (or equivalent): cognitive science, artificial intelligence, computer science, (computational) linguistics;
  • Preferable qualifications include practical experience in running and analyzing experiments, strong programming skills, the ability to work independently, good writing and presentation skills and a passion for research.


We offer a one year term position with the possibility of three-year renewal after a positive evaluation. Salary range from €2,222 to €2,840 gross per month (pay scale P, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. More at https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/working-at/job-application-procedure-and-employment-conditions.

All our PhD students are embedded in the Leiden University Graduate School of Science: https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/science/graduate-school-of-science. Our graduate school offers several PhD training courses at three levels: professional courses, skills training and personal effectiveness. In addition, advanced courses to deepen scientific knowledge are offered by the research school.

Diversity and work-life balance
Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups. LIACS strives for excellence in a caring Institute. We wish to reflect society both in age, gender and culture, as we believe that this would optimize the dynamics in our organization. Therefore, we support and understand the need for a work/life/family balance and consequent varying working hours and places. We believe that doing good science is fun, and goes hand in hand with a driven yet friendly culture. In the Netherlands, a maternity allowance is standard for 16 weeks. Child care is available at and near the Bio Science Park.

Additional information

Enquiries or any questions about the procedure can be made by sending an email to t.verhoef@liacs.leidenuniv.nl, please mention the vacancy number in the subject header.

To apply for this vacancy, please ensure that you send no later than 15 July 2018 the following documents to email t.verhoef@liacs.leidenuniv.nl, quoting the vacancy number in the subject header:

  • Your CV;
  • A motivation letter;
  • A link to (a draft of) your Master’s thesis, and other publications (if any);
  • The name of two references (who agreed to support the application).