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  3. Two PhD positions in Human-Centred Artificial Intelligence for Mobility (1.0 FTE)

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Two PhD positions in Human-Centred Artificial Intelligence for Mobility (1.0 FTE)

Play your part and come help us with AI research to inspire and support NS passengers.

2 maanden geleden


Domplein, Utrecht, Utrecht
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 40 uur
€ 2395 - € 3061 per maand


Utrecht University (UU) is working together with the Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) to translate challenging problems related to passenger mobility into scientific questions. The joint aim is to develop scientific breakthroughs to solve these problems and put them into practice.

Through a coalition formed by Ahold Delhaize, ING, KLM, Philips, and NS, an initiative was established called “Kickstart AI”, based on the conviction that artificial intelligence (“AI”) will become an increasingly decisive part of business operations and with the aim to increase the application level of AI within the Dutch business community and the Dutch AI training capacity. As part of Kickstart AI, NS and UU realized joint appointments, including two 5-year PhD positions.

You will work in an NS team lead by Leo van der Meulen, under the supervision of Professor Judith Masthoff. The positions include 70% research and 30% teaching. Two days per week you will be based at the NS Utrecht office. Three days you will be based in the UU AI & Mobility lab.

The research will focus on human-centred AI to (1) support existing NS customers in making the next-best actions and (2) regain customers by giving them tailored travel inspiration. The two PhD-students will research the following topics:

  • Personalized communication: Transparent, adaptive, interactive customer-AI communication, which allows customers to take control of and, consequently, influence their experience positively. AI-induced communication of when what, and how to provide information is central.
  • Context modelling: External influences can significantly influence the travel experience and preferences (e.g., concerts and soccer games, weather, and luggage). AI-induced, personalized context models steer when, what, and how these influences are taken into account.

In both topics, ethics and psychological mechanisms are key.

You will build on previous research on AI, personalization, adaptive interaction, and user/context modelling. You will use a mixture of qualitative (e.g., interviews and focus groups), quantitative (e.g., empirical studies), and AI (e.g. data-driven user modelling) methods. Your research will result in both high-quality scientific publications and novel AI-induced NS products to realize real world impact.

You will be involved in supporting the preparation and teaching of BSc and MSc courses, offered by the UU Department of Information and Computing Sciences. Furthermore, you will supervise BSc and MSc-student graduation projects, including internships of UU students with NS.


We are looking for candidates that meet the following profile:

  • an MSc-degree in Artificial Intelligence, Human-Computer Interaction, or a related field (or graduation within the next months);
  • experience in human-centred AI research;
  • a strong interest in conducting research in the area of adaptive interactive systems;
  • good knowledge of cognitive and communication sciences;
  • good prototyping/programming and data analysis skills;
  • committed to inspirational teaching;
  • good communicative skills in both Dutch and English, both in writing and speech; and
  • good critical thinking and collaboration skills.


We offer an exciting opportunity to conduct research in an applied setting. You will receive appropriate training, personal supervision, and guidance for both your research and teaching tasks, which will provide an excellent start to an academic or industrial research career.

In addition, you will have

  • a full-time position for 5 years;
  • the opportunity to design an individual training plan to further strengthen your knowledge base;
  • a full-time gross salary starting at €2,395 in the first year and increasing to €3,061 in the fourth year (scale P Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities, CAO);
  • 8% holiday bonus and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • the opportunity to work in collaborative, social, and dedicated teams at both the UU and NS; and
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions, based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities (CAO).

In addition to the employment conditions laid down in the CAO for Dutch Universities, UU has its own arrangements. For example, there are agreements on professional development, leave arrangements and sports. We also give you the opportunity to expand your terms of employment via the Employment Conditions Selection Model. This is how we like to encourage you to continue to grow.

More information about working at the Faculty of Science can be found here.

Additional information

If you have any questions about this position, please contact Professor Judith Masthoff via j.f.m.masthoff@uu.nl.

Do you have a question about the application procedure? Then please send an email to science.recruitment@uu.nl.