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PhD candidate Neural Dialogue Modelling

The Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) invites applications for a fully funded four-year PhD position …

meer dan een jaar geleden


Spui, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 uur
€ 2325 - € 2972 per maand


The Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) invites applications for a fully funded four-year PhD position in the Dialogue Modelling Group led by Raquel Fernández.

This position is part of the Distributed dynamic REpresentations for diAlogue Management (DREAM) Project, which is funded by an ERC Consolidator Grant and will eventually employ two PhD candidates and two postdoctoral researchers.

The aim of the DREAM Project is to establish new computational models for dialogue agents that can learn from data about language use, integrating linguistic and perceptual information and leading to more human-like and effective communication. These models will be grounded in linguistic theories of dialogue, but exploit recent advances in artificial neural networks that will allow them to learn the representations that they manipulate directly from experience. Model analysis and interpretation are key aspects of the project.

You will become a member of the Dialogue Modelling Group, the mission of which is to understand dialogical interaction by developing empirically-motivated formal and computational models that can be applied to various dialogue processing tasks and to human-machine interaction. The group has a wide international network of collaborators, both in academia and in industry research labs.

You will be expected to contribute to this broad research agenda. Specifically, we will ask you to perform the following tasks:

  • to complete and defend a PhD thesis within the official appointment duration of four years;
  • to regularly present research results at international workshops and conferences and to publish them in conference proceedings and journals;
  • to contribute to implementation efforts enabling the computational research carried out within the project and the group;
  • to participate in and to contribute to the organisation of research activities and events at the institute, such as workshops and colloquia.

All PhD candidates at the ILLC furthermore are expected to make a small contribution to the institute’s educational mission, e.g., by working as teaching assistants for courses in their area of expertise and by assisting with the supervision of student research projects.

This PhD position will be embedded in the ILLC’s PhD Programme, which offers training in a range of transferable skills that are relevant for a successful research career.


You should hold, or expect to obtain before the start of your appointment, a Master’s degree in a relevant discipline, such as Computational Linguistics, Artificial Intelligence, Computer Science, or Cognitive Science. Candidates with an interdisciplinary background are particularly encouraged to apply. Furthermore, you should possess:

  • an excellent academic track record;
  • a serious interest in pursuing fundamental research of an interdisciplinary nature;
  • good writing and presentation skills;
  • good programming skills,
  • good social and organisational skills;
  • full professional proficiency in spoken and written English.

We are looking for a candidate who has the technical skills and the scientific interest to conduct cutting-edge research in Machine Learning that is directly informed by ideas from Linguistics and Psycholinguistics.

Please note that knowledge of the Dutch language is not required for this position nor is it required for being able to live in Amsterdam. However, PhD candidates at the ILLC have the opportunity to attend Dutch language classes if they wish.


The successful candidate will be employed by the Faculty of Science at the University of Amsterdam on a fixed-term full-time position (38 hours per week).

The appointment is intended to be for a period of four years. The initial contract will be for 18 months which will be extended with a further 30 months after a positive evaluation.

The gross monthly salary amounts to €2,325 during the first year, rising to €2,972 during the fourth year and will be supplemented with an 8% holiday allowance and an 8.3% end-of-year bonus. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities applies.

Starting date: 1 September 2019 or shortly thereafter.

Additional information

For informal inquiries regarding this position or the application procedure, you are welcome to contact:

Your application should include the following information (in one single PDF file):

  • a cover letter, including a description of your research interests and an explanation for why you are applying for this position (at most two pages);
  • a detailed CV;
  • a list of all Master-level modules you have taken with an official transcript of grades;
  • a link to a writing sample available online, such as a Master’s thesis, a term paper or a publication (in case of joint authorship, please clearly indicate your own contribution);
  • the names, affiliations and email addresses of two or (at most) three people we can contact for letters of reference for you.

Please quote vacancy number 19-052 in your cover letter and submit your application no later than 25 February 2019 via this link. Please use the CV field to upload the PDF file specified above. Only applications that conform to these instructions are ensured full consideration by the search committee. In particular, please do not submit more than one file.