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PhD Position in Data Science (Marketing Analytics) Tilburg University (4 year project 1,0)

In many domains, the last decades have seen a shift away from reactive towards proactive interventions. While the former take place after a critical event, the latter are meant to prevent this event from happening ...

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Warandelaan, Tilburg, Noord-Brabant
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
40 - 40 uur


In many domains, the last decades have seen a shift away from reactive towards proactive interventions. While the former take place after a critical event, the latter are meant to prevent this event from happening. This shift has been facilitated by the growing amount of data and the emergence of powerful prediction models that can anticipate critical events. Examples of this transition can be found in healthcare (e.g. early disease detection), law (e.g. proactive crime policies), risk management (e.g. credit scoring) and marketing (customer churn). Despite this trend, many companies and public actors struggle to balance the pros and cons of proactive and reactive interventions.

This PhD project will address this tradeoff in an exemplar business domain: customer retention programs, quoted the no1 priority of CEO’s and CMO’s (Forbes 2011, 2014). Many firms rely on reactive retention programs, mostly because they lack sufficient analytic resources to be proactive, or for fears of financial consequences associated with false positives and negatives. The advantages and drawbacks inherent to reactive vs. proactive interventions suggest that firms might be better off combining both approaches, and in particular, by determining for every customer, the optimal contact timing.

Surprisingly, there is barely any research that guides the decision maker in this choice. Our ambition is to develop a (Bayesian) decision theoretic approach using a combination multi-armed bandit and machine learning classification methods to optimize the actions of the firm.

The PhD candidate will conduct his/her research under the supervision of Dr. Aurélie Lemmens: (https://www.tilburguniversity.edu/webwijs/show/a.lemmens.htm) and Prof. Dr. Maurits Kaptein:


The project is funded by the Data Science Center Tilburg.

The positions include allowances for research expenses, including computer, participant costs, experimental materials, and travel and subsistence costs towards project-specific travel, including conferences. The positions also offer an opportunity to gain experience with teaching, subject to availability and qualifications.


You have or are about to finish a (research) MSc in Economics, Business, Marketing, Econometrics or related discipline. You have an interest in Big Data, Data Science, Machine Learning and/or Marketing Analytics. You have experience of designing, executing, and analyzing quantitative research. Your written and spoken English are excellent and you have a strong interest in pursuing a scientific career. You also have good research project management skills and the ability manage workload and resources to meet deadlines. You are willing and able to travel internationally (costs will be covered by the project grant).


The position preferably starts in December 2017 but a later date may be considered. Tilburg University offers outstanding employee benefits, as well as an inspiring work environment and exciting campus life. We offer a full time temporary appointment for a period of 4 years. The gross monthly salary will be in accordance with the salary scales for PhD candidates at Dutch universities, i.e. ranging from €2,222 in the first year to €2,840 in the final year. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities is applicable. Researchers from outside the Netherlands may qualify for a tax-free allowance equal to 30% of their taxable salary. The university will apply for such an allowance on their behalf. All university employees are covered by the so-called civil servants pension fund (ABP). The university offers very good fringe benefits such as an options model for terms and conditions of employment, excellent reimbursement of moving expenses, excellent technical infrastructure and sports facilities.

Additional information

For more information, please contact: m.c.kaptein@uvt.nl and/or A.Lemmens@uvt.nl. If you are interested in this position, please send your application on November 5, 2017 at the latest.


Tilburg School of Economics and Management

Tilburg School of Economics and Management (TiSEM) staat hoog aangeschreven. Het onderzoek, verenigd in CentER, behoort tot de Europese top. De Bachelor- en Masteropleidingen, waarvan er drie Bachelors en zestien Masters volledig in het Engels worden verzorgd, staan op de internationale kaart met het in 2002 verworven AACSB-keurmerk. Medewerkers en studenten vormen een ambitieuze, internationale gemeenschap.

Tilburg School of Economics and Management

Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Het onderwijs en onderzoek van de Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences (TSB) zijn georganiseerd rond de thema’s Gezondheid, Organisatie en de Verhouding staat-burger-maatschappij. Met een inspirerende werkomgeving daagt de faculteit haar medewerkers uit om hun ambities te verwezenlijken. Betrokkenheid en samenwerking zijn daarbij belangrijke uitgangspunten.

Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences