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4-YEAR PhD Position On Common-sense knowledge representation and reasoning for embodied agents

We are looking for a PhD student to work on representation and reasoning of common-sense knowledge to support robotic applications. You will work as a member of both the Knowledge Representation & Reasoning group (Department of Computer Science) and the Computational Lexicology & Terminology Lab (Department of Language, Literature and Communication), fostering the collaboration between groups.

ongeveer 2 maanden geleden


De Boelelaan, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
40 - 40 uur
€ 2395 - € 3061 per maand


The goal of the PhD is to study the problem of reasoning over different types of common-sense knowledge sources in order to support embodied agents to achieve everyday activities. We will work on developing new methods to allow robots to achieve knowledge-intensive tasks through combining existing structured data (knowledge graphs) and data-driven (machine l earning) approaches. The main idea is to exploit the large amount of common-sense knowledge graphs as background knowledge that embodied agents can use to better perform their tasks. Challenges such as identifying knowledge about contexts and the situations, extracting and reasoning over multiple types of knowledge, and integrating human feedback in the understanding loop will be tackled.

The research will be carried out across the Department of Computer Science and the
Department of Language, Literature and Communication. Your supervisors will be Dr. Stefan Schlobach and Dr. Ilaria Tiddi from the Knowledge Representation and Reasoning group and Prof. Piek Vossen from the Computational Lexicology & Terminology Lab. Both groups have extensive expertise in knowledge representation, large-scale semantic technologies and speech and language processing.

Your duties

  • Get experienced with techniques to manipulate large-scale knowledge graphs
  • Familiarise with off-the-shelf tools for robotic applications
  • Master research activities including framing research problems, proposing/implementing solutions, evaluating and presenting results


  • Candidates are expected to have completed (or about to complete) their Master degree in Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence or a closely related field
  • Interest around knowledge graphs and semantic technologies is required, knowledge of machine learning or natural language processing is also a plus
  • Proactivity, creativity and good communication and presentation skills are desirable, as well as the ability to work in a multi-disciplinary team


A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,395 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €3,061 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 1 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a duration of 4 years in total.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package

Additional information

Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until 31 juli 2021. Interviews will be held shortly thereafter. Expected starting date is 1 September 2021.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Dr. Stefan Schlobach - Dr. Ilaria Tiddi
Position: Associate Professor
E-mail: k.s.schlobach@vu.nl - i.tiddi@vu.nl
Telephone: +31 20 59 87678; +31 20 59 88704

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