PhD Position in Artificial Intelligence

VU University of Amsterdam


The next generation of search technology should be ubiquitous, accurate, flexible, dynamic, intelligent, humane and safe. The DREAMS lab (Dialogues, REAsoning and Multilinguality for Search) will investigate such search systems, focusing on three main approaches: semantic, multilingual and conversational search.  The project is a collaboration between the Computational Lexicology & Terminology Lab (CLTL) and the Knowledge Representation and Reasoning (KRR) group, both at the VU, the Information and Language Processing Systems at the UVA and the Huawei Consumer Business Group, a world leading provider of cloud services for customers. At full strength, the DREAMS lab  will employ up to 9 people (PostDocs and PhD students). 


FTE:         0,8 - 1

Job description

To start the project the two VU groups (KRR and CLTL) are looking for 4 Postdocs (2 year appointment, with the possibility to extend to 4 years) to work on the following two subprojects: 

Your duties

  • Knowledge-based Text Classification with Explanation: In order to ensure users are not exposed to offensive or otherwise inappropriate online texts the ability to classify content into different categories is necessary.  This research aims to provide technical solutions through the use of state-of-the-art Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) approaches to automatically classify text content in different languages. Because current state of the art AI/ML classification methods have little understanding of the reasons why they classify inputs into different classes, this research will also address the challenge of explainability, which could be, e.g., on the basis of large existing (or to be constructed) knowledge graphs. 

  • Multilingual Single Model Information Extraction and Knowledge reasoning System: The goal of this project is to develop an automated multilingual information extraction tool to create high quality knowledge graphs. A critical step in creating such knowledge graphs is the ability for high quality information extraction from text, including named entity Recognition, named entity linking and disambiguation, coreference resolution, temporal information extraction, relation extraction and event extraction.The second goal of this project is to research reasoning over KGs. The research is expected to advance state-of-the-art reasoning and machine learning methods such as distributed embedding based reasoning, neural network based reasoning or hybrid reasoning.

In both subprojects, we will target content in 5 different languages with the ambition to expand this to all European languages.


We are looking for enthusiastic postdoctoral researchers who are curious about which knowledge and technology is required for  semantic, multilingual and conversational search, the classification of online content, and applying both in large-scale real world consumer-facing cloud services. If you want to take part in the team to create the next generation of knowledge and search technology you should apply.

We are looking for 2 candidates with a PhD in Artificial Intelligence or related fields with an interest in Knowledge Representation, but from a practical and pragmatic perspective. We also look for 2 candidates with a PhD in Computational Linguistics or related fields with an interest in multilinguality. Familiarity with Machine Learning techniques is considered an advantage. All appointments will be for two years, with the possibility to extend to 4 years. 

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €2,790 (scale 10) and a maximum €4,402 (scale 10), depending on your education and experience. The job profile is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.8 FTE.

The initial employment contract will affect a period of 2 years, with the possibility of extension.

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

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavour – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,000 students. We employ over 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.


We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

The Faculty of Science

The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to around 6,000 students.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until 15 September2020. Starting date will be as soon as possible after that date.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions

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

Name: Frank van Harmelen
Position: Full Professor
Telephone: +31 (0)20 87731
Name: Piek Vossen
Position: Full Professor
Telephone: +31 (0)20 86457

No agencies

In your application, please refer to