PhD Position in Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision and Video Understanding

University of Amsterdam


PhD position in action understanding

Publication date: 11 November 2019

Closing date: 17 January 2020

Level of education Master's degree

Hours: 38 hours per week

Salary indication: €2,325 to €2,972 gross per month

Vacancy number: 19-759


Are you interested in performing world-class research at the intersection of artificial intelligence, computer vision and video understanding? We are seeking a PhD candidate to tackle the open challenge of automatically understanding actions in videos. Within the fields of computer vision and deep learning, a lot of progress has been made in representing and recognizing concepts in images. However, the world around us is not static, but changes dynamically over time. Actions are well known to be hierarchical in nature. For example, actions can be decomposed into actors, objects, and context [1] or decomposed into action types. Most importantly, actions have hierarchical relations with intentions, which are vital cues for understanding why actions are performed and which actions will be performed in the future. In this PhD position the aim is to uncover such hierarchies and develop corresponding deep network architectures [2].


You are going to carry out research under the supervision of dr. Pascal Mettes at the Intelligent Sensory Information Systems group of the Informatics Institute.


[1] Mettes, Pascal, and Cees G M Snoek. 'Spatial-aware object embeddings for zero-shot localization and classification of actions.' ICCV. 2017.


[2] Mettes, Pascal et al. 'Hyperspherical Prototype Networks.' NeurIPS. 2019.


What are you going to do? You are expected to:

  • invent, evaluate and describe novel algorithms for action understanding;

  • pursue, complete, and defend a PhD thesis within the appointed duration of four years;

  • present research results at international conferences, workshops, and journals;

  • collaborate with other researchers;

  • assist in teaching activities such as lab assistance and student supervision.


What do we require?

  • A Master’s degree in Artificial Intelligence, Computer Science, Mathematics, Statistics or a closely related field;
  • a strong scientific and mathematical background in computer vision, machine learning, and deep learning;
  • good programming skills, experience with Python and deep learning toolkits is preferred;
  • a good academic record and eagerness to tackle challenging scientific problems;
  • fluency in English, both written and spoken.


Our offer

A temporary contract for 38 hours per week for the duration of 18 months. After a satisfactory evaluation the contract will be extended for 30 months and should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). You will get a customized Training and Supervision Plan, that will be evaluated every year.

The salary, depending on relevant experience before the beginning of the employment contract, will be €2,325 to €2,972 (scale P) gross per month, based on fulltime (38 hours a week), exclusive 8 % holiday allowance and 8.3 end-of-year bonus. A favorable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits? Then find out more about working at the Faculty of Science.



Do you have questions about this vacancy? Or do you want to know more about our organisation? Please contact:

  • Pascal Mettes Assistant professor
    T: +31 (0)20 525 8735 

About the Faculty of Science

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 6,500, as well as 1,600 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

The mission of the Informatics Institute is to perform curiosity-driven and use-inspired fundamental research in Computer Science. The main research themes are Artificial Intelligence, Computational Science and Systems and Network Engineering. Our research involves complex information systems at large, with a focus on collaborative, data driven, computational and intelligent systems, all with a strong interactive component.

The PhD position is embedded in the Intelligent Sensory Information Systems group, one of the larger groups within the Informatics Institute working on visual recognition and retrieval, headed by prof. dr. Cees Snoek. The group contains many PhD students from diverse backgrounds, working on a variety of scientific problems related to recognizing and retrieving video and images.


Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

The Informatics Institute strives for a better gender balance in its staff. We therefore strongly encourage women to apply for this position.

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your CV and cover letter by 17 januari 2020. You may apply online by using the link below.

Applications should include:

  • a motivation letter that explains the reasons for applying to the position;
  • a curriculum vitae, including a list of publications if applicable;
  • a link to your Master’s thesis;
  • a complete record of your Bachelor and Master courses, including grades and explanation of grading system;
  • a list of projects you have worked on (max. 2 pages);
  • the names and contact addresses of at least two academic references (please do not include reference letters).

All items should be grouped into a single PDF file. #LI-DNP

No agencies please

Apply now

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