PostDoc in Machine Learning and Health

VU University of Amsterdam Faculty of Science


Do you hold a PhD in computer science and have an interest in healthcare? Do you have interest in the actual application of smart algorithms that are useful in daily care? We then invite you to apply for the position of Post-doc machine learning and health, a joint position of the Computer Science department of the VU, Nivel and the Emma Children’s Hospital at the Amsterdam UMC.


FTE: 0.8 - 1

Job description

The potential of AI within the field of healthcare is enormous.  The VU Amsterdam, Nivel, and Emma Children’s Hospital at the Amsterdam UMC join forces to unravel the potential of AI and specifically machine learning on clinical and follow-up data, using for example routinely collected data of millions of GP patients. Such data comes with its own challenges: it is of a temporal nature, is very sparse, and patients do not always express all their health issues to the doctor. Additionally, text notes created by the doctor contain abbreviations and are known to be notoriously difficult to parse. When developing models, they should be sufficiently insightful for a doctor to understand. To maximize the predictive value that can be obtained from such data, novel developments in the machine learning area are required, which is exactly the purpose of this position. The three parties involved have a substantial track record in the development of machine learning techniques for the health domain. For this specific position, part of the research will be conducted in the RESCUED project, funded by CVON and a collaboration with two academic hospitals, the Amsterdam UMC and the LUMC. The project aims to predict sudden cardiac arrest for diabetes patients. Another part of the research will involve the development of machine learning to predict a wide range of health care outcome using the Nivel Primary Care data base, with a focus on cardiovascular diseases. In addition, you will also contribute to the translation of the algorithms into practice. Together with implementation experts you explore what is needed to actually implement the algorithms in practice. You will discuss with doctors and patients under what conditions machine learning in general practice is acceptable. Finally, you will be key player in the development of clinical prediction models for long-term outcomes of a range of pediatric and young adult patient groups, including patients with an history of invasive surgery early in life (congenital and cardiac surgery), admission to the (neonatal) intensive care unit, and patients having sustained traumatic brain injury. These projects will be embedded in the Emma Children’s Hospital which is part of the Amsterdam UMC. The clinical prediction models will be based on a wide range of multidisciplinary data that is obtained by prospective structured registration during hospital admission (including continuous data of vital signs) as well as during later follow-up visits charting the child’s development on a wide range of outcomes.

Your duties

  • conducting research in the area of machine learning to create predictive models using routinely collected health data, resulting in high quality publications
  • contribute to the teaching program of the Department of Computer Science (e.g. supervision of Master students)
  • writing research proposals to fund future collaborations between the parties involved (and if desired to fund extensions of the current position)
  • act as a linking pin between the three parties involved in the collaboration (VU Amsterdam, Nivel, and Amsterdam UMC)


  • the candidate should have a strong background (PhD) in a relevant area
  • proven experience with the development and implementation of machine learning techniques
  • affinity with the domain of healthcare
  • good communication skills
  • team player
  • creative and inventive
  • writing skills

What are we offering?

A full time contract for 32 to 36 hours per week. The first 12-months you will be employed by VU Amsterdam, this period will be followed by 12-months employment at Nivel. The salary depends on experience and training and amounts to a minimum salary of € 2709,- (scale 10) and a maximum of € 4978,- (scale 11) per month on the basis of 36 hours per week. The job profile (researcher) is based on the university job ranking system. When funding is acquired, it is possible to extend your contract in the 2nd year while you are working at Nivel.

During the employment at the VU, you will participate in the ABP pension fund, additionally the 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 
  • contribution to commuting expenses 
  • good paid parental leave scheme
  • child daycare facilities available on campus

During the period at Nivel, (2nd year)

  • you participate in the Nivel pension fund
  • you participate in a collective public transport contract with a small own contribution
  • you get a end-of- year bonus of 6,83%.
  • you participate at Nivel POST program

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.

About Nivel

Nivel's mission is to carry out high quality research which has a demonstrable impact upon society. Nivel researchers gather, analyse and synthesise data and information to gain knowledge and insight about the quality and effectiveness of health care delivery and related social services, both in the Netherlands and in Europe.  We believe that the knowledge we create through our research supports the continuous improvement of health and social care for patients and the sustainability of the health care system as a whole.

About Emma Children’s Hospital at the Amsterdam UMC
Emma Children’s Hospital, now part of the Amsterdam UMC, was founded in 1865 and covers all pediatric specialties. With 164 beds and almost 951 employees, it is the is the largest children’s hospital in the Netherlands. Yearly more than 4000 inpatient admissions and almost 40.000 inpatient visits are being made to the hospital. Emma Children’s Hospital is a teaching hospital and offers vocational training in pediatrics. The hospital conducts more than 300 ground breaking research project in pediatrics.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until June 26, 2020. 

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions

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

Name: Dr. Mark Hoogendoorn or Dr. Joke Korevaar
Telephone: +31 20 5987772 of +31 30 2729711

In your application, please refer to