Postdoc Position in Meaning and Understanding in Human-Centric AI Systems

VU University of Amsterdam Department of Computer Science


A full-time, research position is available at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam on developing hybrid, human-centric intelligent systems in the EU funded MUHAI project (Meaning and Understanding in Human-centric AI).


FTE: 1

Job description

The MUHAI project aims to create human-centric AI technologies able to better convey meaning and understanding. We will investigate how to create meaning of experiences through descriptions of events, actors, entities and their roles; intentions, values and motivations of the actors; and temporal, spatial and causal relations between events. These representations will be cast into coherent narratives that will allow an intelligent system to understand new situations through past experiences. This innovative project  will significantly advance the systems’ ability to capture rich and complex understanding by combining a number of AI techniques (deep networks, knowledge graphs, simulation engines).


Candidates are expected to have a background (Master or completed Ph.D.) in Computer Science or  Artificial Intelligence. Expertise in data modelling and semantic technologies is required, knowledge of machine learning is a plus. Good communication and presentation skills in English are required, as well as the ability to work in an international team.

Your duties

The position will be held in collaboration with Prof. Frank van Harmelen and Dr. Annette ten Teije in the Knowledge Representation & Reasoning group, a world-leading group in knowledge representation and semantic technologies. Regular contacts with the project partners (University of Bremen, Venice International University, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Sony Europe BV) are also foreseen. 

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 1 FTE.

The initial employment contract will affect a period of 1 year, with the possibility of extension for up to 4 years,

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
  • possibility to save holiday hours, for sabbatical leave
  • child daycare facilities available on campus

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 the department, institute, project

The VU Department of Computer Science has approximately 170 members, including 35 tenured staff members and 40-50 PhD students. The tenured staff members form the essential basis for the functioning of the department. A tenured staff member is required to make significant contributions to the research and education programs, and to spend effort on specific tasks at the department level.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until 15 September 2020.  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: 0031 (0)20 87731


Name: Annette ten Teije
Position: Associate Professor
Telephone: 0031 (0)20 87721

No agencies

In your application, please refer to