Updated: 2 months ago
Deadline: ;

Would you like to join us in our endeavours to develop a deeper understanding of adaptive embodied intelligence, construct appealing demonstrators and publish papers in premier venues? Do you want to do push the frontiers of AI and robotics in an inspired team and educate the next generation of AI professionals? Then please apply as Assistant Professor (Tenure Track) in Computational Intelligence at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

FTE: 0.8 - 1

Job description

The research of the Computational Intelligence Group (

) addresses fundamental issues about how to design, use and understand autonomous machines that can evolve, learn and self-organise. We are interested in embodied intelligence that is not hosted in an abstract digital entity, but has a ‘body’ and agency that make it capable of acting in the world, generating its own experiences and learning from these experiences. To boost our 

research in learning machines

 we are looking for an assistant professor with the right background regarding learning algorithms.

The overarching goal is to develop novel algorithms and models that solve learning problems efficiently and to validate these in a range of scenarios, involving physical or simulated robots. In this regard, we are particularly interested in soft robots and robotic swarms. Possible approaches include reinforcement learning, evolutionary methods, surrogate models, statistical or symbolic priors, multidimensional quality-diversity archives, and distributed or social learning approaches.

Our facilities (used for research as well teaching) include a Bio-Inspired Robotics Lab with different hardware platforms, such as e-puck, Thymio II, Robobo, Crazyflie 2.0 and our custom-made evolvable robots. Furthermore, we have a cluster of powerful Linux workstations designated to simulation experiments

Your duties

The position includes research, education and management (40%:40%:20%) and contains among others the following responsibilities:

  • pioneering research into learning algorithms employed in robots, virtual agents, or smart devices
  • acquisition of research funding, personal grants or projects with a consortium 
  • supervising PhD students
  • teaching courses in the AI program, supervising AI Bachelor and Master student projects
  • outreach, including collaboration with other groups and publicity for the general public
  • being a valuable ‘departmental citizen’ and contributing to management tasks

  • a PhD degree in a relevant field and some years of scientific experience 
  • expertise in machine learning or sampling-based optimisation heuristics, for example, nature-inspired problem solvers, neural networks, reinforcement learning
  • ability to handle different application contexts and to work in an interdisciplinary setting
  • experience with teaching and academic management tasks
  • experience with robots, especially soft robots, is a plus that will be positively recognised

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 €3,974 (scale 11)

and a maximum €5,439 (scale 11), 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.

This is a tenure track position. A career plan to grow from Assistant Professor (profile Universitair Docent 2) to Assistant Professor (profile Universitair Docent 1) will be made and formalised in a Career Track agreement. The initial appointment will be for a period of 18 months. 15 months after the starting date, performance will be evaluated. After a successful evaluation permanent employment will be granted.

Do not hesitate to contact us if you want to discuss whether your qualifications are satisfactory for applying to the position. We encourage women to apply for this position.

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 endeavor – 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 30,000 students. We employ over 5,500 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 more than 11,000 students.

About the AI section
The AI section belongs to the department of Computer Science. Much of the AI research with the department is embedded in the Network Institute of Vrije Universiteit, covering disciplines such as Social sciences, Humanities, and Economics. The Department also actively participates in Amsterdam Data Science, a collaboration between more than 600 data science researchers from different institutions in Amsterdam.
The department explicitly encourages inter- and cross disciplinary research, and expects successful candidates to collaborate with colleagues in other fields of Computer Science, as well as with colleagues from other disciplines such as those participating in the Network Institute and in Amsterdam Data Science.


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


Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

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

Name: Agoston Eiben
Position: Full Professor
Telephone: +31 (20) 59 87758

Relocation support
If you have any questions regarding moving to Amsterdam, and working at VU Amsterdam, you may contact:
Name: Sara Veldhorst
Position: Relocation Advisor
Telephone:  +31 (20) 59 86212

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