Postdoctoral Researcher DILEMA

Updated: 15 days ago
Deadline: ;

The T.M.C Asser Instituut invites applications for a position as postdoctoral researcher in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence to join the NWO-interdisciplinary research project DILEMA on Designing International Law and Ethics into Military Artificial Intelligence.

The DILEMA project explores interdisciplinary perspectives on military applications of artificial intelligence (AI), with a focus on legal, ethical, and technical approaches on safeguarding human agency over military AI. It analyses in particular subtle ways in which AI can affect or reduce human agency, and seeks to ensure compliance with international law and accountability by design. The research team investigates why it is essential to safeguard human agency over certain functions and activities, where it is most critical to maintain the role of human agents in order to ensure legal compliance and accountability, and how to technically ensure that military technologies are designed and deployed in line with ethical and legal frameworks.

What are you going to do

Within this project, the Asser Institute invites applications for a postdoctoral researcher with a background in computer science, to conduct research on how to integrate legal norms and ethical values in the design of autonomous technologies, and how to implement monitoring and enforcement mechanisms that guarantee compliance with these norms and values.

You will engage in fundamental and applied research in order to develop methods and prototypical tools on the integration of international legal norms in military technologies, as well as standards and processes to verify and certify compliance of AI systems with international law. Furthermore, you will test to which extent systems optimisation in line with international norms can converge with the goal of safe and effective AI technologies. You will work in collaboration with other members of the DILEMA research team, including a postdoctoral researcher in ethics of technology and a PhD researcher in international law, and be connected with relevant research groups of the University of Amsterdam.


You will: 

  • conduct fundamental and applied research within the DILEMA project;
  • publish articles in high-level academic journals;
  • develop and apply engineering methods on normative AI design and certification;
  • present research at academic conferences;
  • engage with project partners and relevant private and public stakeholders;
  • assist in the organization of research and dissemination activities within the DILEMA project;
  • work together with the other team members of the DILEMA project;
  • contribute actively to the Asser research community.

What do we require

The successful candidate will meet the following requirements:

  • a completed PhD in Computer Science or Artificial Intelligence;
  • familiarity with both data-driven as well as knowledge-driven AI methods;
  • a track-record of academic publications;
  • a strong research interest in responsible innovation and governance of technologies;
  • experience or interest in interdisciplinary research;
  • ability to work both independently and as part of a team;
  • fluency in English.

Our offer

The contract will be with the Amsterdam Law School. The researcher will be seconded to the T.M.C. Asser Instituut. The appointment will be for 38 hours per week for the period of two years. Starting date is 1 September 2021.

The gross full-time monthly salary will be in accordance with the salary scales for a researcher at Dutch universities, ranging from €3,746 to €5,127 gross per month, full time equivalent (salary scale 11, Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities ) and will depend on the actual level of education, experience and knowledge. Secondary employee benefits at Dutch universities are attractive and include 8% holiday pay and an 8.3% end-of-year bonus.

About the Asser Institute

The T.M.C Asser Instituut in The Hague is a research centre for international and European law. Its mission is to contribute to the development of international and European law by conducting independent fundamental research, policy-oriented research, and applied legal research, as well as by initiating and facilitating academic and expert meetings, (professional) education, and public events with a view to disseminating knowledge of international and European Law. The Institute is dedicated to excellent research and to strengthening its vibrant research community and a culture of critical-constructive reflection.
To work at the University of Amsterdam is to work in a discerning, independent, creative, innovative and international climate characterized by an open atmosphere and a genuine engagement with the city of Amsterdam and society. Here you can read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.


Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:

  • dr Berenice Boutin , Senior Researcher and DILEMA Project Leader
  • prof. Janne Nijman , Academic Director of the Asser Institute

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.

To apply to this position, please submit:

  • a motivation letter;
  • a curriculum vitae (maximum 3 pages), including a list of publications;
  • a research proposal (maximum 1200 words) describing the research the applicant intends to pursue within the framework of the DILEMA project. In particular the proposal should indicate how the applicant intends to address the issue of integrating legal norms and ethical values in the design of military AI technologies, including in terms of monitoring and certification mechanisms;
  • the name and contact details of two referees (referees will only be contacted at a later stage).

Submit your application in PDF format by email using the link below, to the attention of the Selection Committee, indicating ‘Application DILEMA Post-Doctoral Researcher’ in the subject line.

The deadline for application is 30 April 2021.

No agencies please


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