4-5 PhD positions on data science, theme Humans

Updated: 4 months ago
Deadline: 06 Jun 2017

JADS: New research initiative on data science: 4-5 PhD positions on data science, theme Humans in a joint research initiative between Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and Tilburg University (TiU)


Department of Mathematics & Computer Science


Data Science Center Eindhoven

Reference number


Job description

THEME: Humans

JADS: New research initiative on data science

The Jheronimus Academy of Data Science (JADS) is the unique collaboration of two renowned universities bringing together their top academics to further the emerging and multidisciplinary academic field of data science. JADS not only offers nine academic educational programs (Bachelor, Master, PD.ENG, PhD and Professional) but also hosts three research centers; the Data Science Center Eindhoven (DSC/e), the Data Science Center Tilburg (DSC/t), and the Data Science Center Den Bosch (DSC/db) at the new Mariënburg campus. At these centers we conduct groundbreaking research on data science and create concrete societal value. 

The new Mariënburg campus on Data Science is located in a historic and beautiful former convent in the heart of the medieval city of ‘s-Hertogenbosch and is within walking distance from the central train station. It is the place where academics with engineering and business/social competences meet each other and participate in a wide-spread data science ecosystem. It is a buzzing and diverse place where learning based on data has center stage. The Mariënburg campus hosts lecture halls, academic labs, student apartments, data start-ups, corporate field labs, a coder dojo, and a data artist. By mixing students, academics, and companies, all on the topic of data science, we aim to cross-fertilize, innovate and transform data into value-adding insights and wisdom to advance companies, governments and society at large.

The Mariënburg Research Themes

The Mariënburg research group focuses on four themes that will each be addressed through collaboration from several disciplines:

  • Theme 1:  Business in a world of Data
  • Theme 2:  Humans in a world of Data
  • Theme 3:  Rules in a world of Data
  • Theme 4:  Services in a world of Data

In all cases PhD researchers will have their home base in Mariënburg. Moreover, PhD researchers typically will have one supervisor from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and one from Tilburg University (TiU).

Project description

Theme: Humans in a world of Data

In this theme, we explore methods that allow computers and humans to excel, in isolation and particularly in interaction, at what they do best. On the one hand, we examine novel statistical models that are more robust than existing methods in extracting knowledge from data. On the other hand, we examine how the output of computer models can be summarized and visualized for users in such a way that the information is transparent, reliable, and correctly perceived as trustworthy, so that any follow-up action can be decided upon responsibly.

The Mariënburg “Humans in a World of Data” theme will kick-start its research activities with the following subthemes:

  • Understandable Models. This project aims at developing novel methods for the visualization of the output and reasoning followed by machine learning methods. How can we create computer output that is understandable for humans, so that they gain trust and can make optimal subsequent decisions?
  • Man or Machine? Under some conditions, humans tend to outperform computer models; under other conditions, the computer models clearly have the upper hand. In this subtheme, we aim at a better understanding of this, and will analyze and experiment with known and new cases in which computer models outperform humans.
  • Speed-Dating the Computer. In this subtheme, we develop an interactive approach in which the system presents suggestions that simultaneously allow the algorithm to optimally learn the user’s preferences and the user to explore his or her own tastes better.
  • Shared Decisions with Bandit Feedback. In this subtheme, we will develop novel methods that allow for shared human-computer decision-making on (contextual) bandit problems.


This theme has openings for 4-5 PhD researchers.  We are looking for PhD researchers with expertise in one or more of the following fields: data mining, machine learning, data visualization, visual analytics, predictive analytics, and psychology.

PhD researchers are expected to:

  • Perform scientific research in the domain described;
  • Collaborate with other researchers in this project;
  • Present results at (international) conferences;
  • Publish results in scientific journals;
  • Participate in activities of the group, not only in ‘s-Hertogenbosch but also in Eindhoven and Tilburg;
  • Assist in teaching undergraduate/graduate courses;
  • Be willing to work at multiple locations (the Mariënburg campus will be the main office of the Ph.D. candidate, but one may also be temporary stationed at TU/e and/or atTiU or with one of our partners).

Job requirements

Job qualifications

Candidates should:

  • Have a Master degree in Mathematics, Statistics, Computer Science, Psychology, Econometrics, Law or a related discipline;
  • Have a strong interest in data science research;
  • Be highly motivated, be rigorous and disciplined when developing algorithms and software according to high quality standards;
  • Be a fast learner, autonomous and creative, show dedication and be hard working;
  • Possess good communication capabilities and be an efficient team worker;
  • Be fluent in English, both spoken and written.

The core team consists of prof. dr. E.O. (Eric) Postma (TiU), Prof. dr.ir. J.J. (Jack) van Wijk (TU/e), Prof. dr. W.A. (Wijnand) Ijsselsteijn (TU/e), Prof. dr C.C.M. (Chris) Snijders (TU/e), as well as dr. ir. M.C. (Martijn) Willemsen (TU/e) and dr. M.C. (Maurits) Kaptein (TiU). The team uniquely combines the fields necessary to solve the pressing question of allowing responsible and robust human-computer decision-making.

Conditions of employment

Appointment and salary

The PhD-candidate will be employed at Tilburg University (TiU) or Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e).  PhD researchers will be officially appointed at the department of the professor  who will act as prime PhD supervisor. We offer:

  • A full-time temporary appointment. The duration of the contract will depend on where the organizational positioning will take place;
  • A gross salary of € 2,191 per month in the first year increasing up to € 2,801 per month in the fourth year;
  • A holiday allowance of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3% (annually);
  • Researchers from outside the Netherlands may qualify for a tax-free allowance equal to 30% of their taxable salary. The University will apply for such an allowance on their behalf;
  • Assistance in finding accommodation (for foreign employees);
  • The opportunity to perform research in a large-scale joint project from a leading technical university and a leading high-tech company;
  • Support for your personal development and career planning including participation in the EIT doctoral training, courses, summer schools, conference visits, research visits to other institutes (both academic and industrial), etc.;
  • A broad package of fringe benefits (including excellent technical infrastructure, child day care, savings schemes and excellent sport facilities).

Information and application

For more information about the initiative, please contact research@jads.nl .

Selection procedure
The only way to apply is online by following the button “apply now” or "solliciteer direct". Applications via e-mail will not be accepted. By using the "apply now" or "solliciteer direct" button, you automatically will be forwarded to this specific vacancy on the website of Tilburg University (TiU). Because of the collaberation between JADS, Tilburg University (TiU) and Eindhoven University of Technogoly (TU/e) further information and correspondence regarding the recruitment process will be given by Tilburg University (TiU).

Candidates are asked to provide a detailed CV and a motivation letter that indicates one or more of the PhD projects that the candidate wishes to apply for. If your are interested in several PhD projects, please apply for the projects separately (by selecting the themes/vacancies you want to apply for).

Applications should be submitted 6 June 2017 at the latest. Selection will be on-going in the period March, 2017 - July, 2017. This means that suitable candidates will be interviewed and if deemed fit, be hired immediately without waiting for applications of other candidates.

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