PhD candidate position on Natural Language Processing for the Development of a European Drone...

Updated: 2 months ago
Job Type: Temporary
Deadline: 29 Nov 2020

The project contributes to the development of a European drone infrastructure. Working at the intersection of computer science and law, this project’s objective is to develop and implement a regulatory framework. Specific objectives include:

  • Identifying requirements that need to be met to ensure machine-interpretability and machine-executability of regulation.
  • Making existing Unmanned Aircraft Systems regulation machine-interpretable and machine-executable (as far as possible).
  • Developing machine-interpretable and machine-executable liability rules for Unmanned Aircraft Systems in an urban mobility context.
  • Together with an external party, developing an ontology that captures and organises rules into relevant concepts and hierarchies.The language-independent (semantic) character of this ontology would allow scaling the described features across language and EU countries.
  • Testing and, when necessary, adapting the rules based on the simulations in Living Labs.

Preparing a regulatory framework in a machine-interpretable and machine-executable format is highly innovative. More generally, contributing to a technical, legal, and governance infrastructure for drones in an urban mobility context is ground-breaking. There is a growing need to apply computational methods to develop data infrastructures and methodologies, and to apply them in a responsible way that contributes to a sustainable innovative society. Furthermore, this project allows obtaining experience in developing an entire state-of-the-art spatial Urban Air Mobility ecosystem which includes a governance model and framework (interoperable and scalable); regulatory framework (machine-readable and executable); geospatial digital infrastructure (technology agnostic digital toolbox); Identity of Things Scheme (identity framework for operators, drones, authorities and AI-algorithms); and interoperability frameworks (technical, semantic, legal/policy and organisational). Consequently, you will observe how the research results of the Ph.D. project are implemented in a real-life setting, and to make adjustments in the technical and legal framework for optimization purposes.

You will perform the research with the support of experts at the Maastricht Law & Tech Lab and the Department of Knowledge Engineering at Maastricht University. You will be offered the opportunity to collaborate with researchers from different disciplines, including data science, knowledge engineering, and law. You will be part of an exciting and vibrant community where researchers from different disciplines meet and form interdisciplinary teams that conduct academically and societally relevant research. You will be offered the opportunity to, in addition to gaining knowledge on, expand your horizon and gain insights not only on applying computational techniques, but also on law, regulation, and ethics. For this, you will be encouraged, coached, and allowed to attend courses and workshops that will add social and legal knowledge to your skillset.


Tasks are:

  • Perform scientific research by applying diverse data science techniques;
  • Validate the applied methods and tools through real-world experiments;
  • Present the research results to a variety of stakeholders and target groups applying diverse data visualization techniques;
  • Write scientific papers for international peer-reviewed conferences and journals;
  • Present your work in international conferences;
  • Finalize the work in a PhD thesis.

Supervision will be provided by individually assigned senior researchers. A small proportion (20%) of the appointment may be devoted to teaching activities. The majority of the work (80%) concerns conducting the research.

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