Three PhD positions on Computational Models of Well-Being (0.8 – 1.0 FTE)

Updated: about 2 months ago

Three PhD positions on Computational Models of Well-Being (0.8 – 1.0 FTE)

Job description HONDA and Utrecht University (UU) join forces to computationally model human mood, personality, and empathy in the quest to achieve natural human-robot interaction. As interface between humans and robot, several signals will be considered (e.g., ECG, speech, and video). Your models and data processing will be founded on a solid formal foundation and validated empirically on their robustness and ability to generalize. As a PhD-student you coach students, complete a personalized set of courses, and develop technical and conceptual skills. You learn to present, advertise your work, and communicate with media. As we consider it as key that our researchers enjoy their work, you have the freedom to follow your own interests within the project.
You will join a team of 8 PhD-students, embedded in a department with dozens of PhD-students. You will execute your own PhD-project in close cooperation with the other two PhD-students in this project. Moreover, you will also collaborate with several of the other PhD-students, who study a similar topic. You will have the opportunity to visit the HONDA Research Institute and/or become a trainee at their facilities. This is optional and can be short visits or a longer period. You will also become member of a larger international research group, allowing visits to multiple other labs as well.
In this position, supplementary to your research, you have educational tasks. These tasks can include co-supervision of BSc and MSc-students, supervision of practicals, work groups, and occasional lectures. Your supervisor will coach you also on education, such that your development also on this aspect is fuelled as much as possible.
You are encouraged to publish in renown scientific journals, newspapers, and appear in other media (e.g., radio). Additionally, you can visit conferences to present your work and learn from others. Throughout the process you will build your PhD-thesis, which will be a rewritten combination of your journal articles.


You are a team player with a strong motivation to pursue a PhD-degree. Next to that we would like you to bring:

  • a degree in Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Physics, Cognitive Science, Biomedical Engineering, Econometrics, Electrical Engineering or a related field;
  • demonstrated programming skills;
  • interest in psychology, communication science, and affective sciences;
  • a strong interest in interdisciplinary scientific work; good English academic writing and presentation skills.


We offer a personalized development program and extensive lab facilities including support. During your PhD you are ensured of the support of Haru , HONDA’s social robot! Next to that we offer:

  • a position for 4 years (0.8 - 1.0 FTE);
  • a full-time gross salary that starts at €2,541 and increases to €3,247 per month (scale P of the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities (CAO));
  • 8% holiday bonus and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities.

In addition to the employment conditions laid down in the CAO for Dutch Universities, Utrecht University has several of its own arrangements. For example, there are agreements on professional development, leave arrangements and sports. We also give you the opportunity to expand your terms of employment via the Employment Conditions Selection Model. This is how we like to encourage you to continue to grow.
For more information, please visit working at the Faculty of Science .

About the organization

The project is in close cooperation with the Honda Research Institute (HRI) . You get the opportunity to visit HRI in Japan for (multiple) short or extensive visits or traineeships. The current project starts with 3 PhD-students and support staff, who are embedded in the research group of Egon L. van den Broek, which contains 5 more PhD-students.
The group works on data-intensive real-time, real-world interaction paradigms, which utilize a knowledge-driven, data-driven, or combined approach. Their work is published open access in outlets such as Nature Computational Science , IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence , and (Nature) Scientific Data and led to several patents. The group aims to generate value for both science and society and, consequently, have impact.
The group of Egon L. van den Broek is part of the division Interaction  of the Department of Information and Computing Sciences , which is embedded in the Faculty of Science . Its departments work together to focus on answering some of humanity’s most pressing problems.
Utrecht University is a friendly and ambitious university at the heart of an ancient city. We love to welcome new scientists to our city – a thriving cultural hub that is consistently rated as one of the world’s happiest cities. We are renowned for our innovative interdisciplinary research and our emphasis on inspirational research and excellent education.

Additional information

If you have any questions that you’d like us to answer, please contact: Egon L. van den Broek via
Do you have a question about the application procedure? Please send an email to .


Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. If you have the expertise and the experience to excel in this role, then simply respond via the “Apply now” button!
Please enclose: 

  • a detailed CV;
  • a motivation letter;
  • scans of BSc and/or MSc transcripts (incl. grade list), with certified translation in English if the degree qualification is not in Dutch or English;
  • your BSc and MSc-thesis.

If you are within a few months from the completion of your MSc degree, we also welcome you to apply! In that case, please enclose a letter from your MSc thesis supervisor indicating when you are likely to graduate. We are flexible with respect to the starting date.
If this specific opportunity isn’t for you, but you know someone else who may be interested, please forward this vacancy to them.
Some connections are fundamental – Be one of them

The application deadline is 04/07/2022
View or Apply

Similar Positions