1 PhD position and 1 postdoc position on Socially Adaptive Computing

Group: Interactive Intelligence, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
Research Team: Dr. M. Birna van Riemsdijk (project leader), Prof. Dr. Catholijn Jonker, Pietro Pasotti and Dr. Malte Kliess
Deadline for applications: June 25th, 2017


You will be working on the CoreSAEP project (Computational Reasoning for Socially Adaptive Electronic Partners), an 800K personal grant (Vidi) for Dr. M. Birna van Riemsdijk, funded by NWO.

The goal of the project is to develop techniques for creating software that understands norms and values of people, which we call Socially Adaptive Computing. Through development of formal models we lay the foundations for intelligent supportive technology that can take into account social relations and human values, for example privacy, freedom and safety, when taking decisions on our behalf. Decisions may concern, e.g., which data to share with whom or who to contact if help is needed. This becomes more and more important with the rise of AI and Data Science and the increasing pervasiveness of intelligent technology in our daily lives.

Socially Adaptive Computing is challenging because the software needs to be able to adapt to diverse and evolving rules of behaviour of people in unforeseen circumstances. Formal models and reasoning techniques will be developed to ensure reliability (guarantees on the behaviour of the software) and resilience (flexibility in unforeseen circumstances).

We will use concrete application scenarios to guide and inform development of the theory. Specifically, we focus on behaviour support for vulnerable citizens such as dementia patients, visually or mentally impaired people, and children. Their vulnerability, in combination with the need for involvement of their network of family, friends and caregivers in providing effective support makes it especially important that supportive technology understands people's norms and values.

We have a PhD position (vacancy number: EWI2017-17) and a postdoc position (vacancy number: EWI2017-16) available.


The applicant has a Master's degree (and in case of a applying for a postdoc also a PhD) in computer science or artificial intelligence and a good command of the English language. We are looking for candidates with expertise in formal methods, knowledge representation and reasoning, or related areas. We invite applications across the spectrum from fundamental to more applied. Some expertise in or affinity with ethics of information technology is useful. We seek candidates who have an open mind and who are inspired by the opportunity to contribute to shaping the digital society of the future.


  • a PhD position (4 years) and a postdoc position (2 years)
  • salary for a PhD position is EUR2222 to EUR2840 per month gross, and for a postdoc position EUR2558 to EUR4084 per month gross
  • conditions of employment include a customizable compensation package and discount on health insurance
  • enrolment in the TU Delft Graduate School (PhD position)
  • excellent multidisciplinairy research environment and opportunities for personal development
  • extensive network of national and international collaborators


If you are interested in one of these positions, you can get in touch with Dr. Birna van Riemsdijk via email (m dot b dot vanriemsdijk at tudelft dot nl) if you would like further information. Note that applications must follow the formal application procedure as detailed below.


Applications will be accepted until all positions have been filled. The first round of interviews will be conducted based on applications received by June 25th 2017.

To apply, please submit the following application material to and state the vacancy number in the subject line of the email:

  1. Curriculum Vitae (with publications if you have any).
  2. Course lists with grades and degree certificates
  3. A letter of application in which you explain both your motivation and the relevance of your skills and experience for this research project. The motivational letter should be on-topic, generic letters will cause your application to be rejected immediately.
  4. A list of 3 (academic) references that we can contact
  5. When applying for a PhD position: your MSc thesis in English (or alternatively if your MSc thesis is not in English, a 5-page summary of your MSc thesis in English). When applying for the postdoc position: a copy of your PhD thesis (or a draft thereof) and a detailed list of your publications.