PhD Position in machine learning for the measurement of fertility intentions - NIDI-KNAW - The Hague

PhD Position in machine learning for the measurement of fertility intentions - NIDI-KNAW - The Hague

Published Deadline Location
20 May 5 Jun Den Haag

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Job description

The PhD project is part of the newly funded project “Using machine learning to improve the measurement of the European fertility gap”. The overall aim is to improve our understanding of fertility intentions by combining data from open-ended and close-ended questions from a unique large population-based demographic survey. The innovation will consist in the use of natural language processing and machine learning techniques to analyze the data. The PhD project is expected to contribute to the emerging field of computational demography. Substantially, it is expected also to help reduce the degree of uncertainty inherent in questions on fertility intention in surveys. This project is part of the Generations and Gender Programme (GGP) which is a multinational research infrastructure devoted to the study of population and family dynamics. 

The candidate will write a PhD dissertation based on a set of research articles publishable in international refereed journals. He/she will participate in meetings of the NIDI Theme Group Families & Generations, and other relevant research groups. He/she will be supervised by prof. dr. Anne H. Gauthier (NIDI-RUG), dr. Gert Stulp (RUG) and prof. dr. Antal van den Bosch (Meertens).


Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)


For this position, we are looking for candidates who can demonstrate a willingness and ability to invest in machine learning techniques, and can relate the findings to the substantive field of family demography. 

Specifically, we are looking for a candidate with:

  1. A strong quantitative background in social sciences, demography, humanities or data science
  2. Experience and affinity with advanced statistical or computational methods (e.g. R or Python) and experience in the analysis of large datasets (e. g. survey, register, or big data) 
  3. Demonstrated research experience (e.g. Research master) and published article(s) or presentation(s) at academic conferences
  4. Excellent knowledge of English (essential) and Dutch (desirable)
  5. Excellent writing and social skills 
  6. Knowledge of family demography or family sociology (this is an asset but it is not required).

Conditions of employment

The candidate is expected to start in September 2020. The initial appointment will be for a period of 1 year. After positive evaluation, the appointment will be extended for another 3 years. A psychological assessment may be part of the selection procedure. 

The gross monthly salary will be between € 2,325 (year 1) and € 2,972 (year 4). Benefits include pension contribution, annual holiday premium of 8% and an end-of-year premium of 8.3%. Non-Dutch nationals may be eligible for a substantial tax break (30% ruling). 



Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)

The Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI-KNAW) is an Academy research institute. NIDI conducts research on population issues and informs policymakers and society about the results of demographic research. By concentrating researchers from different disciplines in a single institute, NIDI has become one of the most important demographic research centres in Europe.


  • PhD
  • Engineering; Behaviour and society
  • 30.4—38 hours per week
  • €2325—€2972 per month
  • University graduate
  • AT2020-063


Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)

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Lange Houtstraat 19, 2511 CV, Den Haag

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