PhD candidate in Explainable AI

PhD candidate in Explainable AI

Published Deadline Location
5 Mar 10 May Maastricht

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The Department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering (DKE) at Maastricht University, the Netherlands, is looking for a PhD candidate to work on Explainable AI.
In a world of increasing number of choices, recommender systems suggest items for people to try or buy. Increasingly these include social recommendation such as recommendations of people (e.g., in domains such as jobs, dating, and micro-lending), as well as content on social networks based on credibility of people.
This candidate will apply and improve current explainable algorithms that consider fairness in these domains and evaluate the effectiveness of these explanations with end users.

Job description

The position is embedded in the current Explainable and Reliable Artificial Intelligence (ERAI) group of DKE. The group consists of Associate & Assistant Professors, postdoctoral researchers, PhD candidates and master/bachelor students. The ERAI group works together closely on a day-to-day basis, to exchange knowledge, ideas, and research advancements. We conduct both fundamental and applied research, with a focus on explainable Artificial Intelligence.

The PhD candidate will also benefit from a strong industry and (both national and international) research network such as PIs involvement with a Marie-Curie European International Training Network on Interactive Natural Language Technology for Explainable Artificial Intelligence (NL4XAI, where 11 other early stage researchers are working on explanations.

The full-time position is offered for a duration of four years, with yearly evaluations.

 The successful candidate is expected to:

  • perform scientific research in explainable AI as described above;
  • publish results at (international) conferences and in international journals;
  • collaborate with other group and faculty members;
  • assist with educational tasks (e.g., assist courses, supervise Master students and internships).


Maastricht University (UM)


  • M.Sc. degree in Computer Science, artificial intelligence, or equivalent;
  • Interest in learning user-centered evaluation methodologies;
  • Demonstrated (e.g. through publications, code, projects, etc.) interest and experience with the fields of explainable AI, and at least one of machine learning, recommender systems, argumentation, or computational measures of fairness.
  • Proficiency in English (oral and written);
  • Excellent communication skills;
  • Ability to collaborate in an international setting.

Conditions of employment

A PhD appointment lasts four years (first year + three years after receiving a positive evaluation), with yearly evaluations.

The salary will be set in PhD salary scale of the Collective Labour Agreement of the Dutch Universities (€2.395 gross per month in first year to €3.061 in the fourth and final year). On top of this, there is an 8% holiday and an 8.3% year-end allowance. The terms of employment of Maastricht University are set out in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Furthermore, local UM provisions also apply. Non-Dutch applicants could be eligible for a favorable tax treatment (30% rule).


Maastricht university. Maastricht University (UM) has around 20,000 students and 4,700 employees. Reflecting the university's strong international profile, a fair amount of both students and staff are from abroad. Research at UM is characterized by a multidisciplinary and thematic approach, and is concentrated in research institutes and schools. UM is renowned for its unique, innovative, problem-based learning system, which is characterized by a small-scale and student-oriented approach. UM placed #10 in Times Higher Education’s (THE) Young Universities Ranking 2019, and #127 in THE’s World University Rankings 2020.


The Department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering. Founded in 1992, we are a fast-growing department undertaking internationally respected research in the areas of computer science, human-machine interaction, artificial intelligence and applied mathematics. Much of our research takes place at the interfaces of these disciplines. We maintain a large network of industry partners and provide education through one bachelor’s programme and two master’s programmes, all of which are nationally ranked #1 in their cohort according to the most recent education rankings.

Situated in the heart of Europe and within 30 kilometers from the German and Belgian borders, Maastricht and its 120,000 inhabitants have a strong international character. It is a safe, vibrant city with a history spanning more than 2,000 years. The city’s rich past is reflected everywhere in the streets: the ratio of monuments-to-inhabitants is roughly 1:73. If you are unfamiliar with the Netherlands, UM’s Knowledge Centre for International Staff will gladly assist you with practical matters such as housing.

Our new colleague(s) will be joining a tight-knit department consisting of ~50 principal investigators, postdocs and PhD students, >750 BSc and MSc students and a team of 15 dedicated support staff members. Together, we come from over 40 different countries.

STEM research in Maastricht. DKE is embedded in the equally thriving Faculty of Science and Engineering. It’s exciting times for STEM research in the region of Zuid-Limburg, where Maastricht University (UM) is situated. For example, UM recently joined the Einstein Telescope Partnership coalition, which will bring STEM challenges to our doorstep through construction of the ET Pathfinder prototype in the near future. Furthermore, Zuid-Limburg is a hub for the high-tech industry. Maastricht University participates in the four regional Brightlands campuses: local tech ecosystems where fundamental and applied research, state-of-the-art facilities, industry partners and students meet. In addition, the university itself offers no shortage of inspiring collaborators through our international network and the five other faculties of UM.





  • PhD; Research, development, innovation
  • Engineering
  • University graduate
  • AT2021.74


Maastricht University (UM)

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Paul-Henri Spaaklaan 1, 6229 EN, Maastricht

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