PhD Position on Building Human Vision Using AI

PhD Position on Building Human Vision Using AI

Published Deadline Location
1 Feb 2 Mar Amsterdam

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Job description

Have you ever wondered how it is possible that we can understand the content of a photo in just a single glance? Human vision is a prominent example of intelligent information processing. Our visual system reliably extracts information under a wide variety of circumstances, allowing us to rapidly recognize objects in a broad range of conditions. While state-of-the-art computational models of vision are capable of human-level object recognition, they still face many challenges that are solved elegantly by the brain.

We are seeking a PhD candidate who is interested in the computations underlying visual perception in the human brain, who likes to bridge research insights developed in neuroscience, artificial intelligence and psychology using data-science methods.

The position is funded by the data science centre of the University of Amsterdam (UvA). The PhD track is part of the Brain & Cognition programme group of Psychology in collaboration with the Video & Image Sense lab of the Informatics Institute.

The candidate will be supervised by Dr. Iris Groen, assistant-professor at the Informatics Institute, and Dr. Steven Scholte, associate professor at the Psychology Research Institute. They will perform interdisciplinary research at the interface of cognitive neuroscience and computer science aimed at understanding naturalistic perception in the human brain using a computational data science approach.

What are you going to do?

You will be primarily based at the department of Brain & Cognition at Psychology, but also be present, for two days in the week at the Video & Image Sense lab at the Institute of Informatics (IvI) at the University of Amsterdam. Finally, you will be hosted for one day in the week at the Data Science Center.

You will be working with a multidisciplinary team on the analysis of human behavioural (categorizations, decisions, reaction times) and (neuroscience) data recorded from human brains (EEG, fMRI, eye tracking), or acquired from high-resolution camera’s, using computational tools and models from machine learning and computer vision.

Your tasks will be to:

  • train and test deep network models of visual perception;
  • generate models of brain processing;
  • develop and apply statistical analysis methods to compare computational models to human data;
  • collaborate with other researchers within the labs and the institutes;
  • complete and defend a PhD thesis within the official appointment duration of four years;
  • regularly present intermediate research results at international conferences and workshops, and publish them in proceedings and journals;
  • assist in relevant teaching activities.


University of Amsterdam (UvA)


What do we require of you?

  • A Master’s degree in Neuroscience, Cognitive Neuroscience, Psychology, Computational Science, Artificial Intelligence, or a related field.
  • A strong interest in understanding human behavior.
  • A strong interest in computational modeling of perceptual processes.
  • A strong interest in computer vision and machine learning.
  • Excellent programming skills, for example in Python, Matlab or C/C++.
  • Solid mathematics foundations, especially statistics and linear algebra.
  • A proactive and independent mindset.
  • Strong communication, presentation and writing skills and excellent command of English.

Conditions of employment

The position concerns temporary employment of 38 hours per week for a period of four years. The initial employment is for one year. Following a positive assessment and barring altered circumstances, this term will be extended by a maximum of 36 months, which should result in the conferral of a doctorate. We will put together a curriculum which will also include the opportunity to attend training courses and both national and international events. You will also be tasked with teaching Bachelor's students.

Your salary will be €2,443 - €3,122 gross per month, based on full-time employment and in keeping with the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities. We additionally offer an extensive package of secondary benefits, including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8.3%.

The UvA offers excellent possibilities for further professional development and education.

What else do we offer:

  • a position in which initiative and input are highly valued;
  • an enthusiastic and warm team that is open to new colleagues;
  • an inspiring academic and international working environment in the heart of Amsterdam.


University of Amsterdam

The University of Amsterdam is the largest university in the Netherlands, with the broadest spectrum of degree programmes. It is an intellectual hub with 39,000 students, 6,000 employees and 3,000 doctoral students who are all committed to a culture of inquiring minds.


Faculty of Humanities

A challenging work environment with a variety of duties and ample scope for individual initiative and development within an inspiring organization. The social and behavioral sciences play a leading role in addressing the major societal challenges faced by the world, the Netherlands and Amsterdam, now and in the future.
Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.


  • PhD scholarship
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2443—€3122 per month
  • University graduate
  • 22-8118


University of Amsterdam (UvA)

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Nieuwe Achtergracht 166, 1018 WV, Amsterdam

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