Postdoctoral Researcher in Machine Learning for Behavior Prediction, Energy Saving, and Predictive Maintenance in Smart Homes

Postdoctoral Researcher in Machine Learning for Behavior Prediction, Energy Saving, and Predictive Maintenance in Smart Homes

Published Deadline Location
15 Nov 27 Dec Heerlen

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Job description

Climate change is among the most impactful problems of this era. In this project, we aim at developing methods to facilitate a more sustainable life in residential smart homes, supported by the Internet-of-Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). More specifically, we aim at designing machine learning systems to support IoT-enabled smart homes by predicting the inhabitant behavior, infrastructural maintenance needs, and energy consumption/saving activities.

The objectives of the project are the (1) development of a machine learning system that uses the sensor data originating from smart-homes for inhabitant behavior/activity detection and prediction, (2) training predictive maintenance machine learning models using the sensor data from water systems, HVAC units, and radiators, (3) developing energy-saving models that optimize the inhabitant comfort and energy consumption based on the predicted behaviors of the inhabitants, and (4) developing a digital twin that can visualize the sensor data and simulate scenarios. The Postdoctoral Researcher will work alongside domain experts (data science, IoT engineers, and behavioral researchers) and partner companies. There will be opportunities to set up living-labs in residential households for data collection and prototype-testing.


  • Survey the state-of-the-art machine learning practices in the context of smart-homes, sensor networks, predictive maintenance, and the optimization of energy consumption.
  • Develop algorithms and train/test machine learning models for occupancy/behavior prediction, predictive maintenance, and energy consumption/saving.
  • Deploy and test prototypes on digital twins and physical living labs. 
  • Publish in relevant international journals.
  • Present progress in academic conferences and relevant industry workshops.
  • Actively participating in the joint research meetings of the project team and the meetings of the institute of employment.


The Open Universiteit (OU)


  • PhD in one of the following fields: computer science, information systems, electric/electronics engineering (or a related field) with a focus on artificial intelligence, data science, data analytics, IoT, or a related topic;
  • Very good understanding of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics;
  • Experience in data analysis and developing, training, testing, deploying machine learning systems in Python and/or Javascript;
  • Good social skills;
  • Ability to work with diverse stakeholders, e.g., industry professionals, academic researchers, living-lab inhabitants;
  • Ambition to collaborate with national and international partners and to stay abroad for (short) research visits in the context of the project;
  • Ambition to develop oneself as a scientific researcher;
  • Fluent written and oral communication skills in English;
  • Analytical thinking and creativity.

The candidate will be positioned at the Center for Actionable Research of the Open University (CAROU) in affiliation with the Faculty of Science of the Open University.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: Temporary position for 2 years, with intention to extend for another 2 years in case of additional funding.

The maximum salary for a full-time position is € 5.439,- gross per month (salary scale 11) in accordance with VSNU standards and depending upon your qualifications and experience.

The Open Universiteit provides good secondary benefits such as training, mobility, part-time employment and paid parental leave.


Open Universiteit

Flexible studying anywhere in the Netherlands and (Belgium) Flanders
The Open Universiteit is the part-time university in the Netherlands. Students follow personalised and activating academic distance education and disciplinary research is carried out within the various fields of science. Students can complete bachelor and master programmes, but also shorter programmes. The characteristics of education are openness, flexibility and quality (see The Open Universiteit has over 17,000 students and more than 750 employees. The OU has branches in the Netherlands and Belgium (see The main office is located in Heerlen.

The latest technologies and educational insights are applied both in the bachelor's and master's programmes and courses and in projects and programmes with partners. Nationally and internationally, the OU plays an important role in the innovation of higher education. Education is interwoven with research, which also ensures that the current state of science is incorporated. The Open Universiteit invests not only in disciplinary research in nine scientific fields, but also in research in a multidisciplinary programme: Innovating for resilience.


Faculty of Science

The faculty of Science is one of the six faculties of the Open Universiteit. Education, research and valorisation are the main tasks. The faculty offers academic bachelor and master programmes in the fields of Computer Science, Information Science, Environmental Sciences, and an Artificial Intelligence master programme is currently under development. The faculty’s research programme focuses on Innovating for Resilience. Furthermore, the faculty is partner in the Center for Actionable Research of the OU (CAROU). The faculty has Ph.D.-students who conduct research on various current topics within the research programme. As a result of the interdisciplinary focus on education and research, as well as the close link with practice, work at our faculty provides many innovative and challenging opportunities for entrepreneurial researchers.

The Center for Actionable Research of the Open University (CAROU)
The Center for Actionable Research of the Open University (CAROU), is a young and dynamic research group of talented scientists, engineers, facilitators, and makers. Conducting actionable research is our goal; research that has real, observable, tangible, actionable outcomes with both academic and business value. In order to achieve our goal, we like to build co-creation partnerships with organisations at the Brightlands Smart Services Campus in Heerlen where we are conveniently located, the region and elsewhere in order to support their innovative efforts both in the technological and social domains.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • Doctorate
  • AC/FAC/BW/22131


The Open Universiteit (OU)

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