PhD in Synergies between Platforms

PhD in Synergies between Platforms

Published Deadline Location
16 Feb 10 Apr 's-Hertogenbosch

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Jheronimus Academy of Data Science (JADS) Den Bosch, is proud to start with three large Robust AI labs together with:

Deloitte (Auditing for Responsible AI Software Systems) – 5 PhD’s
DPG Media (Responsible Media Lab) – 5 PhD’s in collaboration with UvA
LaNubia (Innovation Lab for Utilities on Sustainable Technology and Renewable Energy) – 5 PhD’s

Job description

The project is funded in a public-private partnership by NWO/NLAIC and private partners. This position is part of the Responsible Media Lab. 

Description of the Responsible Media Lab (run jointly by UvA, JADS and DPG Media) 
How can AI contribute to the functioning of the media along the entire production chain (sourcing, production, distribution, engagement), and even fundamentally change aspects of the media as we know it? The lab will explore the potential of AI-driven solutions for the media, their professional role, opportunities for new business models and new ways of engaging with users, while taking into account professional values and the emerging regulatory framework for AI. The lab seeks to develop AI-based methods and solutions that facilitate more diverse news offerings to readers, working alongside human journalists.

The lab is a collaboration between UvA, JADS and DPG media and consists of 5 Ph.D. projects. All Ph.D. trajectories will focus on the development and evaluation of AI-based algorithms and tools to support responsible media production:

  1. Transparency and Explainability of AI Systems and Decisions for News (UvA: Prof.dr. Natali Helberger)
  2. Explaining Recommendations (UvA: Prof. dr. Maarten de Rijke, and JADS: Martijn Willemsen)
  3. Synergies between Platforms (JADS: dr. Ksenia Podoynitsyna and dr. Alexander Vossen)
  4. Network Perspective on the Content and User Behavior (JADS: dr. Ksenia Podoynitsyna and dr. Claudia Zucca)
  5. Generating Content (UvA: dr. Vlad Niculae)

All the Ph.D. students will closely interact with each other as the projects are complementary: they focus on either generating or better understanding the content, fueling further platform functionalities, or understanding interactions with the users of the platforms. While project 1, 3 and 4 focus on different aspects of the socio-technical system, project 2 and 5 are more focused on specific algorithms.

Short Description of the Ph.D. project
Digital platforms are booming. This research project is done in collaboration with DPG Media which manages various platforms and content brands, sometimes with distinct business models. 

Online scale matters when operating local and independent media. One way to achieve this scale and make the media more resilient is to run the different media types as a connected set of platforms. Taking care of network effects is critical when managing platforms: the idea of network effects is that as the number of participants on each side grows, so does the value of the same or another group of participants. The most basic version could be, e.g., the more users, the more valuable the media platform is for advertisers (cross-side network effects example). Network effects come in different types and sizes, and substantially shape both the value within a given platform and the synergies between platforms.
This project aims to identify and understand the implications of the dependencies both within and across the different platforms (e.g., different types of direct and indirect network effects, for example, not only driven by the sheer numbers of users but also by the variety of complementors, by their utility, as well as reputation and data models implemented on the platform). One of the research goals is to move beyond a simple userbase measurement of network effects and identify novel metrics for measuring network effects within and across platforms. Another goal is to find existing and help design new network effects. The studies’ results will allow DPG to predict new synergies across platforms and provide input for its recommender systems. 

Job Description
You will work on this project in close collaboration with DPG Media, which is active in the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark and carries brands in television, radio, news, magazines, online services, and telco, all of them being run on a variety of media platforms and sometimes with distinct business models. Historically, most of these platforms were managed separately, hence identifying existing and potential demand and supply synergies and conflicts is particularly valuable. From the research perspective, this is an exceptional setting in which dynamics and interactions between various types of users, content, platforms, and business models can be uniquely explored. The research will employ a variety of analytical methods to identify existing synergies and conflicts in DPG Media's multiple platforms and will combine these methods with experiments to validate design of the potential platform-synergetic network effects. 

This project is embedded in the Data Entrepreneurship unit of JADS, one of the three research units next to Data Governance and Data Analytics.


Tilburg University


  • A (Research) master's degree in Management, Strategy, Entrepreneurship, Organization Studies, or a related discipline with a (very) strong quantitative focus, a master's degree in Computational Social Science, or a master’s degree (or an equivalent university degree) in Data Science or AI with a strong management and/or strategy focus on the application side. 
  • A research-oriented attitude and track record of doing research (e.g. a master’s thesis).
  • Ability to work in a team and interest in collaborating with industrial partners.
  • Ability to communicate and translate the research results to practice.
  • Competence in R and/or Python; knowledge of Spark is a strong pre. 
  • Academic curiosity and an interest to collaborate in a multidisciplinary context.

Conditions of employment

Being appointed at JADS provides a meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious community of 2 universities. Based on the project, the candidate receives an appointment at TU/Eindhoven or Tilburg University.

As a PhD Student at JADS you will have a full-time employment for a total of four years, with an intermediate evaluation after nine months. JADS offers excellent employment conditions with attention to flexibility and (personal) development and attractive fringe benefits. The gross monthly salary is in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities. The minimum gross salary is € 2.541 per month up to a maximum of € 3.247 in the fourth year;

You are entitled to a vacation allowance of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% of your gross annual income. If you work 40 hours per week, you will receive 41 paid days of leave per year. PhD Students from outside the Netherlands may qualify for a tax-free allowance of 30% of their taxable salary if they meet the relevant conditions. The university applies for this allowance on their behalf. JADS will provide assistance in finding suitable accommodation.

Preferred starting date: June-September 2023.

To develop your teaching skills, you will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks. To support you during your PhD and to prepare you for the rest of your career, you will make a Training and Supervision plan and you will have free access to a personal development program for PhD students.

Next to that we offer all kinds of facilities and arrangements to maintain an optimal balance between work and private life. All employees of the university are covered by the so-called General Pension Fund for Public Employers (Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP).  

JADS values an open and inclusive culture. We embrace diversity and encourage the mutual integration of groups of employees and students. We focus on creating equal opportunities for all our employees and students so that everyone feels at home in our university community. 
All researchers working in JADS have contracts at either Tilburg University or Eindhoven University of Technology. Please visit Working at Tilburg University and Working at Eindhoven University of Technology for more information on their respective employment conditions.



We do cool stuff that matters, with data. The Jheronimus Academy of Data Science (JADS) is a unique cooperation between Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and Tilburg University (TiU). At JADS, we believe that data science can provide answers to society’s complex issues. We provide innovative educational programs, data science research, and support for business and society. With a team of lecturers, students, scientists and entrepreneurs - from a wide range of sectors and disciplines – we work on creating impact with data science. We do this by connecting people, sectors and industries: in the past 5 years we have been working with 300+ organizations on data-related projects. Our main drivers? Doing cool stuff that matters with data. Our location at the former monastery Mariënburg in Den Bosch houses a vibrant campus fully dedicated to data science. 

DPG Media
All Ph.D. projects in the Responsible Media Lab will work with DPG Media, which plays a crucial role in the Dutch society: reaching 92% of the Dutch population, it is the largest media company in the Benelux region of Europe (Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg). AI solutions in the news production chain at DPG Media impact all of the Netherlands: the lab will help develop and analyze AI innovations to ensure that this impact is positive. In particular, AI at DPG Media plays an important role in informing the public. Alongside their journalists, AI will enable DPG Media to offer a much more diverse pallet of information to their readers. Furthermore, AI will enable DPG Media to make the online advertising world more balanced, where DPG Media is in control of its own data processing and algorithmic processing, thus creating a much more sustainable situation for advertisers in the Dutch media landscape.
DPG Media will facilitate access to data and resources for all the PhD projects.


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society; Economics; Engineering
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3245 per month
  • University graduate
  • 21350



St. Janssingel 92, 5211 DA, 's-Hertogenbosch

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