PhD position in Rational Verification and Synthesis in Multi-Agent Systems (1.0 FTE)

PhD position in Rational Verification and Synthesis in Multi-Agent Systems (1.0 FTE)

Published Deadline Location
24 Apr 12 Jun Utrecht

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Exciting opportunity to work in a collaborative and dedicated team of researchers in the area of Rational Verification and Synthesis in Multi-Agent Systems!

Job description

In complex multi-agent systems, decisions made by one agent affect the rational responses of other agents and hence the behaviour of the whole system. Given a model of the causal relationships in a multi-agent system, you will investigate:

  1. how to generate a computational model of the multiagent system based on the causal relationships;
  2. how automated verification techniques can be used to predict the effects on overall system behaviour of changes to the system; and
  3. how to synthesise strategies for a particular agent to achieve an overall system goal when other agents in the system adopt rational strategies. 

This PhD position is part of the CAUSES project funded by NWO and ProRail, the Netherlands railway infrastructure organisation. ProRail will provide the data and simulation environments for use in the project. You will work with another PhD candidate who will focus on how causal models of multi-agent systems can be learned. Supported by developers from the innovation and development lab and the data scientists at ProRail, both PhD candidates will be involved in designing and implementing a decision support system based on the results of the project, and will regularly visit ProRail for consultation and development.

You will also be involved in teaching activities (max. 15%) such as supporting the preparation and teaching of Bachelor- and Master level courses and supervising student theses. Next to that you will also manage research infrastructure and participate in public outreach. You will be part of the Intelligent Systems (IS) group, led by Professor Mehdi Dastani, who will also be your daily supervisor along with Dr. Natasha Alechina.


Utrecht University


To join our team we are looking for a candidate with perseverance and a committed spirit. You also have: 

  • a Master’s degree in Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, or a related field;
  • a solid background in modal or temporal logic and algorithmic complexity;
  • understanding of basic AI concepts and techniques (intelligent agents, planning, learning, simulation);
  • demonstrable programming skills;
  • excellent communication skills in English, both in speech and in writing.

Conditions of employment

We offer an exciting opportunity to contribute to our international education programme with highly motivated students and to conduct your own research project at a renowned research university. You will receive appropriate training, personal supervision, and guidance for both your research and teaching tasks, which will provide an excellent start to an academic career.

In addition, you will have:

  • the opportunity to work in a collaborative, social, and dedicated team of researchers;
  • a full-time position for 4 years;
  • a full-time gross salary starting at €2,541 in the first year and increasing to €3,247 in the fourth year (scale P Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities (cao));
  • benefits including 8% holiday bonus and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities.

In addition to the employment conditions from the CAO for Dutch Universities, Utrecht University has a number of its own arrangements. These include agreements on professional development, leave arrangements and sports. We also give you the opportunity to expand your terms of employment through the Employment Conditions Selection Model. This is how we encourage you to grow.

For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University.


Sharing science, shaping tomorrow. A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major strategic themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

At the Faculty of Science there are 6 departments to make a fundamental connection with: Biology, Chemistry, Information and Computing Sciences, Mathematics, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Physics. Each of these is made up of distinct institutes that work together to focus on answering some of humanity’s most pressing problems. More fundamental still are the individual research groups – the building blocks of our ambitious scientific projects.

The Department of Information and Computing Sciences is nationally and internationally known for its research in computer science and information science. The Department provides and contributes to the undergraduate programs in Computer Science, Information Science, and Artificial Intelligence and a number of research Master's programmes in these fields. It employs over 200 people in four divisions: Interaction, Algorithms, Data Science & Artificial Intelligence, and Software Systems. The atmosphere is collegial and informal.

You will be embedded in the Intelligent Systems group studies intelligent systems in both fundamental and application-oriented ways, with a special focus on intelligent agents and multi-agent systems. Particular research themes of the group are "autonomy and decision making" and "reasoning in multiagent settings".


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1209231



Padualaan 8, 3584 CH, Utrecht

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