PhD Candidate in the field of AI in education

PhD Candidate in the field of AI in education

Published Deadline Location
25 Apr 31 May Maastricht

You cannot apply for this job anymore (deadline was 31 May 2023).

Browse the current job offers or choose an item in the top navigation above.

Are you an educational scientist or an (educational) psychologist, sociologist or economist who recently graduated or is about to graduate? Are you passionate about academic research in the field of AI in education? At the National Education Lab for Artificial Intelligence (NOLAI in Dutch) we develop intelligent technologies aimed at improving the quality of primary and secondary education. Over the next 10 years, NOLAI teams up with schools, (applied) universities and companies to create and study new innovations with AI for education. And we are looking for you!

Job description

The Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) of Maastricht University’s School of Business and Economics (SBE) and the NOLAI lab at Radboud University in Nijmegen are seeking to appoint a PhD candidate in the field of AI in education.

Nowadays, there are many concerns about the quality of education and the level of the basic skills of mathematics and language of children. Schools very often choose to use adaptive learning technologies with AI (ALTAI) to work on basic math and language skills. However, ALTAI is often not effectively used from a pedagogical/didactical point of view, since its effects are highly dependent on how it is used and which (pedagogical) purpose it is intended to serve. Furthermore, student cognition and personality traits may very well moderate effects of AI solutions in education: not all students have, for example, the required level of conscientiousness to use ALTAI in an effective way or have the grit to handle the freedom of selecting the right exercises. This relates to self-regulated learning and agency. Also, it is unclear how the increased use of AI and the differences in use and outcome for different types of students relate to the overarching question of inequality in education. Finally, the role of the teacher may be crucial to obtain positive effects of AI in education, as the teacher can overrule the ALTAI in amount of freedom given to de student or in (level of) exercises that are chosen. 

This PhD-project aims to unravel the influence of ALTAI on reducing those differences in learning outcomes that are due to students’ socio-economic status (SES), and the relation of personality traits with effective use of adaptive AI, with the right amount of agency for both student and teachers. In doing so, we will be able to explain differences in the use and effectiveness of ALTAI in primary and secondary education and study how this relates to potential inequality in education.  

Combining existing large datasets, this project has the unique opportunity to learn from bringing different sources of information together that until now have not yet been combined. This entails both usage as well as performance data from ALTAI programs in education, data from student admin systems on characteristics and background of students, and data from longitudinal data collections on for example student performance in math and language, as well as personality of students. 


The Dutch Education Lab for Artificial Intelligence (NOLAI; is a consortium including schools, universities and companies, which aims to develop innovative intelligent technologies that will help improve the quality of primary and secondary education over the next ten years. With the help of these innovations, the increasing demand for responsible innovation with intelligent technologies in the public sector education will be met. NOLAI is organisationally embedded at the Radboud University in Nijmegen and consists, on the one hand, of a scientific programme (where researchers and data scientists work) and, on the other, of a co-creation programme (in which education, science and business work collaboratively on projects). NOLAI scientists from Maastricht University and Radboud University jointly work on the pedagogical-didactical research line, one of the five research lines within the scientific program of NOLAI.

The aim of the scientific program is to gain insight into the pedagogical, social and ethical consequences of innovations with intelligent technologies in education. It examines the opportunities and risks of intelligent technologies, from the augmentation perspective that views AI as a potential tool for teachers and students. 

The focus area pedagogical-didactical aspects of AI is led by Prof. Carla Haelermans of Maastricht University and Prof. Eliane Segers from Radboud University. This focus area combines the (development of) theoretical knowledge on learning and technology, with an evidence-based research approach for studying AI in education. 

As a PhD candidate focusing on AI in education you will contribute to NOLAI’s goals in our scientific program and work at both Maastricht University and Radboud University. 


Maastricht University (UM)


Are you self-motivated, curious and interested in research? Are you excited to work in an international project team for an origination that is of societal significance? Do you have the skills required to become an excellent researcher in your field? Then a PhD position at NOLAI / ROA-SBE might be the challenge you are looking for.

Candidates will be selected on the basis of the requirements outlined below. To be considered, candidates should make sure that their application demonstrates how they meet these requirements:

  • You have a MSc degree in educational science or in (educational) psychology, sociology or economy or expect to graduate soon.
  • You have a strong academic background and willingness to publish in high-ranking academic journals;
  • You have excellent quantitative and analytical skills, as well as oral communication and writing skills;
  • Comprehension of the Dutch language is considered an advantage;
  • You have affinity with empirical analyses based on large data sets
  • You have knowledge of statistical software (e.g., Stata, R, Python, SPSS);

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

Fixed-term contract: 4 years (with binding evaluation after 1.5 years).

The intended start date of the appointment is 1 September 2023.

Remuneration will be according to standard salary levels for PhD students starting with a salary of €2.541 with a yearly growth to € 3.247 gross a month (based on a full-time appointment). Each year the standard salary is supplemented with a holiday allowance of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3% of the yearly gross income.

You will be formally employed by Maastricht University, but you are expected to be present at least two days per week at NOLAI in Nijmegen as well as at least one day per week at ROA in Maastricht. 

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. For more information look at the website > About UM > Working at UM.


Maastricht University

Maastricht University is renowned for its unique, innovative, problem-based learning system, which is characterized by a small-scale and student-oriented approach. Research at UM is characterized by a multidisciplinary and thematic approach, and is concentrated in research institutes and schools. Maastricht University has around 22,000 students and about 5,000 employees. Reflecting the university's strong international profile, a fair amount of both students and staff are from abroad. The university hosts 6 faculties: Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Faculty of Law, School of Business and Economics, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience.

For more information, visit


Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA)

The Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) is a research institute of the Maastricht University School of Business and Economics, established in 1986. The overarching research theme of ROA relates to the changing demand for skills, the acquisition of skills over the life course and the utilization of skills. This focus is elaborated upon in ROA’s Research and Policy Plan.

ROA’s mission is to conduct high quality research that has a strong societal impact. Building on a strong position in academia, ROA aims to inform and inspire policymakers and academics, and thereby to contribute to both scientific research and public and organizations’ skills policies. ROA’s research programme is organised in four themes:

  1. Education and Transition to Work
  2. Health, Skills, and Inequality
  3. Labour Market and Training
  4. Human Capital in the Region

The first two themes focus on education and skills as point of departure and study the drivers and outcomes at the individual, organizational and societal level. The last two programs study the developments in skill supply and demand on the labor market and the interactions between the two at the national and regional level. ROA is also the home base for Education Lab Netherlands, a research network working to improve education by ensuring that educational policy and practice is informed by scientific evidence (for more information, see

ROA’s research activities are being carried out and supported by a dedicated scientific and support staff, consisting of about 70 employees. ROA collaborates with other departments at Maastricht University in multiple projects, both within the School of Business and Economics, and within other faculties (e.g., the Faculty of Health, Medicine, and Life Sciences). For more information, visit


  • PhD
  • Economics; Behaviour and society
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • AT2023.195


Maastricht University (UM)

Learn more about this employer


Tongersestraat 49, 6211 LM, Maastricht

View on Google Maps

Interesting for you