Postdoc Position on Digitally Enforceable Data Sharing contracts

Postdoc Position on Digitally Enforceable Data Sharing contracts

Published Deadline Location
25 May 25 Jun Amsterdam

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Job description

The University of Amsterdam (UvA) is looking for a Postdoctoral Researcher in the area of programming languages, formal methods, and distributed systems. Within the Secure Scalable Policy-enforced Distributed Data Processing (SSPDDP) project, the UvA and Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) are collaborating on the theory and design of domain-specific software languages for the high-level specification of digitally enforceable contracts, in particular data sharing agreements. Founded on legal primitives, the languages make it possible to connect the formal interpretation of legally binding contracts to the primitives of an execution environment such as the transactions on a blockchain platform and access requests in an access-control system. The goal is to enable the integration and automatic enforcement of high-level contract specification within distributed systems for data exchange and federated data processing.

The offered contract is for an initial period of 12 months. The contract is intended to be extended with an additional 24 months contingent on the pending availability of funds for the Amsterdam Data Exchange (AMdEX) initiative.

Within AMdEX, the UvA is collaborating with societal and industrial partners to develop a generic infrastructure for the exchange of data. AMdEX facilitates the bringing together of data and data analysis algorithms in ways that ensure societal regulations and sharing agreements are respected, thus delivering sovereignty to data providers and the preservation of the rights of data subject (when present). The infrastructure is leveraged by marketplaces in which data providers and algorithm providers find each other and establish sharing agreements as part of transactions. Building on data exchange archetypes and policy templates, the sharing agreements are translated into concrete applications executed on the AMdEX infrastructure. The AMdEX infrastructure is neutral with respect to the marketplaces, enabling marketplaces to provide the specific services that benefit their users.

What are you going to do?
You will perform cutting edge research on a crucial topic that directly impacts society. The objectives in this project are to:
  • (formally) evaluate the design and expressiveness of the eFLINT language currently used within the SSPDDP and AMdEX projects;
  • build on existing work to perform verification (e.g., bounded model checking) on contract specifications to verify properties and detect conflicts;
  • develop methods for integrating contract specifications in data exchange systems for the ex-ante and ex-post enforcement of data sharing agreements, e.g., by generating smart contracts;
  • investigate mechanisms for the (partially) automated auditing of data exchange systems.

Possible outcomes are: (domain-specific) software languages, system architecture designs, and prototypes for verifying contract specifications, language implementations, and auditing/monitoring components.

Tasks and responsibilities:
  • You will contribute to various AMdEX use-cases in which societal (public and private) partners form consortia and build innovative data exchange solutions. Topics of interests in these use-cases are third party computation and (other) compute-to-data solutions. Within these use cases, your focus will be on the enforcement of contracts and other legal requirements;
  • As a Postdoc you will also contribute to writing new research proposals on the topic and may have a (modest) role in student supervision.


University of Amsterdam (UvA)


Your experience and profile:
  • A PhD degree in computer science, software engineering or a related discipline;
  • Demonstrable experience with (one or more of) programming languages, compilers, formal methods, distributed computing, and/or blockchain and smart contract applications;
  • The ability to critically analyse abstract models as well as concrete implementations;
  • The ability to (co-)supervise (PhD) students working on related topics;
  • Enthusiasm for the research process: studying research papers, solving complex problems, applying creative thinking, evaluation, reflection and disseminating findings via writing and oral presentations;
  • Fluency in written and spoken English.

Conditions of employment

We offer a temporary employment contract for 38 hours per week for a period of at least 12 months. The preferred starting date is 1 August 2023 or earlier. The contract is intended to be extended with an additional 24 months, contingent on a positive evaluation and the pending availability of funds for the Amsterdam Data Exchange (AMdEX) initiative.

The gross monthly salary, based on 38 hours per week and dependent on relevant experience, ranges between € 2,960 to € 4,670 (scale 10). UvA additionally offers an extensive package of secondary benefits, including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8.3%. The UFO profile Onderzoeker 4 is applicable. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Universities of the Netherlands is applicable.

Besides the salary and a vibrant and challenging environment at Science Park we offer you multiple fringe benefits:
  • 232 holiday hours per year (based on fulltime) and extra holidays between Christmas and 1 January;
  • Multiple courses to follow from our Teaching and Learning Centre;
  • Multiple courses on topics such as leadership for academic staff;
  • Multiple courses on topics such as time management, handling stress and an online learning platform with 100+ different courses;
  • 7 weeks birth leave (partner leave) with 100% salary;
  • Partly paid parental leave;
  • The possibility to set up a workplace at home;
  • A pension at ABP for which UvA pays two third part of the contribution;
  • The possibility to follow courses to learn Dutch;
  • Help with housing for a studio or small apartment when you’re moving from abroad.

Are you curious to read more about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits, take a look here.


Faculty of Science

The University of Amsterdam (UvA) is the Netherlands' largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 42,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.

The Faculty of Science (FNWI) has a student body of around 8,000, as well as 1,800 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

The mission of the Informatics Institute (IvI) is to perform curiosity-driven and use-inspired fundamental research in Computer Science. The main research themes are Artificial Intelligence, Computational Science and Systems and Network Engineering. Our research involves complex information systems at large, with a focus on collaborative, data driven, computational and intelligent systems, all with a strong interactive component.

The Complex Cyber Infrastructure research group (CCI) investigates the complexity of man-made systems on all scales. Cyber Infrastructure is rapidly evolving from relatively simple fixed components to programmable and virtualized objects with many degrees of freedom, owned, operated and governed by different entities in multiple administrative domains interacting on the Internet. Harnessing this complexity in a transparent, trust-able way for safe and secure data processing is a major research topic that defines the focus of CCI research. The challenges are addressed by combining methods and results from research into distributed data processing, programmable networks, policy reasoning and normative control, hardware and cryptographic security, and software language engineering

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.


  • Postdoc
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • max. €2960 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 11654


University of Amsterdam (UvA)

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Science Park 904, 1098XH, Amsterdam

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