PhD In Philosophy | Epistemology and Ethics in working with Conversational AI | Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences | 1.0 FTE

PhD In Philosophy | Epistemology and Ethics in working with Conversational AI | Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences | 1.0 FTE

Published Deadline Location
28 Aug 1 Oct Maastricht

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Conversational AI such as ChatGPT are at the forefront of recent developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI). Yet despite their immediate appeal, many fundamental problems remain that challenge their accuracy and trustworthiness. Questions also abound about how human experts can effectively and ethically work with this rapidly developing form of Artificial Intelligence. We invite you to join our research team as a PhD in philosophy to shape the future of Conversational AI and contribute to the development of next-generation systems in AI. You will work together with AI developers and data scientists to investigate how human experts and expert teams in food innovation and other areas can use Conversational AI safely and responsibly.

Job description

We are seeking a highly qualified PhD candidate with a background in philosophy to join our research team and pursue groundbreaking research in philosophy with a focus on the epistemology and ethics of Conversational AI. If you are the successful candidate, you will participate in the development of new techniques and methodologies for the responsible development and use of trustworthy Conversational AI systems to support expert scientific teams in their work. You will use methods and conceptual frameworks from philosophy (e.g. social epistemology), cognitive science, ethics, and responsible innovation studies (e.g. design for values) to investigate how experts can work with Conversational AI in an ethically and epistemologically sound fashion.

In this role, you will work closely with data scientists, developers and the Lab’s industrial partners. You will be part of one of the 17 new ICAI labs, named GENIUS (Generative Enhanced Next-Generation Intelligent Understanding Systems) consisting of 5 PhD students, who will collaborate to create human-AI knowledge engineering systems to support collaborative knowledge synthesis, integration of distributed knowledge, knowledge-graph and services powered generative AI, neurosymbolic reasoning, and hybrid human-AI ethics.

The GENIUS lab will bring together two of the strongest groups on human-AI knowledge engineering in the Netherlands (UM and Delft), with industry partners DSM and, to develop effective and trustworthy generative AI technologies in a variety of contexts including food innovation and supply chains.

The GENIUS lab is part of the large LTP ROBUST program “Trustworthy AI-based Systems for Sustainable Growth” consortium, comprising 17 universities, 19 industry partners, and 15 collaborating partners representing diverse stakeholder groups. You will gain valuable experience working with an industry partner, and will be able to tap into a wealth of networking, career development, and training opportunities in conjunction with ICAI, the Innovation Center for Artificial Intelligence at the University of Amsterdam.

This PhD position is embedded in the Maastricht University Science and Technology Studies Research Group (MUSTS). There you will be supervised by Dr. Darian Meacham and Dr Massimiliano Simons. You will be provided with training on general academic skills in the faculty’s Graduate School. Further training is available through the Dutch national research school in philosophy. You will also work closely with the researchers at the Maastricht University Institute of Data Science (IDS) and TUDelft. The co-supervisors at Delft are Prof dr. Jeroen van den Hoven and Dr Stefan Buijsman. As the PhD will entail a close collaboration between Maastricht University and TUDelft, an extended research stay at TUDelft as well as internship with another partner in the project will be a component of the PhD.

We expect you to:

  • Perform scientific research towards completion of a PhD in conversational AI, with a focus on ethics, responsible innovation, value-sensitive design, social epistemology and quality of work in the context of generative or conversational AI.
  • Publish results at top-tier (international) conferences and in international journals;
  • Work independently, as well as collaboratively in both research oriented and in applied settings;
  • Assist with educational tasks (e.g., teach at undergraduate level, assist labs, supervise Master students and internships).


Maastricht University (UM)


  • Masters or M.Sc. degree (completed, or to be completed shortly) in Philosophy, Ethics, Responsible Innovation, Computer Science, or equivalent;
  • Demonstrated (e.g., through publications, presentations, thesis topic code, projects, etc.) interest and experience with the field of AI and, at least one of, ethics, philosophy, responsible innovation, value-sensitive design, epistemology.
  • Proficiency in English (oral and written);
  • Excellent communication skills;
  • Ability to work independently and collaboratively in a research-oriented environment;

If your profile does not completely meet the above criteria, but you are interested and you want to show us your unique perspective on why you would fit this project, we would still like to hear from you.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

As a PhD Camadidate at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, you will be employed by the most international university of the Netherlands, located in the beautiful city of Maastricht. In addition, we offer you:

  • Good employment conditions. The position is in grated in scale P according to the UFO profile PhD Candidate with corresponding salary ranging from € 2.770 to € 3.539 gross per month (based on a full-time employment of 38 hours per week). In addition to the monthly salary, an 8.0% holiday allowance and an 8.3% year-end bonus are applicable.
  • An employment contract for a period of 12 months with a scope of 1.0 FTE. Upon a positive evaluation, an extension of 3 years will follow.
  • As Family-friendly University, we offer flexible working hours and the possibility to work partly from home if the nature of your position allows it. You will receive a monthly commuting and internet allowance for this. If you work full-time, you will be entitled to 29 vacation days and 4 additional public holidays per year, namely carnival Monday, carnival Tuesday, Good Friday, and Liberation Day. If you choose to accumulate compensation hours, an additional 12 days will be added. Furthermore, you can personalize your employment conditions through a collective labor agreement (CAO) choice model.
  • As Maastricht University, we offer various other excellent secondary employment conditions. These include a good pension scheme with the ABP and the opportunity for UM employees to participate in company fitness and make use of the extensive sports facilities that we also offer to our students.
  • Last but certainly not least, we provide the space and facilities for your personal and professional development. We facilitate this by offering a wide range of training programs and supporting various well-established initiatives such as 'acknowledge and appreciate'.

The terms of employment at Maastricht University are largely set out in the Collective Bargaining Agreement of Dutch Universities. In addition, local provisions specific to UM apply. For more information, Click here


Maastricht University

Why work at Maastricht University?

At Maastricht University (UM), everything revolves around the future. The future of our students, as we work to equip them with a solid, broad-based foundation for the rest of their lives. And the future of society, as we seek solutions through our research to issues from all around the world. Our six faculties combined provide a comprehensive package of study programmes and research.  

In our teaching, we use the Problem-Based Learning (PBL) method. Students work in small groups, looking for solutions to problems themselves. By discussing issues and working together to draw conclusions, formulate answers and present them to their peers, students develop essential skills for their future careers.

With over 22,300 students and more than 5,000 employees from all over the world, UM is home to a vibrant and inspiring international community.

Are you drawn to an international setting focused on education, science and scholarship? Are you keen to contribute however your skills and qualities allow? Our door is open to you! As a young European university, we value your talent and look forward to creating the future together.  

 Click here for more information about UM.


Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences FASOS is a close-knit community of approximately 250 staff members and 1200 students. During breaks and before meetings, you can often find us at our favourite local coffee spot Bandito Espresso.

Communication lines within our faculty are short and colleagues are always ready to assist each other. FASOS consists of a highly international student population and a significant part of our staff comes from abroad. Our faculty offers four bachelor programs, eight masters programs and two research master programs that are all characterized by their interdisciplinary approach.

Our research institute studies societies and cultures as they have developed in the modern and contemporary periods. We adopt a radically interdisciplinary approach, analysing the interconnections between Europeanization, globalization, scientific and technological advancement, political change, and cultural innovation.

In addition to teaching and research, our colleagues enjoy expressing themselves creatively. They create podcasts, write poetry as well as fiction.

Working at FASoS means being part of a challenging yet informal environment. We believe in crafting your own career path and are always ready to assist you in making the most of your job. For more information about FASoS, you can visit our website: FASoS


  • PhD
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • AT2023.410


Maastricht University (UM)

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