PhD Candidate: Semantics, Pragmatics and Large Language Models

PhD Candidate: Semantics, Pragmatics and Large Language Models

Published Deadline Location
18 Dec 3 Mar Nijmegen

Job description

Are you interested in understanding the linguistic abilities and limitations of recent chatbots? Do you hold a Master's degree in Philosophy, Linguistics, Artificial Intelligence, or a closely related discipline, or are you close to obtaining such a degree? Are you a creative and independent thinker who is passionate about language and science? If so, we encourage you to apply as a PhD candidate!

Recent years have seen remarkable progress in the fluency of chatbots (e.g. Chat GPT), spurred on by the development of large language models. In this PhD project, you will systematically investigate the linguistic abilities and limitations of these large language models. In particular, you will study to what extent recent chatbots understand linguistic meaning and language use. You will explain your findings on the basis of a thorough understanding of the technical architecture of large language models, and connect to recent theories of semantics and pragmatics. The ultimate goal of your project is to provide a fundamental understanding of the prospects of computerised communication.

You will participate in relevant conferences, workshops and seminars, and communicate your findings through publications in proceedings and peer-reviewed journals. Besides your research, you will have a standard 10% teaching load to help you develop your teaching skills and further qualify for a career as an independent academic researcher. You will also have the opportunity to further develop your skill set by attending courses that are relevant for your project and general development.

Specifications

Radboud University

Requirements

  • You hold or are about to obtain a Master's degree in Philosophy, Linguistics, Artificial Intelligence, or a related field.
  • You are a highly motivated, passionate, critical, and creative thinker who wants to grow as a scientist.
  • You have a demonstrable affinity with the study of natural language and/or large language models.
  • You are team-oriented, open to providing and receiving feedback, and keen to engage in scientific discussions.
  • You possess excellent written and verbal communication skills in English.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: You will be employed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4 year contract) or 3.5 years (5 year contract).

  • It concerns an employment for 0.8 (5 year contract) - 1.0 FTE (4 year contract).
  • The gross starting salary amounts to €2,770 per month based on a 38-hour working week, and will increase to €3,539 from the fourth year onwards (salary scale P).
  • You will receive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • You will be employed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4 year contract) or 3.5 years (5 year contract).
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Care Services. Our Dual Career and Family Care Officer can assist you with family-related support, help your partner or spouse prepare for the local labour market, provide customized support in their search for employment and help your family settle in Nijmegen.
  • Working for us means getting extra days off. In case of full-time employment, you can choose between 30 or 41 days of annual leave instead of the legally allotted 20.
Work and science require good employment practices. This is reflected in Radboud University's primary and secondary employment conditions. You can make arrangements for the best possible work-life balance with flexible working hours, various leave arrangements and working from home. You are also able to compose part of your employment conditions yourself, for example, exchange income for extra leave days and receive a reimbursement for your sports subscription. And of course, we offer a good pension plan. You are given plenty of room and responsibility to develop your talents and realise your ambitions. Therefore, we provide various training and development schemes.

Employer

The Philosophy of Mind and Language group of the Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies focuses on fundamental and applied questions at the intersection of cognition and language. The group's profile is strongly interdisciplinary: it applies state-of-the-art philosophical theorising to recent scientific findings in psychology, linguistics, artificial intelligence, psychiatry and cognitive neuroscience. The group offers courses to students in Philosophy, Linguistics, Sociology, Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience.

Staff and students in the Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies reflect on the great challenges of our time, exploring concepts, belief systems and worldviews. Thus, they provide philosophical and ideological context to social debate and contribute to the analysis and solution of major social issues. The faculty has over 180 staff, spread across eight academic departments and four support departments. Our academics collaborate in six research centres and teach more than 1,000 students.

Our staff and students are committed. The lines of communication are short and each individual student and staff member is given ample attention. We stand for an inclusive community and believe that diversity contributes to the quality of teaching and research. We welcome staff whose diversity in background and perspective contribute to the diversity of our faculty. As an employer, we are constantly investing in the professional development of our staff.

You can find more about our mission and vision on the 'About PTRS' page.


Radboud University

At Radboud University, we aim to make an impact through our work. We achieve this by conducting groundbreaking research, providing high-quality education, offering excellent support, and fostering collaborations within and outside the university. In doing so, we contribute indispensably to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all. To accomplish this, we need even more colleagues who, based on their expertise, are willing to search for answers. We advocate for an inclusive community and welcome employees with diverse backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives. Will you also contribute to making the world a little better? You have a part to play.
 
If you want to learn more about working at Radboud University, follow our Instagram account and read stories from our colleagues.

Additional information

For questions about the position, please contact Bob van Tiel, Assistant Professor, at bob.vantiel@ru.nl.

Specifications

  • PhD; Research, development, innovation; Education
  • Language and culture
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1217175

Employer

Location

Houtlaan 4, 6525 XZ, Nijmegen

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Application procedure

You can apply until 3 March 2024, exclusively using the button below. Kindly address your application to Bob van Tiel. Please fill in the application form and attach the following documents:
  • A letter of motivation.
  • Your CV, including the contact details of two references.
  • A sample of your written work (or a link to it).
The first round of interviews will take place in March. You would preferably begin employment on 1 July 2024.
We can imagine you're curious about our application procedure. It offers a rough outline of what you can expect during the application process, how we handle your personal data and how we deal with internal and external candidates. If you wish to apply for a non-scientific position with a non-EU nationality, please take notice of the following information.

Application procedure

Application procedure

You can apply until 3 March 2024, exclusively using the button below. Kindly address your application to Bob van Tiel. Please fill in the application form and attach the following documents:
  • A letter of motivation.
  • Your CV, including the contact details of two references.
  • A sample of your written work (or a link to it).
The first round of interviews will take place in March. You would preferably begin employment on 1 July 2024.
We can imagine you're curious about our application procedure. It offers a rough outline of what you can expect during the application process, how we handle your personal data and how we deal with internal and external candidates. If you wish to apply for a non-scientific position with a non-EU nationality, please take notice of the following information.

Make sure to apply no later than 3 Mar 2024 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).