PhD Position in Explainable AI for Multimodal Life Science Data

PhD Position in Explainable AI for Multimodal Life Science Data

Published Deadline Location
23 Jan 19 Feb Utrecht

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Job description

Are you ready for a challenge? There is a PhD position available in the AI Technology for Life group at Utrecht University. You will develop novel explainable AI methods to work with Multimodal Life Sciences Data and help improve cancer care.

Your job
In this PhD project, you will develop novel explainable AI methodologies tailored for multimodal data within the Life Sciences. The main focus revolves around understanding the interplay between imaging and omics information. As we intend to move towards precision medicine, it is imperative to understand what genetic information is embedded in radiology and pathology images. In the most recent years, radiology images have been used to predict tumour progression and treatment response, offering the unique advantage of characterising tumour heterogeneity through non-invasive procedures. The apparent success of these image-based methods stems from the relationship between genetic information and observable image phenotypes. Despite this progress, prevalent studies often limit their evaluation to classification performances, leading to an incomplete assessment with repercussions on trust and scientific understanding. This project aims to address this limitation by developing inherently interpretable AI models that explain the relationship between the different modalities and are robust against domain shifts. The emphasis on explainability and robustness is paramount for the integration of AI systems into clinical settings. In summary, this project aims to develop novel AI methodologies, contributing to the improvement of cancer research and cancer care.

You will become part of the vibrant interdisciplinary research group “AI Technology for Life” as part of a collaboration between the department of Information and Computing Sciences and the department of Biology. The group was created as a result of the great importance attached by the Faculty of Science to stimulate research and teaching between departments. Together with the members of the group, you work at the interface between Life Sciences and AI.


Utrecht University


We are looking for a PhD candidate with the following qualifications:
  • a (nearly) completed MSc degree in a relevant area such as Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, Computer Sciences or Bioinformatics with a strong AI component;
  • demonstrable experience with the development of machine learning methods;
  • an interest in working with imaging and omics data;
  • as you will have to collaborate with researchers in the life sciences, it is essential that you have strong oral and written communication skills in English.

Conditions of employment

We offer:
  • a position for four years;
  • a working week of 32-40 hours and a gross monthly salary between €2,770 and €3,539 in the case of full-time employment (salary scale P under the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU);
  • 8% holiday pay and 8.3% year-end bonus;
  • A pension scheme, partially paid parental leave and flexible terms of employment based on the CAO NU.

In addition to the terms of employment laid down in the CAO NU, Utrecht University has a number of schemes and facilities of its own for employees. This includes schemes facilitating professional development, leave schemes and schemes for sports and cultural activities, as well as discounts on software and other IT products. We also offer access to additional employee benefits through our Terms of Employment Options Model. In this way, we encourage our employees to continue to invest in their growth. For more information, please visit Working at Utrecht University.


Universiteit Utrecht

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 Pathways to Sustainability. Shaping science, sharing tomorrow.

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 challenges. More fundamental still are the individual research groups – the building blocks of our ambitious scientific projects.

You will be embedded in the interdepartmental research group AI Technology for Life. As such you will be affiliated with both the department of Information and Computer Sciences and the department of Biology.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • 32—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 3542



Princetonplein 5, 3584CC, Utrecht

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