PhD position: Can Clinical Language Processing Improve Decisions?

PhD position: Can Clinical Language Processing Improve Decisions?

Published Deadline Location
7 May 31 May Enschede

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Job description

Key takeaways

The PhD project will explore if and how Natural Language Processing and Advanced Statistical Methods can improve prediction accuracy regarding the outcome of medical treatment. The ultimate aim is to use these approaches to develop reliable clinical decision support systems. The problem of early prediction of complications specific to the recovery after esophageal resection surgery will be considered the first application. The explored approaches are expected to be generalizable also to other clinical settings.

The challenge

This research project focuses on developing natural language robots to support clinical decisions. These language robots are computer programs with the ability to understand spoken and written human language. Exploiting textual information sources in an automated and systematic manner enables additional expert knowledge to be represented explicitly. The work aims to improve predictions regarding the probability of a patient successfully recovering from treatment. Such predictions, particularly in fields with a limited number of patients, may become more accurate, enabling improved clinical decisions, when textual observations by clinical staff can be incorporated fully. Three specific questions in this research are
  • How to quantify the accuracy of the extracted expert knowledge when predicting patient-specific outcomes?
  • How to build prediction models based on robotic language processing?
  • How to incorporate these prediction models into clinical decision support?


University of Twente (UT)


You are a highly motivated, enthusiastic researcher who is driven by curiosity and has
  • A Master’s degree in Computer Science, Clinical Informatics, Data Science, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Biostatistics, Applied Mathematics, Technical Medicine, or a closely related study;
  • Affinity and/or experience with developing text-based AI tools for clinical data;
  • A good team spirit for working in an interdisciplinary and internationally oriented environment.

Moreover, the candidate
  • Can work independently and is willing to develop writing and publication skills;
  • Exhibits a strong passion for clinical applications, and possesses outstanding skills in programming and analysis;
  • Has good communication skills and an excellent command of English and Dutch.

Conditions of employment

We encourage high responsibility and independence, while collaborating with colleagues, researchers, other university staff and partners. We follow the terms of employment by the Dutch Collective Labour Agreement for Universities (CAO). Our offer contains: a fulltime 4-year PhD position with a qualifier in the first year; excellent mentorship in a stimulating research environment with excellent facilities; and a personal development program within the Twente Graduate School. It also includes:
  • Gross monthly salary of € 2.770 in the first year, increasing each year up to € 3.539 in the fourth year;
  • Excellent benefits including a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%, and a solid pension scheme;
  • 29 days of leave per year in case of full-time employment;
  • A training program as part of the Twente Graduate School where you and your supervisors will formulate a plan for suitable education and supervision;
  • A green campus with free access to sports facilities and an international scientific community;
  • A family-friendly institution that offers parental leave (both paid and unpaid);
  • The status of a full employee at the University of Twente, which includes pension, health care benefits, and good secondary conditions as part of the collective labour agreement CAO-NU for Dutch universities.


At the department of Health Technology and Services Research (HTSR), multidisciplinary expertise is developed to support innovations in healthcare, ranging from the introduction of new technologies to the use of data-driven learning for clinical decision support. Research focuses on quantitative analyses supporting strategies that improve the efficiency of healthcare.

HTSR is part of the Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences and the Technical Medical Center, a leading innovation hub of the University of Twente.


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1778


University of Twente (UT)

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Drienerlolaan 5, 7522NB, Enschede

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