PhD position: NLP for open government (0,8-1,0 FTE)

PhD position: NLP for open government (0,8-1,0 FTE)

Published Deadline Location
15 May 5 Jul Tilburg
Tilburg University - Tilburg School of Humanities and Digital Sciences offers a PhD position: NLP for open government (0,8-1,0 FTE) for the Cognitive Science & Artificial Intelligence department in collaboration with the Department of Public Law & Governance (Tilburg Law School). Location Tilburg.

Job description

The Cognitive Science & Artificial Intelligence department in collaboration with the Department of Public Law & Governance at Tilburg University invites applications for a fully-funded PhD position in the area of machine learning and computational text analytics. The position is part of the NWO-funded Vidi project “Administrative Decision-Making in Times of Open Government” (led by Prof. Johan Wolswinkel, Tilburg Law School) and the ICON project “Case-Inclusive Transparency for a Digital and Open Government (CITaDOG)” in collaboration with several universities and companies in the Netherlands (https://www.tilburguniversity.edu/about/digital-sciences-society/projects/case-inclusive-transparency). CITaDOG consists of a multidisciplinary team of researchers (law, public administration,  artificial intelligence, social psychology) and is supported by different collaborating partners within the Netherlands representing both the government and the citizen perspective.

You will be one of the four PhD candidates within the research team and will work on a project on the development of AI-based text analytics models for a specific class of government documents: single-case decisions from Dutch governments. The project will combine ideas and methods from Natural Language Processing (NLP) and machine learning and will be led by Prof. Johan Wolswinkel and Dr. Samaneh Khoshrou.

Project description: 
As part of the open government movement, governments are increasingly making their documents available online. One specific category of documents being disclosed proactively by governments is the class of so-called ‘single-case decisions’, e.g. on licensing, subsidizing and sanctioning (see for example WooGLe (wooverheid.nl) - beschikkingen). However, due to the huge volume and complexity of these legal texts in combination with the diversified structure of these documents, legal awareness is hard to achieve and understanding these legal texts tends to become “riddles wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”. This project aim to transform the way open government documents, specifically single-case decisions of Dutch governments, are accessed and understood by legal professionals (public officials) and the general public. To this end, we will focus on extracting information and recognizing patterns of decision-making across various subsets of these documents using advanced Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Explainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI) techniques.

The three challenges that will be addressed in this project are:

  • How to extract concise, clear, and expressive insight (e.g. representation, entity) from single-case decisions as a particular type of government documents.
  • How to identify homogeneous clusters of governments decisions made by and represent them in an efficient, explainable, and transparent fashion.
  • How to address the ethical concerns of current decision making process using XAI-methods and fairness measures to promote a fair and responsible approach.

Specifications

Tilburg University

Requirements

The position calls for an ambitious and enthusiastic researcher who has a passion for natural language processing and who is eager to apply their skills to (specific sets of) open government documents.

A successful candidate has:

  • MSc (or equivalent) degree in Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, Computer Science and Engineering or a closely related field by the time of the appointment (or concrete prospect of such MSc degree by the time of application).
  • Strong interest in Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language Processing, Explainable AI. 
  • Strong programming skills (e.g. Python, PyTorch, Tensorflow) 
  • The ability to work individually as well as effectively in an interdisciplinary team;
  • Excellent knowledge of English and good academic writing skills. 
  • Fluency in Dutch is a plus, because of the language of the official documents of Dutch governments.

Conditions of employment

What we offer  

  • A full-time position. 
  • The selected candidate will start with a contract for one year. Upon a positive outcome of the first-year evaluation, the candidate will be offered an employment contract for the remaining three years. 
  • A minimum gross salary of € 2.770,- per month up to a maximum of € 3.539,- in the fourth year. 
  • A holiday allowance of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3% (annually). 
  • Researchers from outside the Netherlands may qualify for a tax-free allowance equal to 30% of their taxable salary (the 30% tax regulation). The University will apply for such an allowance on their behalf. 
  • Assistance in finding accommodation .
  • Benefits such as an options model for terms and conditions of employment and reimbursement of moving expenses, also including excellent technical infrastructure, savings schemes and excellent sport facilities.  

The collective labor agreement of the Dutch Universities applies. 

Employer

Tilburg School of Humanities and Digital Sciences

Research and education at the Tilburg School of Humanities and Digital Sciences (TSHD) has a unique focus on humans in the context of the globalizing digital society, on the development of artificial intelligence and interactive technologies, on their impact on communication, culture and society, and on moral and existential challenges that arise. The School of Humanities and Digital Sciences consists of four departments: Communication and Cognition, Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence, Culture Studies and Philosophy; several research institutes and a faculty office. Also the University College Tilburg is part of the School. Each year around 275 students commence a Bachelor or (Pre) Master Program. The School has approximately 2000 students and 250 employees.
Tilburg School of Humanities and Digital Sciences

Department

The departments and schools:
The candidate will be jointly affiliated with the Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence Department (https://csai.nl/) at the Tilburg School of Humanities and Digital Sciences and the Department of Public Law & Governance (PLG) at Tilburg Law School.
The CSAI department emphasizes innovative research spanning  a wide array of fields, including computational linguistics and language technology, data science, human-robot interaction, virtual reality and serious games. Tilburg University and the CSAI department offer a vibrant international environment, with current CSAI staff originating from more than 17 countries. 
Since its founding in 1963, Tilburg Law School has become one of the leading law schools in Europe. Through top research and the provision of high-quality university education, the School contributes to society. The Department of Public Law & Governance (PLG) is a unique collaboration of researchers in the fields of International Law, European law, Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, Environmental Law, Public Administration, Legal Philosophy, Political Science, Legal History, and Jurisprudence. Collaboration within the Department is very much inspired by joint research interests.

Additional information

More detailed project information can be provided on request: please contact Samaneh Khoshrou (s.khoshrou@tilburguniversity.edu) or Johan Wolswinkel (c.j.wolswinkel@tilburguniversity.edu).

Specifications

  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society; Language and culture
  • 32—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 22292

Employer

Location

Warandelaan 2, 5037 AB, Tilburg

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Application procedure

To apply, please submit: 

  • a motivation letter in which you describe why you want to do this research, and why you are the right person to do it;  
  • a full curriculum vitae, demonstrating academic excellence, including publications (if applicable);  
  • academic transcripts of your Bachelor and Master’s degrees; 
  • a sample of writing, such as your Master’s thesis or a relevant paper.

The only way to apply is online before June 7, 2024 (23:59 CET). Interviews are planned on Friday June 14, 2024.

The position is open until filled. The starting date of this position is negotiable but preferably no later than September 1, 2024. 

Application procedure

Application procedure

To apply, please submit: 

  • a motivation letter in which you describe why you want to do this research, and why you are the right person to do it;  
  • a full curriculum vitae, demonstrating academic excellence, including publications (if applicable);  
  • academic transcripts of your Bachelor and Master’s degrees; 
  • a sample of writing, such as your Master’s thesis or a relevant paper.

The only way to apply is online before June 7, 2024 (23:59 CET). Interviews are planned on Friday June 14, 2024.

The position is open until filled. The starting date of this position is negotiable but preferably no later than September 1, 2024. 

Make sure to apply no later than 5 Jul 2024 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).