PhD position in the area of Federated Learning

PhD position in the area of Federated Learning

Published Deadline Location
8 Mar 30 Apr Maastricht

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The Department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering (DKE) at Maastricht University, the Netherlands, is looking for a PhD candidate to work on federate learning: Federated learning (FL) is a new scientific domain on the crossroads of artificial intelligence (AI) and data science (DS). FL is seen as a promising technology approach to take AI beyond the borders of a single organization, which is essential to power the modern networked society and economy. More concretely, FL enables a network of autonomous organizations that face the same machine learning task to collaboratively learn a global model that offers better predictive performance for all participants without the need to share sensitive data. However, an unbalanced and non-IID (identically and independently distributed) partitioning of data across a network is a big challenge that hinders the performance of FL models.

Job description

The main objective of this PhD. project is to research, design and develop concepts, techniques and prototype technologies for federated learning, in two areas: (1) improving the aggregation method used by the central orchestrator that is producing a global model, taking issues like lack of balance and IID-ness into account, and (2) exploring and building mechanisms that allow assessing whether a global model or a local model is returning predictions with a higher truth value. The projected developments in these two areas will move FL a significant step forward to application in areas like healthcare, maintenance or logistics.

The successful candidate is expected to:

  • perform scientific research in the FL domain described above;
  • publish results at (international) conferences and in international journals;
  • collaborate with other group and faculty members;
  • assist with educational tasks (e.g. assist courses, supervise Master students and internships).


Maastricht University (UM)


  • M.Sc. degree in Computer Science, artificial intelligence, or equivalent;
  • Strong programming skills;
  • Background in machine learning;
  • Proficiency in English (oral and written);
  • Excellent communication skills;
  • Ability to collaborate in an international setting

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 1 + 3 years.

The full-time position is offered for a duration of four years (first year + three years after receiving a positive evaluation). with yearly evaluations.

The salary will be set in PhD salary scale of the Collective Labour Agreement of the Dutch Universities (€2.395 gross per month in first year to €3.061 in the fourth and final year). On top of this, there is an 8% holiday and an 8.3% year-end allowance. The terms of employment of Maastricht University are set out in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Furthermore, local UM provisions also apply. Non-Dutch applicants could be eligible for a favorable tax treatment (30% rule).

More information can be found on the website > Support > UM employees



Maastricht university

Maastricht University is renowned for its unique, innovative, problem-based learning system, which is characterized by a small-scale and student-oriented approach. Research at UM is characterized by a multidisciplinary and thematic approach, and is concentrated in research institutes and schools. Maastricht University has around 20,000 students and 4,700 employees. Reflecting the university's strong international profile, a fair amount of both students and staff are from abroad. The university hosts 6 faculties: Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Faculty of Law, School of Business and Economics, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience.


The Department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering | Founded in 1992, we are a fast-growing department undertaking internationally respected research in the areas of computer science, human-machine interaction, artificial intelligence and applied mathematics. Much of our research takes place at the interfaces of these disciplines. We maintain a large network of industry partners and provide education through one bachelor’s programme and two master’s programmes, all of which are nationally ranked #1 in their cohort according to the most recent education rankings.

Situated in the heart of Europe and within 30 kilometers from the German and Belgian borders, Maastricht and its 120,000 inhabitants have a strong international character. It is a safe, vibrant city with a history spanning more than 2,000 years. The city’s rich past is reflected everywhere in the streets: the ratio of monuments-to-inhabitants is roughly 1:73. If you are unfamiliar with the Netherlands, UM’s Knowledge Centre for International Staff will gladly assist you with practical matters such as housing.

Our new colleague(s) will be joining a tight-knit department consisting of ~50 principal investigators, postdocs and PhD students, >750 BSc and MSc students and a team of 15 dedicated support staff members. Together, we come from over 40 different countries.

STEM research in Maastricht | DKE is embedded in the equally thriving Faculty of Science and Engineering. It’s exciting times for STEM research in the region of Zuid-Limburg, where Maastricht University (UM) is situated. For example, UM recently joined the Einstein Telescope Partnership coalition, which will bring STEM challenges to our doorstep through construction of the ET Pathfinder prototype in the near future. Furthermore, Zuid-Limburg is a hub for the high-tech industry. Maastricht University participates in the four regional Brightlands campuses: local tech ecosystems where fundamental and applied research, state-of-the-art facilities, industry partners and students meet. In addition, the university itself offers no shortage of inspiring collaborators through our international network and the five other faculties of UM.


  • PhD
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2395—€3061 per month
  • University graduate
  • AT2021.77


Maastricht University (UM)

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Paul-Henri Spaaklaan 1, 6229 EN, Maastricht

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