Post-doctoral researcher Low-Resource NLP & Computational Modeling of Language

Post-doctoral researcher Low-Resource NLP & Computational Modeling of Language

Published Deadline Location
20 Dec 15 Feb Groningen

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Post-doctoral researcher in Low-Resource NLP & Computational Modeling of Language Learning
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Job description

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Researcher position within the research project “Polyglot Machines: Human-like Learning of Morphologically Rich Languages”, financed by a NWO-VIDI Talent Grant and coordinated by Principal Investigator (PI) Dr Arianna Bisazza. This is an interdisciplinary project at the intersection of Computational Linguistics/Natural Language Processing (NLP), Computational Psycholinguistics and Language Acquisition.

Despite the impressive advances made possible by neural networks, current NLP systems are still far from displaying the learning abilities of humans in many languages. By contrast, children around the world acquire extremely diverse languages in comparable time spans and from considerably less linguistic input than that required by neural models.

Recent work has obtained promising results by training a downsized Transformer-based language model on a corpus of child-directed language (CDL). Inspired by this finding, the project will build a bridge between the fields of neural language modeling and human language acquisition, with a specific focus on morphologically rich and other types of languages where only limited CDL data exists. Among other methodologies, an artificial language learning paradigm will be used to simulate the learning of typologically diverse languages and evaluate the effect of known CDL properties on the acquisition of morphology and other language aspects.

Your tasks will include:

● reviewing language acquisition literature and detecting salient features of CDL
● developing typologically diverse artificial languages and assessing their learnability by neural language models
● simulating CDL properties in artificial languages
● collaborating with Language Acquisition researchers interested in the simulation of human language learning with neural networks
● applying insights obtained from artificial languages to real low-resource NLP tasks.

The exact list of tasks can vary based on the expertise of the successful applicant.

Research environment
You will be carrying out your research in the context of the Computational Linguistics group, which is part of the Centre for Language and Cognition of the University of Groningen (CLCG).
An important part of your work will be conducted together with the PI and the PhD student that will be hired for the same project. Collaboration is also possible with other PhD students supervised by the PI, as well as other members of CLCG.
Founded in 1614, the University of Groningen enjoys an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative institution of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Flexible study programmes and academic career opportunities in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 34,000 students and researchers alike to develop their own individual talents. As one of the best research universities in Europe, the University of Groningen has joined forces with other top universities and networks worldwide to become a truly global centre of knowledge.

Faculty of Arts
The Faculty of Arts is built on a long-standing tradition of four centuries. Our mission is to be a top-ranking faculty with both an excellent education and world-quality research, with a strong international orientation, firmly rooted in the North of the Netherlands. We build and share knowledge benefits to society. We work at a modern, broad and international institution, educating over 5000 Dutch and international students to become forward-looking, articulate and independent academics. We form a hardworking and diverse team of 700 staff members.

The Centre for Language and Cognition of the University of Groningen (CLCG) is the institutional home for all the linguistic research carried out within the Faculty of Arts. The Computational Linguistics group of CLCG provides a vibrant working atmosphere with state-of-the-art research in all major areas of Natural Language For more information see website:.


University of Groningen


● a PhD degree in any area related to the tasks (such as Computational Linguistics, Computational Psycholinguistics and Language Acquisition)
● aptitude for interdisciplinary research
● an independent, proactive work ethic and team playing skills
● excellent academic writing skills in English
● not required, but a big plus: experience with computational morphology and/or artificial language learning with human participants.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 12 months.

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (

● a salary, depending on qualifications and work experience, between € 3,226 and € 4,332 (salary scale 10.7) gross per month
● a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income
● an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance
● a temporary 1.0 FTE appointment for a specified period of 1 year, renewable for up to 2 more years (so up to 3 years in total) following positive evaluation
● excellent work-life balance.

For more detailed information about working conditions and working for the University of Groningen, please check:

The conditions of employment comply with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU). For more detailed information about working conditions and working for the University of Groningen, please check:


  • Postdoc
  • Language and culture
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • max. €4332 per month
  • University graduate
  • V23.0848


University of Groningen

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Broerstraat 5, 9712 CP, Groningen

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