Postdoc in modelling and understanding the reading process in a digital age

Postdoc in modelling and understanding the reading process in a digital age

Published Deadline Location
16 Apr 15 May Utrecht

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Join our multidisciplinary research team in developing and applying AI and Data Science to create social impact!

Job description

Are you interested in the development and application of AI and Data Science techniques to model and understand real world problems? Do you enjoy formal and computational modelling of the human reading process? And would you like to be involved in a multi-disciplinary research project that aims at creating social impact? Then this is an interesting position for you!

Your job
The digital world has transformed the way we read as well as the way we learn how to read, offering both challenges and opportunities. To understand these challenges and opportunities it is important to consider reading processes and outcomes as well as reading education from multiple perspectives. We are searching for a postdoctoral researcher who can assist us in investigating AI and Data Science techniques that can be developed and applied to model and understand the processing of, as well as teaching of reading texts in a digital age. This project is part of the national research programme “Becoming literate in a digital age: Adapting reading education in the Netherlands financed by the Dutch government-agenda”. The ultimate goal of the programme as a whole is to develop educational interventions that aid individual students, especially those who are at risk of a delay in their development as readers, to acquire the ability to process written information in the digital age.

As postdoc you are a member the department of Information and Computing Sciences as well as of the consortium for Becoming literate in a Digital Age. You will work with two other postdocs that aim at developing a conceptual model of reading and reading education and a framework for didactic and pedagogic methods that effectively support students’ reading and reading processes. You will support the development of their model and methods by investigating which and how AI & Data Science techniques can be employed to analyse datasets in order to find relevant structures and patterns to underpin their model and methods. You may also advise them on gathering, preparing, and organising new data for the further development of their models and methods, and to inform them whether their model and teaching methods can be operationalized and tested by data. If possible, you can help them to formulate and evaluate testable hypotheses on possible teaching methods.

Your activities will include:
  • reviewing existing research literature in the various disciplines and identify AI & Data Science techniques relevant for this project;
  • identifying and analysing relevant data sources for the empirical grounding of the conceptual model and educational framework;
  • consultation with consortium members from different disciplines, partnering educational organizations, reading specialists, and other stakeholders;
  • designing and evaluating AI & Data Science techniques to support the development of the conceptual model and educational framework;
  • engaging in data-driven research on the described topics;
  • participating in writing scientific and professional publications and presenting at national and international meetings.

Teaching tasks are not included in these activities, but might be possible should opportunities in line with your expertise arise.


Utrecht University


We are looking for an enthusiastic candidate who:
  • has obtained a PhD in a field relevant to AI & Data Science;
  • has affinity and experience with scientific data-driven research;
  • has knowledge and skills concerning quantitative and qualitative research;
  • possesses strong interpersonal and communicative skills, can work independently as well as collaboratively, and has affinity for multi-disciplinarity;
  • is proficient in speaking/writing in English and, preferably, Dutch;
  • enjoys conceptual challenges and abstract thinking, but is also interested in the societal impact of these conceptual and intellectual efforts.

Conditions of employment

We offer:
  • The position is available for one year at full-time (1.0 FTE). However, we prefer the position to be filled part-time (20-32 hours) to facilitate a longer contract duration, thereby extending the participation in the project;
  • a gross monthly salary, depending on previous qualifications and experience, between €3,226 and €5,090 in the case of full-time employment (salary scale 10 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. Sharing science, shaping 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.

The Department of Information and Computing Sciences is nationally and internationally known for its research in computer science and information science. The Department provides and contributes to a number of undergraduate and research Master programmes in the fields of Computer Science, Information Science, Data Science and Artificial Intelligence. It employs over 200 people in four divisions: Artificial Intelligence & Data Science, Algorithms, Interaction, and Software. The atmosphere is collegial and informal.


  • Postdoc
  • Natural sciences
  • 20—32 hours per week
  • €3226—€5090 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 3833



Leuvenlaan 4, 3584CE, Utrecht

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