PhD position in Agent-based Modeling for Inspection Simulations

 Join our exciting research project as PhD candidate at Utrecht University and become part of the research collaboration AI4Oversight lab 

 which is part of the Innovation Center for Artificial Intelligence (ICAI) 
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The Dutch government inspectorates play a critical role in safeguarding public interests such as food safety, a clean environment, fair working conditions or quality of education. To ensure effective supervision with a limited capacity at strategic and operational level, inspectorates need to work in a data-driven way and embed AI technology in their primary processes. The amount of information is too large and complex to be fully covered by human resources. At the same time, society rightly expects AI to be used in a responsible manner.

With joining the AI4Oversight ICAI lab, you join a community that collaborates to address AI challenges specific to the inspection domain leading to scientifically assured methods. The AI4Oversight lab connects the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT), the Netherlands Labour Authority (NLA), the Inspectorate of Education (IvhO), Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA), Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), Utrecht University and Leiden University. Collaboration between these organisations is seen as an essential element of our lab. Working together allows not only to develop new knowledge, but also to use each other’s expertise, to experiment together, to learn from each other and to bring theory to practice.

The execution of the research will be highly participatory. You will spend time at the offices of funding partners and have the opportunity to dive into the practical challenges and way of working of the partners. You will work together with data scientists of the practical partners, who will contribute with practical experiences and use cases. The AI4Oversight Lab hosts at least 6 PhD students and knowledge exchanges will be held regularly to promote collaboration. We are currently recruiting for 3 PhD positions simultaneously for this lab. We invite you to also check out the other interesting vacancies 

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In this PhD position you will focus on simulating the inspection processes. Strategies that inspectorates use for selection of targets and enforcement in response to non-compliances invoke changes in the behaviour of the target population. In turn these changes invoke updates in the strategies of the inspectors. It is difficult—if not impossible—to study and test the interactions between an inspectorates’ actions and the behaviour of inspectees outside of a lab setting because of practical and ethical constraints. In this project we aim to develop data-driven agent-based models to study these behavioural dynamics in a synthetic environment, and thereby enabling the evaluation of (data-driven) inspection strategies before field deployment, while testing for effectiveness, robustness, and fairness of target selection strategies.

Key responsibilities:

  • Conduct original and novel research in the field of data-driven simulations and large-scale agent-based modelling in the domain of government oversight;
  • Publish and present scientific articles at international journals and conferences;
  • Collaborate with other PhD candidates in the AI4Overisight lab, researchers at the partners’ data science labs, and the intended users and other stakeholders.

Qualifications

You have a desire to work on applied and societally relevant problems, and bring:

  • an MSc degree in Artificial Intelligence, Data science, Mathematics, Computer science, or a related field;
  • good programming skills in e.g., Python and Java;
  • preferably a solid experience with agent-based modelling and/or simulations;
  • excellent written and oral communication skills in English, Dutch 
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     proficiency or willingness to learn is a plus;
  • ability to work with diverse stakeholders, e.g., industry professionals, academic researchers.

As we are selecting multiple positions for this research lab, we may request to consider your application for another research track. We will contact you if we do so.

Offer

We offer:

  • a position for 4 years;
  • a full-time gross salary ranging from €2,770 to €3,539 in scale P;
  • 8% holiday bonus and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities.

In addition to the employment conditions 

 from the CAO for Dutch Universities, Utrecht University has a number of its own arrangements. These include agreements on professional development 
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, leave arrangements, sports and cultural schemes 
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 and you get discounts on software and other IT products. We also give you the opportunity to expand your terms of employment through the Employment Conditions Selection Model. This is how we encourage you to grow.

For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University 

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About the organisation

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 
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. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Pathways to Sustainability. Shaping science, sharing tomorrow 
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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 problems. More fundamental still are the individual research groups – the building blocks of our ambitious scientific projects. Find out more about us on YouTube. 
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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.

Additional information

If you have any questions that you’d like us to answer, please contact Professor Mehdi Dastani 

 at M.M.Dastani@uu.nl 
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Do you have a question about the application procedure? Please send an email to science.recruitment@uu.nl 

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For more information, please visit working at the Faculty of Science 

Apply

As Utrecht University, we want to be a home 

 for everyone. We value staff with diverse backgrounds, perspectives and identities, including cultural, religious or ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. We strive to create a safe and inclusive environment in which everyone can flourish and contribute.

If you are enthusiastic about this position, just apply via the "Apply" button. Please enclose:

  • your letter of motivation, as separate PDF file, named [Your Family Name]_Coverletter.pdf;
  • your curriculum vitae, as separate PDF file, named [Your Family Name]_CV.pdf;
  • a copy of your Master's diploma and transcripts, as PDF file(s), again with your family name as prefix and a suffix indicative of the type of degree/transcript (e.g., Master, Bachelor);
  • a copy of your Master's thesis, as PDF file named [Your Family Name]_Thesis.pdf;
  • if you have accepted or submitted publications, state this in the letter of motivation and list them with bibliographic information (including DOI) in the CV;
  • in the CV, state the names, affiliation, telephone numbers, and email addresses of at least two referees who have agreed to be contacted.

A background check may be part of the selection procedure.

If this specific opportunity isn’t for you, but you know someone else who may be interested, please forward this vacancy to them.

Some connections are fundamental – Be one of them 


#FundamentalConnection

The application deadline is 7 January 2024.

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