PhD Position in Influential/Performative Machine Learning (1.0 FTE)

  • Contract
  • Anywhere

Utrecht University

13 Jun 2023
Job Information

Utrecht University
Research Field
Researcher Profile
First Stage Researcher (R1)
Application Deadline
30 Jun 2023 – 22:00 (UTC)
Type of Contract
Job Status
Not Applicable
Hours Per Week
Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?
Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?

Offer Description

Key requirements in the use of AI systems are transparency, robustness, and human oversight. This is particularly challenging in non-stationary environments, such as evolving data streams, where distributions might be subject to drift. Complementing previous research on change detection and adaptation, a current research focus is understanding distributional changes and their causes. Of particular interest in the context of this research are feedback loops: these occur, when a machine learning system causes itself changes in its environment, through its predictions and resulting actions. This phenomenon has only very recently received attention under various terms such as influential machine learning, learning with self-fulfilling/self-defeating prophecies, and learning in a performative setting or with feedback-loops. Understanding such prediction-influenced distributional changes, and developing a methodology for the detection and statistical modelling of these are open questions focused in this project.

This is a PhD position for 5 years, which includes research as well as teaching. You will spent approximately 30% of your time on varying teaching support activities. We offer the opportunity to take significant steps towards acquiring a basic teaching qualification (BKO), which qualifies you as a teacher in the Dutch higher education system.

Specific Requirements

You are equipped with a critical mindset and are enthusiastic to join our team. Besides that we would like you to bring:

  • a completed MSc degree in an field relevant to the PhD research, i.e. AI, Data Science, Computer Science, Statistics or Applied Mathematics;
  • affinity with Machine Learning, in particular topics like Data Streams, Active Learning, Change Detection, Causal Inference, Statistics, Game Theory or Control Theory;
  • a demonstrable strong mathematical background in (numerical) linear algebra, statistics and optimisation;
  • programming skills, preferably in Python;
  • strong written and oral communication skills in English.

Additional Information

We offer:

  • a position for 5 years;
  • a full-time gross salary ranging from € 2541 to €3247 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 Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) for Dutch Universities, Utrecht University has a number of its own arrangements. These include agreements on professional development, leave arrangements and sports. 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 .

Selection process

Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives.

To apply, please send your curriculum vitae, including a letter of motivation, via the ‘apply’ button. Please also include:

  • a copy of your Master’s diploma and transcripts;
  • a copy of your Master’s thesis;
  • a list of accepted or submitted publications, if any;
  • names, telephone numbers, and email addresses of at least two referees.

If you are within a few months from the completion of your Master’s degree, we also welcome you to apply! In that case, please enclose a letter from your MSc thesis supervisor indicating when you are likely to graduate.

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

Additional comments

If you have any questions that you’d like us to answer, please contact Dr. ing. Habil. Georg Krempl via [email protected] .

Do you have a question about the application procedure? Please send an email to [email protected] .

Are you an international applicant? Our International Service Desk can answer your questions about living in the Netherlands as international staff .

Website for additional job details

Work Location(s)

Number of offers available
Utrecht University
Postal Code
3584 CH
Padualaan 8

Where to apply



Domplein 29
Postal Code
3512 JE


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