Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • University Graduate
Why build AI systems that replace people if we can build AI systems that collaborate with people? Hybrid Intelligence is the combination of human and machine intelligence, expanding human intellect instead of replacing it. Our goal is to design Hybrid Intelligent systems, an approach to Artificial Intelligence that puts humans at the centre, changing the course of the ongoing AI revolution.
The project will be recruiting 15 PhD or postdoc positions in total. For more information on the project see


Job description

At Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, we are looking for a PhD student to investigate Knowledge Representation Formalisms for Hybrid Intelligence (HI). 

Knowledge graphs (KGs) can play an important role in representing knowledge for different agents in Hybrid Intelligence settings.  Unfortunately, the current KR formalisms are not sufficiently well-designed to work with complex, conflicting, dynamic and contextualised knowledge. What is needed to make KGs suitable formalisms for data and knowledge exchange in a HI network, is for individual agents to adapt their own knowledge in a KG (or at least the active part it is doing reasoning with) w.r.t. the interaction with one or more actors in its network.

You will study non-classical logical operators under (possibly changing) contexts, where the contexts are (semi)formal representations of the other agents' requirements, knowledge, (cultural) background, necessity, and other modalities of choice.  Furthermore, you will design or adapt formalisms appropriate to the knowledge modeling challenges as well as protocols for agents to use the knowledge in HI interaction scenarios. Finally, you will apply and validate the solutions for a select number of application domains. The research project is based at the VU Amsterdam, and will be co-supervised by TU Delft and University of Twente researchers.


We are looking for an enthusiastic person who is curious about what kind of knowledge is required by an HI agent to operate in a contextualised and fast changing environment when addressing real-life problems. We are looking for someone with a Master in Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence or related fields with an interest in Knowledge Representation, Logic and Formal Systems, but from a practical and pragmatic perspective. 

If you want to be also considered for one of our other PhD positions, then also upload your documents to our Hybrid Intelligence talent pool at Your information will then be shared among the researchers in the consortium, and you may be approached for one of the other positions listed on

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,395 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €3,061 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 1 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a duration of 4 years.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavour – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,000 students. We employ over 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

The Faculty of Science
The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to around 6,000 students.

About the department, institute, project
The VU Department of Computer Science has approximately 170 members, including 35 tenured staff members and 50 PhD students. Within the department, the Semantic Web group studies Knowledge Representation and User-centric data science, developing new  technology and testing it in real-world applications. This research is part of the Hybrid Intelligence (HI) project


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until August 31, 2020.
We strongly encourage women to apply. If equally qualified, we will choose for a female candidate.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Dr. Stefan Schlobach
Position: Associate Professor
Telephone: +31 20 59 87678
Name: Dr. Victor de Boer
Position: Assistant Professor
Telephone: +31 20 598 7740

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