Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

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Originele vacaturetekst


The Department of Computer Science is looking for a PhD student. Do you want to work on developing conversational agents for ensuring the actionability of user feedback about software applications and to elicit software-related ethical requirements and concerns? Then, please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU).

FTE: 0.8 - 1 Job description As a PhD student you will be part of a research project on designing and implementing conversational agents to ensure the actionability of user feedback about software applications and to elicit ethical concerns related to software products. The research groups in Social AI and in Software and Sustainability (S2) will be involved in this joint research. The Social AI group focuses on research for improving the way in which humans and machines understand and interact with each other, whereas the S2 group has ample expertise in empirical methods in software engineering and in user involvement research.

Your supervisors will be: Prof. Koen Hindriks (VU, Social AI), Prof. Patricia Lago (VU, Software and Sustainability), while daily supervision will be done by Dr. Emitzá Guzmán (VU, Software and Sustainability) and Dr. Florian Kunneman (VU, Social AI).

Brief project description

To create and maintain software that is useful, usable and ethical, user needs, expectations and concerns should be considered in the pre and post deployment phases. Users increasingly express feedback about software applications through social media and specialized user feedback platforms, which may be automatically identified and summarized to reduce manual workload.
In this project we will address two challenges connected to this automated extraction of user feedback:
The first is to ensure the actionability of user feedback. We will do this by detecting whether any relevant aspects of user feedback are missing and deploying a conversational agent to ask the user for missing aspects, if any.
The second challenge is to elicit ethical concerns related to the software from end-users that give feedback on social media. We will do this by developing a conversational agent that asks users from diverse backgrounds about ethical concerns that should be addressed in the software application.
Requirements We are looking for someone who:
  • holds or will soon hold, a master degree in data science, computer science, artificial intelligence, information retrieval, computational linguistics, software engineering or a related field
  • has experience in applying natural language processing and conversational AI is desirable
  • has an interest in the application domain, i.e., software engineering, ethics and user involvement is also needed
  • is proactive and a good communicator; creative and engaged
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 0.8 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a total 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
The Department of Computer Science has approximately 150 members, including approximately 90 PhD students. Lecturers form a critical and essential basis for the functioning of the department provide foundational education that helps determine the future of our students.

Application Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until April 30, 2021.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

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

Name: Dr. Emitzá Guzmán or Dr. Florian Kunneman
Position: Assistant Professor
E-mail: e.guzmanortega@vu.nl; f.a.kunneman@vu.nl
Telephone: +31 20 59 88881 ; +31 20 59 84452

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