PhD Candidate: Search Systems that Learn from their Users at radboud university

Employment: 1.0 FTE

Gross monthly salary: € 2,770 – € 3,539

Required background: Research University Degree

Organizational unit: Faculty of Science

Application deadline: 07 January 2024

Develop theoretically-sound machine learning methods that could impact how real-world search engines learn from their users. Work with some of the top researchers in the information retrieval and machine learning fields. As a PhD candidate in the Netherlands, your position is fully funded and provides a good salary with further benefits.

The Institute for Computing and Information Sciences (iCIS) at Radboud University is looking for a PhD candidate to study how search systems can learn from user interactions to optimise complex goals using statistically sound machine learning. Search systems continuously receive interactions from users and aim to improve themselves based on these interactions. However, user interactions are complex and only provide a biased and noisy feedback signal. Thus, in order to learn reliably from interactions, mathematical methods are needed that can make statistically sound inferences and deal with uncertainty. You will learn how to combine statistical inference and machine learning techniques for search applications. This is a unique area that integrates aspects from the fields of information retrieval and machine learning, where you will be working on methods that have a strong theoretical grounding but also are widely applicable to real-world search and recommendation services. There are many directions in which your research can contribute to this area; this position gives you the freedom to shape your own research direction within this broad field. We are looking for a candidate who is excited to turn original and creative ideas into theory and algorithms that have a real impact on the search and recommendation field. You will pursue your PhD in the data science group at iCIS, a vibrant international research environment with top-class professors and researchers in information retrieval, causality and machine learning. At iCIS we value a diverse workforce. Female and international candidates are therefore particularly encouraged to apply.


  • You have A Master’s degree in Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence or a similar discipline.
  • You possess good programming skills in Python or similar computer languages.
  • You have affinity with machine learning, statistics and probability theory.
  • You have a good command of spoken and written English.

We are

You will be appointed at the Data Science section of the Institute for Computing and Information Sciences (ICIS). During recent evaluations, ICIS has been consistently ranked as the No. 1 Computing Science department in the Netherlands. Evaluation committees praised our flat and open organisational structure, our ability to attract external funding, our strong ties to other disciplines, and our strong contacts with government and industrial partners. The Data Science group is well known for its contributions to mathematical models of information retrieval and the empirical evaluation of such models using large datasets.

Strategically located in Europe, Radboud University is one of the leading academic communities in the Netherlands. Radboud University is an equal opportunity employer, committed to building a culturally diverse intellectual community, and as such encourages applications from women and minorities. The university offers customised facilities to better align work and private life. Parents are entitled to partly paid parental leave and Radboud University staff enjoy flexibility in the way they structure their work. The university highly values the career development of its staff, which is facilitated by a variety of programmes.

Radboud University

We are keen to meet critical thinkers who want to look closer at what really matters. People who, from their expertise, wish to contribute to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all. This ambition unites more than 24,000 students and 5,600 employees at Radboud University and requires even more talent, collaboration and lifelong learning. You have a part to play!

We offer

  • It concerns an employment for 1.0 FTE.
  • The gross starting salary amounts to €2,541 per month based on a 38-hour working week, and will increase to €3,247 in the fourth year  (salary scale P).
  • You will receive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • You will be employed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4 year contract).
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Care Services. Our Dual Career and Family Care Officer can assist you with family-related support, help your partner or spouse prepare for the local labour market, provide customized support in their search for employment and help your family settle in Nijmegen.
  • Working for us means getting extra days off. In case of full-time employment, you can choose between 30 or 41 days of annual leave instead of the legally allotted 20.

Practical information and applying

You can apply until 7 January 2024, exclusively using the button below. Kindly address your application to Harrie Oosterhuis. Please fill in the application form and attach the following documents:

  • A letter of motivation.
  • Your CV.
  • If applicable, a link to the PDF of a publication you are most proud of, or deem relevant to the position.

The first round of interviews will take place on Monday 8 January. The second round of interviews will take place on Monday 22 January.

You would preferably begin employment as soon as possible.
We can imagine you’re curious about our application procedure. It offers a rough outline of what you can expect during the application process, how we handle your personal data and how we deal with internal and external candidates.

Apply now 

Application deadline 

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