Postdoctoral researcher in Natural Language Understanding

Faculty of Science – Institute for Logic, Language and Computation

Publication date
1 May 2017
Level of education
Salary indication
€2,552 to €4,028 gross per month
Closing date
1 June 2017
38 hours per week
Vacancy number

The Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) is a research institute at the University of Amsterdam, in which researchers from the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Humanities collaborate. Its central research area is the study of fundamental principles of encoding, transmission and comprehension of information. Besides Ivan Titov (the project leader), many staff members at ILLC (e.g., Khalil Sima’an, Rens Bod, Raquel Fernandez and Jelle Zuidema) as well as the nearby Institute of Informatics / IvI (e.g., Max Welling, Maarten de Rijke, Christof Monz and Joris Mooij) do research on a variety of topics in natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML). The postdoctoral researcher will spend much of her/his time posted at the Institute for Language, Cognition and Computation (ILCC) at the University of Edinburgh, where the project leader holds his main faculty appointment. 

Project description

ILLC is looking for a postdoctoral researcher for semantic reasoning and semantic parsing, as part of Ivan Titov’s NWO VIDI Project Scaling Semantic Parsing to Unrestricted Domains. The aim of the PhD project is to develop effective semantic parsers and statistical models for reasoning relying on machine learning (incl. deep learning / deep generative models / structured prediction). The primary focus is on inducing these models from large amounts of unannotated text (on the Web) while guided by existing prior knowledge (e.g., in the form of annotated data).

The researcher will be expected to fulfil the following tasks:

  • undertaking a specific role in the research project under supervision;
  • taking responsibility for some elements of the planned research;
  • planning and carrying out a work programme appropriate to the research activity;
  • developing own research portfolio in related areas;
  • contributing to dissemination and publication of personal and/or research teams findings as appropriate;
  • assisting in supervising MSc and PhD students;
  • contributing to the writing of research grants.


  • PhD in Natural Language Processing, Computational Linguistics or Machine Learning;
  • strong programming skills;
  • strong publication record in the field;
  • strong background in statistical modelling / machine learning;
  • interest in natural language understanding (e.g., statistical model for text inference, semantic parsing);
  • willingness and ability to spend much of their time posted at the University of Edinburgh;
  • willingness to collaborate not only with members of the project team but also other researchers at ILCC (University of Edinburgh) and/or ILLC / IvI (University of Amsterdam);
  • ability to communicate complex information clearly, orally and in writing;

Experience with semantic and syntactic parsing, representation learning (esp. deep generative models) would be a plus.

Since there is flexibility with regards to the role in the project, both candidates focusing on more linguistic and more machine learning aspects of the project are encouraged to apply. Exceptional candidates with no expertise in NLP but with very strong background in other related areas (e.g., machine learning, computer vision, applied math and statistics) may be considered. Our goal is to increase proportion of female researchers and, thus, female applications will be given preferential consideration when their level of qualification, competence, professional achievements and suitability for the research project equals that of male candidates.

Further information

For informal inquires you may contact:


The appointment will be full-time (38 hours per week) on a temporary basis for a period of two years. The gross monthly salary will range from €2,552 to €4,028 (scale 10) depending on relevant experience, excluding 8 % holiday allowance and 8,3 % end-of-year bonus. The Collective Employment Agreement for Dutch Universities is applicable.

Preferred starting date: 1 September 2017 (later or earlier starting dates are negotiable).

Job application

Applications should include the following information, in separate pdf files (not zipped / not URLs), using surname, initials and a self-evident word as file names (e.g. Smith J CV):

  • a curriculum vitae (with top 2-3 papers clearly indicated);
  • a letter of motivation (at most 1 page) explaining why you are interested in this position;
  • a research statement (at most 2 pages), explaining your research interests and experience;
  • the name and contact details (including email address) of two – three referees who can provide details about your profile.

Applications should be sent by e-mail ultimately at 1 June 2017 to Please quote vacancy number 17-225 in the subject field. #LI-DNP

No agencies please

Published by  University of Amsterdam