Postdoctoral Researcher on Foundational Embodied AI

Artificial IntelligenceMachine learning
Sep 15, 2023 21:59:00 GMT+00:00
Apply Now
Online Application
Save 0
  • Faculty/Services:  Faculty of Science
  • Educational level:  PhD
  • Function type:  Academic Staff
  • Closing date:  15 September 2023
  • Vacancy number:  11884

The next decade for Computer Vision will find Embodied AI, Dynamics, and Interactive Learning in the centre, given also the impressive progress in 3D simulated. Are you passionate about bleeding edge research on Computer Vision and Deep Learning towards Foundational Embodied systems, and how they can be paired with Causal Representation Learning? Then this is the position for you!

We are looking for a postdoctoral researcher with a background in either Computer Vision, Machine Learning, or Applied Mathematics to join a team of 15+ researchers; a team that is connected with the ELLIS Network of Excellence in AI; a team with consistent and strong presence in the top Machine Learning, as well as Computer Vision conferences and journals.

What are you going to do?

Computer Vision to date has mostly been focusing on non-interactive visual data, where the main task is to predict what is in the data. With the immense success of Deep Learning and what appears to be coming with Foundational Models, the next goal is to port Computer Vision and Perception to autonomous agents like robots operating in the real and open world.

The world, however, is highly interactive and highly dynamic. How do we literally teach the machine to perceive the semantics and the physicals aspects of the world, as well as crucially how to interact with it. Surely, one can hardcode knowledge like affordances, ideally, however we would like all this to be autonomously learned by the algorithm; otherwise, we fall back to hand-engineering and manual tuning, that works well for closed-worlds but often fails to generalize. Importantly, by autonomous learning of interactions we can have algorithms that discover novel solutions to new problems or recycle old solutions to new problems (a quite far-fetched but inspirational example: in the absence of a bottle opener, perhaps I could use a fork as a lever).

In this position, we will be focusing on Embodied AI, and particularly, how we can make it generalize well to new environments and how to make algorithms that learn autonomously how to interact with the environment. Relevant challenges are nicely described on the website of the Embodied AI Workshop 2023. Particularly interesting is pairing them with Foundational Models and Causal Representation Learning, in which our lab is spearheading.

The funding is from personal grants with little strings attached, and fundamental research is possible and desirable.

Tasks and responsibilities:

  • Show independence in achieving research goals and willingness to collaborate and to supervise PhD students working on deep learning and computer vision, dynamical and interactive systems;
  • Contribute to a real-world showcase demo along the lines of the challenges in the Embodied AI Workshop 2023;
  • Present research results at international conferences, workshops, and journals;
  • Become an active member of the research community and to collaborate with other researchers, both within and outside the Informatics Institute;
  • Contribute to teaching activities, such as lectures, lab courses, or supervising bachelor and master students.

What do you have to offer?

Your experience and profile:

  • A PhD in either an AI-related field (Computer Vision, Machine Learning, Deep Learning);
  • Ability to invent and evaluate novel algorithm, and present these orally and in writing;
  • Committed researcher, demonstrated by publications in the top machine learning, computer vision, or other top scientific conferences and journals;
  • Ability to implement and evaluate machine learning algorithms in Python with deep learning toolkits (PyTorch, TensorFlow, Jax);
  • Ability to work with 3D embodied simulators (or willing to learn);
  • Ability to work well in teams and communicate fluently in written and spoken English.

Our offer

We offer a temporary employment contract for 38 hours per week for a period of 12 months The preferred starting date is preferably as soon as possible, at the latest December 2023. If we assess your performance positive, your contract will be extended with 8 months.

The gross monthly salary, based on 38 hours per week and dependent on relevant experience, ranges between € 2,960 to € 4,670 (scale 10). UvA additionally offers an extensive package of secondary benefits, including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8.3%. The UFO profile Researcher 4 is applicable. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Universities of the Netherlands is applicable.

Besides the salary and a vibrant and challenging environment at Science Park we offer you multiple fringe benefits:

  • 232 holiday hours per year (based on fulltime) and extra holidays between Christmas and 1 January;
  • Multiple courses to follow from our Teaching and Learning Centre;
  • Multiple courses on topics such as leadership for academic staff;
  • Multiple courses on topics such as time management, handling stress and an online learning platform with 100+ different courses;
  • 7 weeks birth leave (partner leave) with 100% salary;
  • Partly paid parental leave;
  • The possibility to set up a workplace at home;
  • A pension at ABP for which UvA pays two third part of the contribution;
  • The possibility to follow courses to learn Dutch;
  • Help with housing for a studio or small apartment when you’re moving from abroad.

Are you curious to read more about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits, take a look here.

About us

The University of Amsterdam (UvA) is the Netherlands’ largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 42,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.

The Faculty of Science (FNWI) has a student body of around 8,000, as well as 1,800 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

The mission of the Informatics Institute (IvI) is to perform curiosity-driven and use-inspired fundamental research in Computer Science. The main research themes are Artificial Intelligence, Computational Science and Systems and Network Engineering. Our research involves complex information systems at large, with a focus on collaborative, data driven, computational and intelligent systems, all with a strong interactive component.

The Video & Image Sense lab (VIS) studies computer vision, deep learning and cognitive science, making sense of video and images with artificial and human intelligence. It positions itself within the AI research theme, with clear links to the Data Science theme of the Informatics Institute. The VIS Lab is strongly embedded in the larger UvA and Amsterdam artificial intelligence ecosystem with connections to multiple public-private Innovation Centres for AI (ICAI) labs and spin-off’s including Kepler Vision Technologies and

The position is with Dr. Efstratios Gavves, Associate Professor in the Informatics Institute at the University of Amsterdam. Dr Gavves and ERC Starting Grant laureate, who is more than happy to help with mentoring on how to develop an excellent academic profile, including how to work on a vision, prepare proposals, and of course collaborate in excellent research. At the University of Amsterdam, we have an open and friendly attitude to open research, collaborations, and independent thinking.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.

Any questions?

Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:

Job application

If you feel the profile fits you, and you are interested in the job, we look forward to receiving your application. You can apply online via the button below. We accept applications until and including 15 September 2023.

Applications should include the following information (all files apart from your CV should be submitted in one single pdf file):

  • CV (max 2 pages) – including a list of all publications and preferred starting date, a link to your Ph.D. thesis, a list of projects you have worked on with brief descriptions of your contributions;
  • Motivation letter (max 1 page) – motivating your choice for this position and why you are the right candidate;
  • Research statement (max 2 pages) – describing your ideas about the project and what you be excited to work on;
  • Two references from different institutes (no letters needed yet).

Please make sure to provide ALL requested documents mentioned above. You can use the CV field to upload your resume as a separate pdf document. Use the Cover Letter field to upload the other requested documents, including the motivation letter, as one single pdf file.

Only complete applications received within the response period via the link below will be considered. Please don’t send any applications by email.

We will invite potential candidates for interviews soon after the expiration of the vacancy.

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

If you encounter Error GBB451/ GBC451, please try using a VPN connection when outside of the European Union. Please reach out directly to our to our HR Department directly. They will gladly help you continue your application.

No agencies please.