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Ph.D. Position in Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence at Wageningen University, Netherlands 2022

The Netherlands

Ph.D. Position in Ethical, Legal, and Social Aspects (ELSA) in Artificial Intelligence (AI) Systems for Promoting Animal Welfare is available for MSc degree candidates in Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Computational Science, or a closely related area at the  AI for sustainable food systems (AI4SFS) laboratory, Wageningen University and Research (WUR), Netherlands 2022

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General Info

Position: PhD
No. of Positions: 1
Research Field: , ,
Deadline to Apply: Expired
Joining Date: ASAP
Contract Period: Subject to Norms
Salary: € 2.443 - € 3.122 per month

AI for sustainable food systems (AI4SFS) laboratory

Wageningen University & Research (WUR), the Netherlands


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Qualification Details

  • You (soon will) have an MSc degree in Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Computational Science, or a closely related area.
  • You have demonstrable experience with AI and machine learning.
  • Ideally, you have expertise in deep learning, but PhD-level courses are available if such expertise is missing.
  • You should be able to work well in teams and have excellent communication skills (oral and writing).
  • Additional responsibilities of a Ph.D. student include a limited amount of teaching and supervision of BSc and MSc students on topics related to the Ph.D. work.
  • A successful candidate is expected to author scientific papers for international peer-reviewed journals, present his/her work in international conferences, and finalize the work in writing a Ph.D. thesis.
  • For this position your command of the English language is expected to be at C1 level.
  • You meet all the entry requirements of the  WUR PhD programme.

Responsibilities/Job Description

As a Ph.D. student in this project, you will study, develop, and validate an ELSA-compliant data-driven farmer-in-the- loop decision-support system (DSS) to support effective and responsible decision-making on farms. The DSS will be designed and implemented in generic terms, but its validation will rely on a case study concerning the recommendation of suitable treatment procedures, for example, for mastitis disease in dairy cattle. The focus will be on the development of AI-based solutions that embed ELSA aspects in a recommendation system that could be used to counteract, for example, new strains, high infection pressure, or antibiotic resistance of bacteria.

This Ph.D. position is part of the AI for sustainable food systems (AI4SFS) laboratory, an interdisciplinary research project funded by the Dutch Research Council NWO that will start on June 1st, 2022. The AI4SFS project develops responsible and trustworthy AI in sustainable food systems through the development of an Ethical, Legal, and Social Aspects (ELSA) lab. We will (a) develop insights into the ELSA challenges and opportunities related to AI applications for sustainable food systems, (b) design an ELSA lab methodology (including tools, (ethical and legal) guidelines, and engagement strategies) for responsible AI for the agri-food sector, and (c) conduct multiple case studies where we will integrate ELSA aspects in AI (re)design. After the project, we will develop the ELSA lab into an independent hub for responsible AI for sustainable food systems.

What you tell at birthday parties: I develop and apply AI systems that recommend suitable treatments for animals. My systems comply with ethical, legal, and social aspects of “good stockmanship,” appropriate use of medicine, and increased welfare of animals.

What we really need: What we are looking for is a Ph.D. student who is eager to investigate state-of-the-art AI methods that are compliant with ELSA aspects and relate them to animal welfare and production data. You should have demonstrable experience with AI methods. Besides a strong technical background, and an affinity for livestock farming is desirable. You need to be able to work independently and collaborate with other PhDs in the Farm Technology Group, Information Technology Group, and the AI4SFS project, as well as with stakeholders (e.g., veterinarians, pharmaceutical representatives, farmers) in the field of livestock farming.

A typical day at the office:  Your days at the office range from frustrating farm data downloads to energy-boosting acceptance letters of your ground-breaking articles, and anything in between!

Today’s challenge is to use AI to foster sustainable ELSA-complaint production. The first check of the day: is your on-farm data correctly collected? You start to think of an experiment to test your recently developed recommendation algorithm. You explore the preliminary results and over a mug of coffee, you discuss your ideas with Ricardo, Bedir, Gert, Tarek, and Rik who have been dealing with these issues each in their specific domains.

At lunchtime, you will join other students and researchers to have lunch and take a relaxing de-tour back to your office. The fresh air makes you consider developing an AI model that provides suitable recommendations more robustly. But first, you start a discussion with a fellow student as your sparring partner, after which you sit back to implement the method.

Good job! You have shown that the method can make suitable recommendations in several practical scenarios. Now you start planning how you can concisely write your results into a scientific paper and how the application can be used by relevant stakeholders.

How to Apply?

Application Method: Online Application
Ref. No.: -

Application Procedure

Basic documents required for the application

About the Employer:

Note or Other details

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • study leave and partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will of course receive a good salary. The gross salary for the first year is € 2.443,- per month rising to € 3.122,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 12 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

Wageningen University & Research encourages internal advancement opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “Best University” in the Netherlands for the 16th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees. Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief, known as the 30% ruling. Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research's International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling, and other issues.

We hope to schedule the first job interviews on 01/06/2022.

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Contact details

For more information about this position, please contact prof.dr. R (Ricardo) da Silva Torres, telephone +31317480063, or by e-mail [email protected].

For more information about the procedure, please contact [email protected].

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